CER asks EC for continuing priority for rail

Brussels, Belgium – The members of the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) ask the European Commission to confirm continuing priority for rail in the midterm review of the 2001 Transport Policy White Paper and to prepare for a new proposal for the Eurovignette Directive by the end of 2006.

This was the key message of the meetings of the CER Management Committee with
Vice-President and Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot on Monday, 30 January 2006, and the discussion with the new Director-General Matthias Rüte at CER’s General Assembly on Tuesday, 31 January 2006.

“The political discussions on revising the Eurovignette Directive last year proved very
disappointing” CER chairman Aad Veenman said at CER’s annual reception on Monday
evening in presence of Vice-President Barrot. He called on the Commission to complete
the required study on the measurement of external costs as soon as possible – and
certainly before the end of 2006.

Johannes Ludewig, Executive Director of CER, welcomes the high-level dialogue with
the European Commission: “We agreed with Vice-President Barrot in principle on the
importance of rail for sustainable transport in Europe. Therefore the Commission must
stick to the principles laid down in 2001 in the Commission´s Transport White Paper and
confirm the objective of modal shift towards rail.”

On Monday afternoon, top representatives of CER met with the Vice-President at the
Commission for an intensive debate on the most important railway issues currently on
the political agenda. Beyond the White Paper review and the Eurovignette Directive,
railways expressed their concern on the TEN-T budget and on the current costs of
implementing ERTMS.

On Monday night, the railways welcomed Mr. Barrot at their annual reception in the
Cercle Gaulois, where he outlined to the 350 guests the priorities of his work for 2006.
One of these projects is to submit constructive proposals for facilitating the approval of
existing locomotives by the authorities of another EU Member State. With regard to the
financial perspective 2007 – 2013, Mr. Barrot was very clear on the impact of a limited
budget for the trans-European network: “It is pointless identifying priority projects
unless we have the means to fund them”, he said.

On Tuesday, Matthias Ruete, the new Director-General of DG TREN, gave an
introductory presentation to more than 90 CEOs and executive representatives of the
CER member companies in the association’s General Assembly. He acknowledged a
number of positive developments in the rail market over recent years, whilst
emphasising that further progress is expected as the full effects of the First and Second
Railway Packages take effect. He also stressed the importance of interoperability, and
in particular ERTMS. In this respect, he explained that he will take a particular interest
in the development of the European Railway Agency, calling upon CER members to give
it their whole-hearted support. CER welcomes this early opportunity for open dialogue
with the new Director-General.

Top representatives of DB, ÖBB, ZSR and ZSSK passenger had the opportunity on
Tuesday to meet with the Péter Balázs, the EU coordinator for the corridor Paris-
Strasburg-Stuttgart-Vienna-Bratislava. The railway representatives pointed out that the
corridor efforts of the railways have to be aligned with a political framework of a level
playing field for all transport modes and sufficient funding for infrastructure projects.