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Source: European Parliament

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a European Year of Rail (2021)

(

COM(2020)0078 –C9-0076/2020 – 2020/0035(COD))

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

 having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2020)0078),

 having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 91 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C9‑0076/2020),

 having regard to Article 294(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

 having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of …[1]

 having regard to the opinion of the European Committee of the Regions of…[2]

 having regard to Rule 59 of its Rules of Procedure,

 having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Regional Development and also the opinion of the Committee on Culture and Education

 having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A9-0191/2020),

1. Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out;

2. Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it replaces, substantially amends or intends to substantially amend its proposal;

3. Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.

Amendment  1

Proposal for a decision

Recital 4

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(4) In line with the objectives set out in the Commission Communication on the European Green Deal, there is a need to transform the Union economy and to rethink policies, in particular in the field of transport and mobility, which implies accelerating the shift to sustainable and smart mobility. Transport accounts for a quarter of the Union’s greenhouse gas emissions, and still growing. To achieve climate neutrality, a 90% reduction in transport emissions is needed by 2050. Achieving sustainable transport means putting users first and providing them with more affordable, accessible, healthier and cleaner alternatives to their current mobility habits. The European Green Deal implies to accelerate the shift to sustainable and smart mobility to address these challenges. In particular, a substantial part of the 75% of inland freight carried today by road should shift onto rail and inland waterways.

(4) In line with the objectives set out in the Commission Communication on the European Green Deal, there is a need to transform the Union economy and to rethink policies, in particular in the field of transport and mobility, which implies accelerating the shift to sustainable, smart, intermodal, interoperable and interconnected mobility. Transport accounts for a quarter of the Union’s greenhouse gas emissions, and still growing. To achieve climate neutrality, a 90% reduction in transport emissions is needed as soon as possible and at the latest by 2050. Achieving sustainable, intermodal transport means putting users first and providing them with more affordable, accessible, healthier, cleaner and more energy-efficient alternatives to their current mobility habits encouraging those already using sustainable transport modes such as walking, cycling and public transport. Sustainable transport means high standards in working conditions; it also means price levels that include external costs The European Green Deal implies to accelerate the shift to sustainable and smart mobility to address these challenges. In particular, a substantial part of the 75% of inland freight carried today by road should shift onto rail and inland waterways. It is therefore essential to move forward in implementing the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and to ensure that the necessary financial resources are available.

Amendment  2

Proposal for a decision

Recital 5 a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(5 a) The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the transport sector exceptionally hard. The rail sector has experienced an unprecedented decline in passenger numbers. Despite the operational and financial constraints, the sector has maintained crucial connections both for people and for the transportation of essential and dangerous goods. This has been possible mainly thanks to the employees who have continued working under difficult, dangerous and uncertain conditions to ensure that medical supplies and essential goods can be transported across Europe.

Amendment  3

Proposal for a decision

Recital 6

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(6) By connecting the Union’s main transport routes with its peripheral regions and territories, the rail sector contributes to social, economic and territorial cohesion.

(6) By connecting the Union’s main transport routes with its peripheral, mountainous and hard to reach regions and territories, including at regional and local level, by establishing and reinstating missing regional cross-border rail links1a and advancing in electrification1b, the rail sector contributes to social, economic and territorial cohesion. Furthermore, remote and rural areas often have fewer and less-well-developed networks that guarantee the provision of basic services to the population. Border regions throughout the Union make up 40 % of the Union’s territory, containing a third of its population1c but are often faced with the doubly difficult situation of being rural in character and at the periphery of national networks. However, several cross-border connections are still missing and this hampers the trans-European transport network in achieving full efficiency. Investments in rail infrastructure should additionally focus on those connections that contribute to the Union’s goals regarding the modal shift, for instance in port or airport areas where freight can be distributed inland via rail instead of road, provided that adequate rail infrastructure is in place. The reinforcement of interoperability and the promotion of a complementary approach among all transport sectors is an essential goal to be achieved in order to improve economic activity in the regions, create new jobs and contribute to recovery from the current health and economic crisis.

