News 19 Sep 2023

European rail CEOs meet to define sector’s priorities for 2024

Yesterday in Gdansk, Europe’s leading rail CEOs came together on the occasion of the 72nd General Assembly of the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), to assess and define the priorities for the association’s work in the coming year. Kris Peeters, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), joined the Association’s bi-annual statutory meeting for a fruitful exchange of views on the high level of investments needed, particularly in rail infrastructure, to support the Green deal and its objectives.

CER Management Board & Executive Directorship 

The General Assembly, hosted by Polish State Railways (PKP), was also marked by the election of the 2024-2025 CER Management Committee, as the current term expires by the end of this year.

Andreas Matthä, CEO of Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), was confirmed as the Chair of the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) for a further two-year tenure. This will be his third term at the helm of the association and was on the unanimous request of the CER Management Committee.

Alberto Mazzola is currently mid-way through his second mandate as Executive Director and this has been renewed for a further two-year tenure which will commence on 1 January 2025. The General Assembly also confirmed two new members to the CER Management Committee for the remainder of the current term, Mr Raül Blanco Diaz, CEO of Renfe and Mr Rinalds Pļavnieks, CEO of Latvian Railways.

The Management Committee for 2024-2025 will be composed as follows:

Sophie Dutordoir (SNCB/NMBS CEO), Jean-Pierre Farandou (SNCF CEO), Richard Lutz (DB CEO), and Krzysztof Mamiński (PKP CEO) will act as Vice-chairs. Other members of the Management Committee include Raül Blanco Diaz (RENFE Chairman-CEO), Vincent Ducrot (SBB CEO), Zoltán Pafféri (MÁV Chairman-CEO), Luigi Ferraris (FS CEO), Wouter Koolmees (NS President), Michal Krapinec (CD CEO), Rinalds Pļavnieks (LDz CEO), Jiří Svoboda (SZCZ Director General), Marc Wengler (CFL Director General) and Oliver Wolff (VDV Managing Director).

CER Chair Andreas Matthä said "I look forward to representing the interests of the European railway sector in Brussels together with my colleagues in the CER Management Committee for the next two years. We are in a decisive phase of European mobility policy. In the coming year, the political forces in Europe will regroup. We will work to ensure that railways feature prominently on the new political agenda in Brussels. Climate protection and decarbonisation need the best possible political support, framework conditions for the shift from road to rail must be improved, the expansion of the European rail infrastructure must make decisive progress and we need sufficient funding for digitalisation. CER will play a constructive role in all these issues in the interest of Europe's railways.” 

CER Executive Director Alberto Mazzola said: “After a number of challenging years, through COVID and the ongoing Ukraine war and resulting solidarity lanes, after the success of the European Year of Rail and the Connecting Europe Express, Europe must now implement the Green Deal by investing in the rail TEN-T, applying the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) as well as investing its revenues, and preparing a new rail Multiannual Financial Framework. Young people are again in love with trains, and rail will certainly fulfil their dreams if all this can be achieved. CER will remain engaged on that. I thank the CER members for their trust.”