Rail lobby seeks place in European Green Deal

European railways have joined the intensive lobbying action around the preparation of the European Green Deal, calling on the European Commission to put all modes of transport on an equal footing.

In a paper published on Tuesday, CER, the organisation representing European railway operators and infrastructure companies, said the Green Deal should include binding targets to reduce transport emissions by 25% by 2030, 65% by 2040 and 100% by 2050 (on 1990 levels). 

To achieve such results, CER recommends a modal shift with an action plan to increase the market share of EU rail freight from 17% of land transport to 30% by 2030. The Green Deal should also support rail passengers in cross-border travel of up to 1,000 km, it adds. 

In addition to developing rail infrastructure, more funding must be found to electrify existing tracks, CER says. 

The rail industry also calls for “robust carbon pricing for transport” that would remove tax exemptions currently enjoyed by international aviation and making road charging “more comprehensive”. 

The environmental sustainability of the transport sector was also discussed at a meeting organised at the European parliament on Tuesday with the European Regions Airline Association (ERAA). 

The group representing the aviation sector said aeroplane fuel efficiency has increased by 52% in the past 30 years, but is now experiencing “additional social pressure” to curb emissions. Last week finance ministers from nine European countries called on the incoming Commission to propose an aviation tax.

ERAA director general Montserrat Barriga said that the issue is not about “a simple binary choice to fly or not fly”. Airlines “need public incentives to enable the technological breakthrough: making sustainable fuels widely available and commercial electric aircraft a reality”. he added.


Follow-up: CER position paper and ERAA press release.

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