 

________________

 

1a DG REGIO Report “Quantification of the effects of legal and administrative border obstacles in land border regions” (Source: https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docoffic/2014/boosting_growth/quantif_effect_borders_obstacles.pdf

 

1b DG REGIO Report “Quantification of the effects of legal and administrative border obstacles in land border regions” (Source: https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docoffic/2014/boosting_growth/quantif_effect_borders_obstacles.pdf

 

1c DG REGIO Report “Quantification of the effects of legal and administrative border obstacles in land border regions” (Source: https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docoffic/2014/boosting_growth/quantif_effect_borders_obstacles.pdf

Amendment  4

Proposal for a decision

Recital 7

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(7) While the share of passenger rail in the Union land transport has only slightly increased since 2007, the share of freight has decreased. Many obstacles remain to achieve a true Single European Rail Area, including in respect of the need to minimise noise. Overcoming these obstacles together with cost reduction and accelerated innovation will allow rail to realise its full potential. Rail therefore needs a further boost to become more attractive to travellers and businesses alike.

(7) While the share of passenger rail in the Union land transport has only slightly increased since 2007, the share of freight has decreased. Many obstacles remain to achieve a true Single European Rail Area, including in respect of the need to open up to competition, to foster innovation, interoperability and digitalisation, to complete the TEN-T and the freight corridors, to accelerate the implementation of European wide modern train management systems (ERTMS) both for on-board and for track-side equipment, to internalise the external costs, to minimise noise and to promote better integration between logistic systems and the quality of life of citizens. Rail is often hamstrung by outdated business and operational practices and by the presence of too much ageing infrastructure and rolling stock. Overcoming these obstacles together with cost reduction and accelerated innovation will allow rail to realise its full potential, while ensuring the functioning of the internal market, increasing traffic and maintaining or improving the already high safety levels. The rail sector therefore needs a further boost in order for it to become more attractive to travellers, employees and businesses alike.  For this to happen, it needs to have suitable infrastructure and to benefit from strong EU funding instruments. The role of ERA in lowering technical barriers within the single European railway area should be highlighted.

Amendment 5

Proposal for a decision

Recital 8

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(8) In order to promote rail transport in line with the objectives set out in the Commission Communication on the European Green Deal, including with regard to sustainable and smart mobility, the year 2021 should be designated as European Year of Rail. 2021 will be an important year for the Union rail policy, it will be the first full year where the rules agreed under the Fourth Railway Package will be implemented throughout the Union, namely on the opening of the market of domestic passenger services and on reducing costs and administrative burden for railway undertakings operating across the Union. There is a growing public interest in railways, including in night trains, in a number of Member States, as also illustrated by the popularity of #DiscoverEU. Moreover, the international arts festival ‘Europalia’ will dedicate its 2021 edition to the influence of railways on the arts and highlight the role of rail as a powerful promotor of social, economic and industrial change.

(8) In order to promote rail transport in line with the objectives set out in the Commission Communication on the European Green Deal, including with regard to sustainable and smart mobility, the year 2021 should be designated as European Year of Rail. 2021 will be an important year for the Union rail policy, it will be the first full year where the rules agreed under the Fourth Railway Package will be implemented throughout the Union, namely on the opening of the market of domestic passenger services and on reducing costs and administrative burden for railway undertakings operating across the Union. Particular importance also needs to be placed on the correct enforcement of the 4th railway package and the new ERA role. The European Year of Rail should mark the starting point for a more general strategy on the railways, aimed at achieving the single European railway area. There is a growing public interest in railways, including in night trains, in a number of Member States, as also illustrated by the popularity of #DiscoverEU. Rail should be integral in delivering seamless “door to door” travel solutions in combination with other modes, including active travel. Moreover, the international arts festival ‘Europalia’ will dedicate its 2021 edition to the influence of railways on the arts and highlight the role of rail as a powerful promotor of social, economic, industrial and ecological change.

