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The Future of Rail Funding: Key Insights from Rail Forum Europe's Event at the European Parliament

The Future of Rail Funding: Key Insights from Rail Forum Europe's Event at the European Parliament
photo: RAILTARGET Archive/The Future of Rail Funding: Key Insights from Rail Forum Europe's Event at the European Parliament
30 / 09 / 2023

Last week, Rail Forum Europe, with the support of UNIFE, organized a breakfast briefing at the European Parliament in Brussels to take stock of the ongoing revision of the EU Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) and plan for the future so as to ensure proper EU funding for rail. The event was kindly hosted by the Chairman of Rail Forum Europe, MEP Andrey Novakov, and counted with high-level keynote speakers from the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the rail industry.

During the discussion, speakers reflected on the importance of the ongoing negotiations on the revision of the TEN-T Regulation, which is aimed to be finalized by the end of 2023. Incorporating ambitious infrastructure requirements and ensuring its deployment within the deadlines - including for ERTMS - is essential to render the European rail network resilient and fit for the future. Furthermore, strengthening its governance mechanisms will also ensure the efficient and timely implementation of EU funds.

Furthermore, speakers also debated on the numerous funding opportunities for rail within the current budgetary cycle and the challenges associated with them, notably, on the Connecting Europe Facility, the Structural Funds, the Recovery and Resilience Facility, and Horizon Europe. In the context of the revision of the EU-MFF, the Ukraine facility is an excellent opportunity to support the reconstruction of rail infrastructure in the country and connect it to the European network.

Rail Forum Europe was very honored to count on the participation of ERTMS Coordinator Matthias Ruete, representatives from the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA), and a wide range of rail sector stakeholders during the discussions.

Dominique Riquet, a Member of the European Parliament, said: "An aging network, the imperative of ecological transition in transport, and completing the trans-European network are all reasons to demonstrate ambition in rail sector financing. Europe must therefore continue and intensify its support in appropriate financial and funding instruments, in particular with the Connecting Europe Facility. This is the meaning of the European Parliament's ambition for railways, particularly in the context of the revision of the TEN-T."

Herald Ruijters, Director Investment, Innovative & Sustainable Transport (DG MOVE)European Commission said: “An ambitious TEN-T Regulation will allow to directly contribute to the decarbonization of transport in Europe, making Europe more amended, more resilient and more competitive. It shall lead to a refined calendar for the implementation of the TEN-T and thus underpin the need for future funding and financing.”

Philippe Citroën, UNIFE Director-General, said: “With the numerous EU funding programs available for rail under the EU-MFF and NextGenerationEU, all stakeholders need to ensure a coordinated implementation in an efficient and timely manner to deliver on the EU Green Deal. The Ukraine Facility proposed in the context of the revision of the EU-MFF should prioritize rail investments aimed at integrating Europe’s and Ukraine's rail networks. Planning for the future, it will be imperative to count on a strong successor of the Connecting Europe Facility to fulfill the infrastructure requirements and deadlines proposed in the ambitious revision of the TEN-T, including for ERTMS deployment, and future DAC and FRMCS investments.”

Source: UNIFE, RFE