The UIC South-East Europe Railway Group General Directors’ meeting was chaired by Mr Pencho Popov, CEO of BZD Holding (Bulgaria), and was attended by: O. Derkoski (CFARYM Transport), B. Deari (CFARYM Infra), D. Spremo, CEO (ZRS), M. Lambrev (NRIC, Bulgaria) and Mrs Filipescu, Director of International Affairs of CFR Calatori (Romania). TCDD (Turkey), ZS, ZFBH and TRAINOSE (Greece) were represented by persons at international department level.
Mrs D. Danzinger (ÖBB) was invited as an observer (as the G-4 member). UIC, the only railway organisation to attend, was represented by Jerzy Wisniewski, Director of the Fundamental Values Department.
SERG is a special regional group of UIC established several years ago. It regularly meets to share information as well act on a bilateral and multilateral basis.
The meeting in Sofia was mainly devoted to the following issues: crisis management with regard to the SERG area, disruptions to international passenger services to/from Greece, improvement of international freight traffic management (high proportion of empty wagons returned), problems at border crossings, closer cooperation with the G-4 group – with particular focus on: coordination of the infrastructure investments along the Pan-European corridors, sharing relevant information to increase railway traffic within a region.
Jerzy Wisniewski, when given the opportunity to take the floor, greeted SERG members on behalf of Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director-General, who was unable to attend.
During his speech, Mr Wisniewski focused on the specific problems and issues which could be useful and beneficial for SERG members. The CREAM, INNOTRACK, DIOMIS, and other projects have been already developed by UIC and will serve to improve freight traffic management and increase infrastructure efficiency. Participation in the European-funded projects under the FP7 and forthcoming FP8 programmes gives UIC members opportunities to develop their businesses as well as to upskill their staff. There are also financial benefits as the EU covers 50% of the cost of the studies and 100% of the cost of disseminating the results. UIC’s recent participation and work in several dozen projects of this kind was presented at the meeting. An important issue raised during the meeting was the development of R&D activity – the re-launch of the IRRB with its ambitious programme. The SERG members are interested in the results of UIC’s work and will address UIC HQ directly for any detailed information.