 

Amendment  6

Proposal for a decision

Recital 8 a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(8 a) The overwhelming majority of freight transport starts or ends in towns and suburbs. 70 % of the population lives there and 85 % of the EU’s GDP is created in these areas. Similarly, commuters account for 80 to 90 % of all passengers. This means that urban agglomerations are significant contributors to the overall performance of passenger rail transport. Therefore, under-used suburban and regional lines need to be modernised and renovated to encourage smart urban mobility with low ecological impact and better social and economic cohesion. Substantial funds and increased co-financing rates are needed for investment in rail infrastructure and are crucial for the modal competitiveness of rail. Investment in rail infrastructure is key to the modal competitiveness of rail. While 80 % of funding under the Connecting Europe Facility is channelled towards rail, the Member States also have a responsibility to pursue ambitious investment policies to promote the modal shift. These investments should be based on a “rail connectivity index” in order to maximise the efficiency of the Single European Rail Area. The role of motivated staff cannot be underestimated, and guarantees the smoothness of operations. The rail sector, however, has problems attracting new employees. In order to reach its full potential, it needs to diversify its workforce and in particular attract women and young workers. This perspective should be promoted at all institutional levels.

Amendment  7

Proposal for a decision

Recital 8 b (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(8b) Enhancing the attractiveness of rail requires the services to be user-centred and organised and engineered to deliver good value, with consistent dependability and excellent service quality. Those services should be priced competitively, reflecting resource-efficiency.

 

Amendment  8

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point a

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) promote rail as a sustainable, innovative and safe mode of transport, in particular by highlighting the role of rail as a game changer to help reaching the Union’s climate neutrality objective by 2050 and by reaching out to the wider public, especially youth;

(a) promote rail as the backbone of sustainable, innovative, intermodal, safe and affordable transport and as an efficient logistic network, capable of guaranteeing essential services, even during unexpected crises;

 

Amendment  9

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point a a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(a a) promote the role of rail in reaching the Union’s climate neutrality objective as soon as possible and by 2050, including by reaching out to the wider public, especially to people with disabilities and reduced mobility, as well as to youth;

 

Amendment  10

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – points a b (new) and a c (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(a b) strengthen rail, including by improving the cross-border cooperation among infrastructure managers to facilitate better rail connectivity across borders, including cross-border charter trains;

(a c ) develop and communicate a modal shift in tourism policy as a network that can connect rural areas and can boost, and create public awareness of, a European sustainable tourism;

 

Amendment  11

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point b

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(b) highlight the European, cross-border dimension of rail, that brings citizens closer together, allows them to explore the Union in all its diversity, fosters cohesion and contributes to integrate the Union internal market;

(b) highlight the European, cross-border dimension of rail that brings citizens closer together, allows them to explore the Union in all its diversity, fosters socio-economic and territorial cohesion and contributes to integrate the Union internal market, whilst promoting the completion of the TEN-T, ending bottlenecks mainly in cross-border areas, and thus make transport more interoperable by offering people and goods comprehensive solutions; and therefore highlights the need to turn the Union patchwork of national rail networks into a truly European network, especially by supporting regional cross-border rail connectivity EU wide;

Amendment  12

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point c

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(c) enhance the contribution of rail to Union economy, industry and society, covering in particular aspects related to regional development, industrial competitiveness, sustainable tourism, innovation, employment, education, youth and culture, and improving accessibility for persons with disabilities;

(c) enhance the contribution of rail to Union economy, industry, commerce and society, covering in particular aspects related to regional and local development, sustainable tourism, attractive careers, education, youth and culture and improving accessibility for elderly people and for persons with disabilities and reduced mobility;

 

Amendment  13

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point c a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(c a) strongly support rail research and innovation, in particular via Shift2Rail and its successors, particularly with a view to increase capacity in the European rail network, achieving higher rail service quality and decarbonisation;

 

Amendment  14

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point c b (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(c b) emphasise the Union’s position as a global industrial competitiveness cluster with innovative and exporting flagships;

 

Amendment  15

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point c c (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(c c) facilitate data sharing with new entrants and third-party suppliers.

