Positions 17 Apr 2024

CER Manifesto 'On Track For Europe' 2024-2029

Ahead of the EU elections, CER is putting forward to all EU policymakers its Manifesto 'On Track for Europe' to inspire rail-friendly policy initiatives from the first day of the new legislature 2024-2029.

The Manifesto outlines the CER vision for well-functioning rail passenger and freight services, as well as for a high-capacity rail infrastructure, with the objective of pursuing the modal shift and modal share objectives of the EU Strategy for Smart and Sustainable Mobility and accelerating Europe’s green and digital transitions.

Four fundamental pillars are identified to guide future policy action:

  1. Fair competition between modes – Despite past efforts, the regulatory framework today is not fair, with railways carrying many costs and obligations not imposed on other transport modes. Much remains to be done to redress imbalances in conditions and pricing to access infrastructure, energy taxation, VAT rules and differing social conditions, notably allowing social dumping practices in the road sector.
  2. Adequate financing of railways – Railways need fair, long-term, comprehensive financing. Meeting the huge infrastructure investment needs of the sector will require a bigger EU transport budget line in a scaled-up Multi-annual Financial Framework including new sources of EU funding such as earmarked revenues from the EU Emissions Trading System.
  3. Deployment of rail’s key digital enablers – This includes the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) and Digital Capacity Management (DCM) for optimised use of the rail network, Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC) as a crucial step to full digital freight operations, and the Open Sales and Distribution Model (OSDM) for easier international ticketing. Such digital game changers not only enhance rail services for its end users but also reduce costs. For instance, the increase in rail capacity that can be achieved through digital means with DCM requires just 5% of the budget that would be needed to build new physical rail infrastructure.
  4. A greener approach to market and competition policies – Competition policy needs to better take into account the EU’s climate and environmental policies and should avoid any modal shift to more polluting modes of transport. Certain rail market segments such as Single Wagon are often not economically viable today yet represent a sustainably viable transport solution to combat the climate crisis. Aid to such services cannot be assessed based on rules that do not consider the EU’s strategic policy orientations as a whole, including EU Green Deal objectives.

Read below the complete Manifesto.