News 29 Nov 2016

The future of mobility - How rail can make it greener

On 28 November, the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), with the kind support of the Slovak Presidency of the EU, organised a political debate on the contribution of railways in low-emission mobility. CER was pleased to welcome Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union, as the event’s keynote speaker.

The debate focused on Europe’s low-emission mobility strategy. It’s a fact that transport is now the only sector increasing its greenhouse gas emissions in Europe, as revealed in the annual EU emission inventory released in June 2016 by the European Environment Agency. That’s why the transport sector needs to be placed at the heart of EU climate and energy policies to effectively tackle the emissions. Shifting more transport to rail will contribute to transport decarbonisation as well as increased energy security.

In addition to Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, Slovak Deputy Permanent Representative Alexander Micovčin, MEP Ismail Ertug (S&D, DE), European Commission Acting Director for DG MOVE Directorate B Herald Ruijters, Thalys CEO Agnès Ogier and NSB CEO Geir Isaksen reflected upon greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, the environmental commitment of the European railways, as well as the EU strategy and actions.

European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said: "If we want to retain our European way of life in the future, Europe needs to remain competitive. Building the Energy Union is one of the key initiatives promoting the competitiveness of Europe while also making sure we lead on Climate Action. The promotion of low-emission mobility is essential. On 20 July 2016 the Commission adopted the European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility. Since rail transport is among the most energy-efficient modes, larger volumes of rail transport flows should lead to a reduction in the overall energy consumption."

CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: "Decarbonising the transport sector remains both a challenge and an opportunity for European policymakers, and low-carbon transport modes such as rail can play a big role in effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Rail is the most energy and emissions-efficient major mode of transport and when coupled with active mobility modes such as walking and cycling, a wider move towards a low-emission EU transport system can be achieved.”