 

Amendment  16

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point d a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(d a) strengthen rail transport in agglomerations and suburbs, to promote space-saving, climate- and people-friendly, door-to-door transportation, including through an easily understandable and consistently enforced system of passenger rights to improve the quality of services and to encourage social and economic inclusion;

 

Amendment  17

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point d b (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(d b) mobilise the role that rail plays in the shared European collective imagination, particularly the cultural and historical aspects, recalling the role of rail in building European prosperity and in the industrial revolutions in cutting-edge technologies in the 21st century; and highlight that trains, railways stations and rail infrastructure, as part of Europe’s cultural heritage, deserve to be promoted and celebrated in cooperation with museums or other cultural sites and events;

 

Amendment  18

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point d c (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(d c) promote the existing Union night train network and encourage initiatives in which cross-border night trains are used to promote the Union’s visual identity;

 

Amendment  19

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point d d (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(d d) promote the attractiveness of the railway profession, including by encouraging fair conditions of service and protection of employees against abuse.

 

Amendment  20

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) initiatives and events to promote debate, raise awareness and facilitate citizens, businesses and public authorities’ engagement to attract more people and goods to rail as a means to combat climate change, through multiple channels and tools, including events in Member States;

(a) initiatives and events to promote debate, build a positive image, raise awareness and facilitate citizens, businesses, and public authorities’ engagement to re-establish trust in rail to attract more people and goods to rail as a means to combat climate change, through multiple channels and tools, including events in Member States at national, regional and local level, whilst also highlighting the safety and comfort of travelling by rail as inter-modal nature;

 

Amendment  21

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(a a) initiatives that emphasise that rail plays an integral part in ‘door-to-door’ transport, emphasising the need for intermodal integration and for inter-connectivity with other modes, including geographically peripheral regions and islands;

 

Amendment  22

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a b (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(a b) initiatives in Members States to encourage in both the public and private sector business-travel and commuting patterns by rail;

 

Amendment  23

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a c (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(a c) initiatives to support technological innovation in order to develop through-ticketing and digital multi-modal tickets;

 

Amendment  24

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a d (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(a d) initiatives to promote investment in terminals and rolling stock as an optimised modal shift option that will contribute to the decarbonisation of freight transport and the development of smart and sustainable mobility;

 

Amendment  25

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a e (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(a e) initiatives to signal the universal dimension of rail in terms of service, guaranteeing both territorial accessibility and other aspects of accessibility (waiting time, density of access points, accessibility for passengers with reduced mobility  and elderly etc);

 

Amendment  26

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a f (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(a f) the Commission shall explore the possibility to create a rail connectivity index aimed at categorising the consistency, quality and diversity of the offer as well as accessibility and intermodal options measuring the integration of the network. The aim of this index shall be to identify the areas where investment in the rail sector is particularly necessary.

 

Amendment  27

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point b

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(b) information, exhibitions, inspiration, education and awareness-raising campaigns to encourage changes in passenger, consumer and business behaviour and to stimulate an active contribution of the general public to achieving the objectives of more sustainable transport;

(b) information, exhibitions, inspiration, education and awareness-raising campaigns as well as demonstration and information trains to encourage changes in passenger, consumer and business behaviour and to stimulate an active contribution of the general public to achieving the objectives of more sustainable transport;

 

Amendment  28

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point e a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(e a) collection of experiences and best practices to create a level-playing field between transport modes and ultimately to decrease the cost to society,

 

Amendment  29

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point e b (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(e b) support for regional infrastructure expansion in particular by promoting on freight transport away from the main corridors;

 

Amendment  30

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point e c (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(e c) initiatives to identify possibilities for network optimisation and for improved digitalisation, especially for the provision of real-time information about fares and timetables, so that rail passengers can make comparisons and access information about independent third-party providers;

 

Amendment  31

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point e d (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(e d) activities to better disseminate information on the enforcement of passengers’ rights, including initiatives to improve the information available to passengers, enforcing Regulation (EC) No 80/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 January 2009 so as to provide comparative data on all transport modes;

 

Amendment  32

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point e e (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(e e) initiatives to promote a modal shift in tourism with joint support of the rail sector, the European cultural industry and national and European representatives of the tourism industry, as a network that can connect all areas national, regional and rural, that can boost and create public awareness for a European sustainable tourism.

 

Amendment  33

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point e f (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(e f) implementation of the activities, partnerships and events set out in the annex of events and partnerships;

 

Amendment  34

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point e g (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(e g) initiatives to ensure that EU funds allocated to the recovery efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are used to massively expand and improve the European rail infrastructure and that Members State fully deploy the European Train Management system (ERTMS) in respect of both on-board rolling stock and infrastructure, intensify noise protection and strengthen feeder lines in order to improve door-to-door mobility.

