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Green deal: EDP urges European Commission to speed up rail reform

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Today, the Parliamentary Committee on Transport (TRAN) adopted a report by our Basque MEP Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (EAJ-PNV) on the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), which aims to address the problem of the technical fragmentation of rail markets. This has led to rail under-utilisation, since despite robust dedicated infrastructure covering the entire territory of the EU, the full usage capacities of rail transport are far from achieved. European transport policy will be the most impacted by the Green Deal, as this sector is a big emitter of greenhouse gases. Rail transport as the least polluting mode of transport is therefore called upon to play a key role in the green transition.

Ms Bilbao Barandica stated: “We are pleased and proud of the stakeholder engagement and consultation process that has allowed us to draft and agree on a realistic and ambitious report to improve mobility in Europe. Technical barriers prevent the train from reaching its full potential in the contribution to more efficient, intelligent, and sustainable mobility. Removing those barriers requires putting into place the automated European Rail Traffic Control and Management System (ERTMS) throughout the EU's main rail network. This is long overdue, so much so that we should increase the speed of deployment of this technology tenfold to achieve a doubling of traffic on high-speed networks by 2030 and the same increase in freight traffic by 2050. Investments towards this goal are therefore key to the decarbonisation of transport and mobility, for rail safety, to boost the development of the European industry and should be a priority for European Recovery and Resilience Funds”.

Initiated in the early 1990s, the European rail traffic management system (ERTMS) is a common signalling and speed control system intended to ensure the interoperability of national rail systems, reduce the costs of acquiring and maintaining train signalling systems as well as increasing train speed, infrastructure capacity and rail safety level. However, the deployment and interoperability of ERTMS is lacking and has fallen considerably behind.

With this report, the European Democratic Party urges the European Commission and the Member States to get to work in order to achieve the ambitious objectives of the Green Deal for European transport policy and to achieve the stages set by the strategy for smart and sustainable mobility.