News 29 Aug 2018

Rail sector calls for EU budget that ensures the digital transformation of transport

The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) welcomes the European Parliament draft report on the new Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) proposal, but would expect it to demand an increased transport budget in line with the investment needs of the European transport sector. CER is further concerned by the amendments put forward on military mobility. 

The current CEF programme for transport generates jobs and growth, contributes to prosperity and cohesion across Europe, and delivers European added-value by focusing on interoperability and investing in border-crossing projects. These benefits are outlined in the new CER Factsheet “The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and its wider benefits”, which can be downloaded here

Rail’s investment priorities continue to be focused on completing the interoperable TEN-T network and supporting the digital transformation of rail operations, including ERTMS on board and on track. For the latter, the rail sector estimates that at least EUR 15 billion is required from the future EU budget for the period 2021-2027. In this context CER calls upon policymakers to better reflect the importance of the digital transformation of rail in the new CEF proposal by increasing the CEF transport budget by at least EUR 10 billion, and earmarking a specific budget for actions supporting telematics applications and automation. 

CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: “While we welcome the European Parliament draft report on the Connecting Europe Facility proposal, we feel that in today’s age of digital transformation, the reinforced budget for smart technologies as proposed by the Commission is not sufficient. In the case of rail, an inadequate CEF budget will delay the deployment of ERTMS and will put at risk the creation of a smart, sustainable, efficient, safe and secure transport system in Europe. We would welcome the European Parliament to take a stronger position on this point.” 

The European Parliament draft report on the future CEF Regulation furthermore contains several amendments on military mobility. While CER welcomes the rapporteurs’ intention to add more clarity to military mobility, the proposal that any project of common interest financed under the new CEF programme should integrate the military mobility technical requirements at the conception phase is unrealistic and would lead to a cost explosion. CER asks policymakers to address this issue with urgency.