Amendment  35

Proposal for a decision

Article 4 – paragraph 1

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

The organisation of participation in the European Year at national level is a responsibility of the Member States. To that end, Member States shall appoint national coordinators. The national coordinators shall ensure the coordination of relevant activities at national level.

The organisation of participation in the European Year at national level is a responsibility of the Member States. To that end, Member States shall appoint a national coordinator and provide adequate financial and human resources for her or his tasks The national coordinators shall ensure the coordination of relevant activities at national level and provide a link to coordination at Union level. National coordinators shall be chosen on the basis of their proven commitment to the development of rail in Europe.

Amendment  36

Proposal for a decision

Article 4 – paragraph 1 a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Member States, taking into account their political structure and the distribution of powers, shall appoint the relevant coordinators.

Amendment  37

Proposal for a decision

Article 5 – paragraph 3 – subparagraph 1

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

The Commission shall convene regular meetings of stakeholders and representatives of organisations or bodies active in the field of rail transport, including existing transnational networks and relevant NGOs, as well as of youth organisations and communities, to assist it in implementing the European Year at Union level.

The Commission shall convene regular meetings of all stakeholders and representatives of organisations or bodies active in the field of rail transport, including existing transnational networks, relevant NGOs, universities and technology centres, as well as representatives of youth organisations, organisations representing people with disabilities and reduced mobility and communities, to assist it in implementing the European Year at Union level. The Commission shall use the same meetings to promote a pan-European debate about rail policy, obstacles, decarbonisation potential and socially and environmentally sustainable mobility policy with a view to basing future legislative ideas on this input.

Amendment  38

Proposal for a decision

Article 6 a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Article 6a

 

Budget

 

The financial envelope for the implementation of this Decision for the period from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2022 shall be EUR 16 million. The annual appropriations shall be authorised by the European Parliament and the Council within the limits of the multiannual financial framework.

 

Amendment  39

Proposal for a decision

Annex

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Annex

 

Events and partnerships

 

Partnerships shall support a range of activities to give effect to the European Year of Rail through events intended for citizens. This Annex sets out a non-exhaustive list of events to be carried out during the European Year of Rail, supported by various partnerships according to their scope.

 

The following partnerships, events or activities shall be organised during the European Year, as circumstances permit:

 

– Partnerships with film festivals throughout Europe to highlight the prominent place of rail in cinema production; cooperation with European rail museums and existing cultural events such as film festivals and art exhibitions

 

– Partnership with the European Union Agency for Railways to emphasise:

 

(i) the performance of the sector in Europe;

 

(ii) the know-how of actors in the sector, in particular of rail workers;

 

(iii) the advantages of rail in terms of safety and environmental protection; and

 

(iv) career opportunities for pupils, students and apprentices;

 

– Mobilising railway museums to relay the messages of the European Year;

 

– Mobile exhibition trains in the Union to inform the public about the objectives of the European Year and to highlight the attractiveness of its many messages;

 

– Providing Inter-rail passes for young people in connection with Erasmus studies or competitions to extend the reach of the European Year;

 

– Exploiting the potential of stations as places of art, urban meeting places and economic, cultural and civic hubs.

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The Rapporteur welcomes this Commission proposal, which declares 2021 ‘European Year of Rail’ and aims at promoting rail transport, in line with the objectives of sustainable and smart mobility set out in the Communication on the European Green Deal.

Transport accounts for a quarter of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions, and still growing. To achieve climate neutrality, a 90% reduction in transport emissions is needed by 2050. Moreover, in accordance with the Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area, 50% of market share needs to shift to medium distance and intercity passenger journeys from road to rail transport, whilst in the freight sector, by 2030, 30% of road freight should shift to other modes such as rail or waterborne transport, and more than 50% by 2050.

