Monday 30 March 2009
Relations with other railway associations

EIM conference: “Structuring the future of Europe’s railways”

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EIM organised the 6th edition of its annual conference. This year, the event, which took place in Brussels, focused on how structuring the future of Europe’s railways. Over 150 people attended the conference, among them infrastructure managers, government representatives and members of European institutions, such as by Gustav Slameka, Czech Vice Minister of Transport, who delivered the opening speech or the MEPs Silvia Adriana Ticău, Säid El Khadraoui and Boguslaw Liberadzk. The European Commission was also represented by Jonathan Scheele, Director TEN-T and Enrico Grillo-Pasquarelli, Director Inland Transport, who outlined the legislative steps the European Commission is taking.

The different panels debated the proposed revision of the Trans‐European Transport Network and the recently proposed Regulation on Competitive Rail Freight. The conference was based on the theme of corridors, with experts exchanging views on Green Corridors, innovation and good governance, and the best way to link Central and Eastern European countries to international rail corridors. Highlight was put on the need for more investments in the infrastructure and for efficient, sustainable and in particular interoperable railway. Improving interoperability across borders is indeed essential and needs to be improved. As Guy Vernieuwe, the Strategy and International Affairs Manager of Infrabel, stressed, “all the nodes network must be chosen in the framework of a global multimodal context”. A better cooperation and exchange of experiences is also the key to more efficient railways, as Eric Fontanel, UNIFE General Manager, underlined it with the importance to “work together over the borders”. The conference was closed by Johan Friedrich Colsman, a member of the Cabinet of Antonio Tajani, the European Commissioner responsible for Transport. Giving an overview of the Commission’s priorities in transport policy, Mr Colsman said “the European Commission is looking for ways to improve the competitiveness of rail transport, and looks forward to working with all stakeholders to develop an efficient and sustainable rail network.”

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