The Hungarian Presidency and the CER in co-operation with the EPP and Greens/EFA Groups invited experts from EU institutions and the rail sector to reflect on the upcoming proposal for the new guidelines for the TEN-T, what steps should be taken to re-define the shape of EU transport network.
MEP Adam Kosa, has opened the debate emphasising the rail transport gap between Western Europe and Eastern Europe. TEN-T priorities should be concentrating on railway, improving the connectivity and cross border co-operation. The main problem is resources, the new member states don’t receive enough aid and with the economic crisis the rate of investements decreases. If the EU improves the rail connections the possibilities for the internal market will grow.
Laszlo Mosoczi, explained from an operator point of view that in order to convince people to chose the railway one must have the proper services– modes of transportation to/from the train station. If other modes of transportations are offered at the same price, people will consider rail if the mode of transport provides good, fast, efficient and affordable service.
Zoltan Kazatsay, the new White Paper on the future on European transport provides the right path to make further progress to increase the capacity and efficiency of the railway. The white paper is based on 4 pillars: Innovation, infrastructure, internal market & international market. All but the last pillar has direct influence on the rail transport. The forecast – by 2050 there will be 90% increase of using rail transport for carrying goods. Private funding can be seen as an additional tool to improve the financing.
Pal Volner, Europe cannot ignore the new member states, it will be impossible for them to catch up without proper infrastructure. The main challenge is the funding (Cohesion & TEN-T) and implementing the TEN-T according to schedule. Funding can also be from the private sector, if investors believe that the investment will pay off. The EU must take courageous decisions – tolls on roads and subsidies for rail infrastructure.
MEP Termosa i Balcells, expects rationality from the TEN-T & White Paper – projects with focus on European interest, eliminate bottle necks and the internal market. Spain has focused on passengers and not freight rail transport. The Mediterranean has great potential for container ships but the ports are not ready to accommodate such transport and need to have proper rail infrastructure to connect them to the internal market.
MEP Eva Lichtenberger, explained how emissions have increased in transport while being reduced in industry – so the need to use Green Transport. The competition today between rail and road is not a fair one; there is a toll charge on every train but not on every lorry. Lack of financing for rail for the past 50 years, but not for roads. These facts discourage people from using the rail to transfer goods. Therefore, Europe needs to improve its existing rail network for passengers and goods. For long term projects it will be difficult to have private money but probably for short term specific projects.
MEP Michael Cramer, concurred with the saying that roads are cheap and with no obligation for tolls while rail is expensive and with a mandatory toll – the shift is on the wrong direction. It is not forbidden to have toll on roads, why is it not implemented? Europe should cut subsidies for roads.
MEP Róża Gräfin von Thun Und Hohenstein, explained that good infrastructure is important for the internal market and suggested better connections for the black sea.
- Adam Kosa, MEP (HU/EPP)
- Robert Wright, Transport correspondent for Financial Times
- Laszlo Mosoczi, MAV Deputy General Director and President of the Hungarian Rail Association (HUNGRAIL)
- Zoltan Kazatsay, Deputy Director DG MOVE, European Commission
- Pal Volner, Minister of State for infrastructure – Hungarian Ministry of National Development
- Termosa i Balcells, MEP (ES/ALDE)
- Eva Lichtenberger, MEP (AU/ GREENS/EFA)