 

One key of success for the European Green Deal is directing attention and efforts on rail: trains should be more affordable, more frequent, better connected  and more energy efficient. Rail has to play a significant role in accelerating the reduction in transport emissions, as it is one of the most environmentally friendly and energy-efficient transport modes. It is largely electrified, it increasingly uses renewable energy and it emits far less CO2 than equivalent travel by road or air. Moreover, it is one of the safest transport modes and connects people and business across the EU. However, despite these clear benefits, rail is placed at a significant disadvantage compared to other transport modes, particularly aviation. Airlines are exempt from paying tax on aviation fuel and receive a large amount of free allowances under the Emissions Trading System. These advantages often mean that even for short distances, rail is placed at a disadvantage vis-a-vis aviation that offers more competitively priced short-haul flights despite the great climate impact.

 

The Rapporteur not only supports the proposal of the ‘European Year of Rail, 2021’ but also encourages the EC to be more ambitious. Our society needs to shift from road and aviation in favour to rail. This will require investments in rail infrastructure capacity, both extending the network and deploying digital traffic management technologies such as ERTMS.

Even when the global health crisis provoked by COVID-19 brought our countries to a near standstill, rail and urban rail systems have continued to ensure the circulation of goods and the continuation of fundamental services, including passengers working in ‘essential professions’.

 

The Rapporteur calls for an improvement in public transport to have sustainable urban planning for more soft mobility solutions. This can be achieved by a system of effective transport pricing and affordable rail tickets, in order to improve traffic patterns and foster sustainable modal choices of passengers and logistics operators.

 

The Rapporteur wishes to establish a cooperative environment to work together with railway undertakings and finally establish a system of through ticket in EU, especially for journeys across borders, which would enable passengers to claim their rights in case of a missed connection due to a delay in a previous leg of his journey.

 

The Rapporteur also points out the importance to revitalise night trains and build regional connections across the EU. This will call for investment in the rolling stock and infrastructure of night trains, reactivating routes to make them again a viable and affordable alternative for travellers to European destinations as it has been in the past. In this regard, during the European Year, the Rapporteur encourages the EC to promote at maximum the existing EU night train network and have initiatives where cross-borders night trains will circulate showing the EU visual identity.

 

A real ‘rennaissance of the rail’ requires that financing should focus in particular on the (re)instatement of missing regional cross-border rail links, maintaining and upgrading existing lines, bridges and tunnels as well as reactivating disused lines where passengers and freight can shift to rail; funding should support research and innovation in clean transport and it should be geared towards sustainable, intermodal and smart mobility with rail in the core of any European mobility strategy and as a pre-condition for funding.

 

The Rapporteur strongly believes that the European Year of Rail 2021 will be able give visibility and promote rail as an attractive and sustainable way to move, to citizens, business and authorities thanks to projects, debates, events and exhibitions that will take place across Europe.

 

Rail contributes to the EU economic and, bringing jobs and other benefits to local communities as well as and contributing to integrate the Union internal market. This European Year shall present rail as a sustainable, modern and safe mode of transport and shall reach out to the wider public, fostering cohesion and social inclusion, especially focusing on the youth and people with disabilities.

 

 

 

 

OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT (14.7.2020)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a European Year of Rail (2021)

(COM(2020)0078 – C9‑0076/2020 – 2020/0035(COD))

Rapporteur for opinion: Martina Michels

 

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

On 4 March 2020 the European Commission proposed 2021 to be the European Year of Rail to promote rail as sustainable, innovative and safe means of transport, through the organization of events, campaign and initiatives at national, regional and local level.

 

In its communication of 11 December 2019, the European Commission set out a European Green Deal aiming at achieving climate neutrality by 2050. As transport accounts for a quarter of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions, the rail sector will play a crucial role in the realization of this target.

 

Therefore the Commission is studying a strategy based on sustainable and smart mobility with the priority to shift into rail and inland waterways a substantial part of the 75% of inland freight carried today in Europe.

 

The COVID-19 outbreak has affected the entire EU with a major impact on transport and connectivity in the EU. The European Year of Rail could represent the chance to open a constructive debate on the future challenges that all modes of transport will face and on the necessary measures to be implemented to protect the health of transport workers and passengers.

 

Your rapporteur welcomes the Commission proposal to declare 2021 “European Year of Rail” and its objective to encourage and support the efforts of the Union, the Member States, regional and local authorities and other organizations to increase the share of passengers and freight moving by rail.

