The UIC Regional Assembly for Europe (RAE), composed of 120 railway companies (integrated railways, infrastructure managers, operators and service providers) from around Europe, met on 15 June at UIC Headquarters in Paris. The meeting was chaired by Guillaume Pepy, SNCF Chairman, supported by Rüdiger Grube, the successor to Hartmut Mehdorn as Chairman of the DB Board of Management, Mauro Moretti, Chief Executive of FS and CER Chairman and Bert Klerk, Chairman of ProRail and EIM Chairman. The UIC Chairman Yoshio Ishida and Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux also participated in the regional assembly.
Like the other UIC regional assemblies (for Asia, Africa, the Middle-East, North America and, in future, Latin America), the Regional Assembly for Europe has specific responsibility for defining the strategic framework of the cooperative work run or coordinated by UIC at European regional level, in liaison with CER, EIM and the other associations; for approving the action plan and budgets specific to European projects; and for overseeing progress on all these projects.
A significant point of discussion centred on optimising cooperation between the RAE, UIC’s European division, and the associations CER and EIM, which are tasked with interfacing with the European institutions on political matters concerning the railways. The issue of streamlining the use of (members’) resources and seeking optimum synergies between the three associations is being discussed within a tripartite group composed of the heads of UIC, CER and EIM. Following lengthy discussion within the European Assembly, Chairman Guillaume Pepy concluded that the tripartite group should continue its work with a view to presenting some solid proposals, but that it was equally important that the recommended solutions paid due respect to the identity, role and specific features of each of the three associations.
The Regional Assembly for Europe also discussed and approved the revised budget for the financial year 2009 (9 months) and the provisional budget for 2010 incorporating the projects proposed by members in the forums and platforms. The budget shows a strong reduction in expenditure from 2009 onwards, a sign of the new UIC management’s intention to rigorously and transparently manage the resources allocated, whilst improving the quality of the services provided to members. These measures, coupled with the postponement of the appointment of the Regional Director for Europe, enable the fees called for the European Region to be reduced significantly. The process enabling each member to “opt into” projects within a reasonable timeframe will be addressed in the near future.
The provisional budget for the financing of the projects and activities proposed by the forums and platforms for 2010, down slightly on the initial forecast for 2009, was presented alongside a detailed overview of ongoing work.
The heads of the UIC technical departments then presented the strategic environment framing their work, the key challenges to be addressed in their area and their programme of work, focusing on a selection of UIC projects of particular importance or current relevance. Thus, the most significant projects were presented in the following areas: Infrastructure (Gerard Dalton), Safety (Simon Fletcher), Freight and Passenger (Oliver Sellnick) and the Technical and Research Platform strategic plan (Joachim Mayer, DB).