Opinion Factsheet  

L'année européenne du rail (2021)

Opinion Number: CDR 2633/2020
Commission: COTER
Status: Adopted
Date: 14/10/2020

- welcomes the proposed 2021 European Year of Rail and calls for the participation of the CoR in the coordination meetings to be convened regularly by the European Commission;

- encourages regional and national authorities to draw up long-term transport plans with a leading role for rail, where appropriate, and points to the need to promote rail as a key element in addressing the issue of the transport exclusion of outlying and/or less developed regions;

- in view of the financial challenges facing the rail sector, calls for a relaxation of cohesion rules so as to allow for a vital increase in funding to support rail investments under the ERDF and the Cohesion Fund. Also calls for an increase in the budget for the CEF in support of the green transition;

- recommends that consideration be given to a long-term EU financing mechanism for sustainable transport, using resources from less environmentally friendly modes of transport, in line with the polluter pays principle;

- stresses that investments in rail freight corridors and transhipment terminals help improve the EU's territorial cohesion, development of trade with third countries, economic growth and employment; calls on the EU institutions to opt for a broader approach to supporting and developing secondary rail networks and to adapt the support instruments accordingly;

- calls on the rail sector and the Member States to extend services offered by night trains and car-carrying trains and on the European Commission to set up a coherent European high-speed rail network;

- calls for increased support for R&D and innovation in the rail sector, including through further measures under the Horizon Europe programme;

- encourages rail to increase its contribution to sustainable tourism; proposes a joint initiative with the European Commission to expand the #DiscoverEU programme by linking it to a programme of events in cities and regions, including the role of railway stations;

- encourages measures to promote employment opportunities in the rail sector, including education and training in rail-related careers during the European Year.