 

Your rapporteur believes, that creating and enhancing sustainable, environmentally friendly and energy-efficiency transport modes is a crucial part of EU’s strategy to tackle climate change. In this context, the rapporteur underlines the important role played by cohesion policy in improving EU internal and cross-border railway networks, in particular in the less developed regions.

 

Your rapporteur considers the European Year of Rail as a key opportunity to explore strategies to enhance EU railways policies, especially in rural and border areas where local rail networks and train stations continue to be dismantled. A particular focus should be given to the accessibility for elderly and disadvantaged persons and the improvement of the passenger’s rights, a better booking and ticket system, investments in infrastructures and services.

 

In your rapporteur’s view, rail transport should be a real alternative to individualised modes of transport and to short and medium distance flights. The cross-border dimension of rail brings citizens closer together, allows them to explore the Union in all its diversity and cultural richness. The cross-border dimension of rail should foster also social, economic and territorial cohesion, in particular under the post 2020 cohesion policy objectives for a greener and more connected Europe.

 

Your rapporteur believes that the European Year of Rail in 2021 could help also to increase awareness for the need to modernise rail including its digital infrastructure and services across the Member States.

 

Your rapporteur proposes further concrete measures to achieve the objectives of the European Year of Rail such as inter alia: the reactivation of local, regional and interregional passenger and freight railway lines, the re-introduction of a European network of night trains, that reaches out to all Member States and neighbouring countries, the development of a unified ticket booking system valid in all Member States and for all rail companies operating in the Union.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Regional Development calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to take into account the following amendments:

 

 

Amendment  1

Proposal for a decision

Recital 1

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(1) In its Communication of 11 December 201915 , the Commission set out a European Green Deal for the European Union and its citizens. The European Green Deal is a new growth strategy that aims to transform the Union into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy where there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use.

(1) In its Communication of 11 December 201915 , the Commission set out a European Green Deal for the European Union and its citizens. The European Green Deal is not just an enhanced climate policy, but a new integrated and inclusive growth strategy with an environmental ambition to transform the Union’s economy and society in order to put it on an ecologically sustainable path that upholds social rights and improves life for all Union citizens. This strategy further aims to transform the Union into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, social, resource-efficient and competitive economy with job creation and opportunities as its priority where there are no EU net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 and where economic and sustainable development is decoupled from resource use. The European Green Deal recognises the need for an effective and progressive response to tackle the urgent threat of climate change and the impacts of the measures taken.

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15 Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 11 December 2019 on the European Green Deal (COM/2019/640 final)

15 Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 11 December 2019 on the European Green Deal (COM/2019/640 final)

Amendment  2

Proposal for a decision

Recital 1 a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(1a) Whereas the changes that have occurred in European society as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the health and economic effects they are having, including potential impacts on the internal market relating to the free movement of goods and citizens, mean that attention should be paid to improving the communication links that have been disrupted during the pandemic, along with potential after-effects.

Amendment  3

Proposal for a decision

Recital 2

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(2) In its conclusions of 12 December 201916, the European Council endorsed the objective of achieving a climate-neutral European Union by 2050.

(2) In its conclusions of 12 December 201916, the European Council endorsed the objective of achieving a climate-neutral European Union by 2050, in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

__________________

__________________

16 European Council conclusions of 12 December 2019

16 European Council conclusions of 12 December 2019

 

Amendment  4

Proposal for a decision

Recital 3

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(3) In its resolution of 15 January 202017, the European Parliament welcomed the Commission’s communication on ‘The European Green Deal’ and called for the necessary transition to a climate-neutral society by 2050 at the latest.

(3) In its resolution  of 15 January 202017, the European Parliament welcomed the Commission’s communication on “The European Green Deal” underlying the urgent need for ambitious action to tackle climate change and environmental challenges to limit global warming to 1,5oC, and the necessary transition to a climate-neutral society by 2050 at the latest and called for an increase in the Union’s ambition towards the reduction of emissions of domestic greenhouse gases  by 2030.

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17 European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Green Deal (2019/2956(RSP))

17 European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Green Deal (2019/2956(RSP))

Amendment  5

Proposal for a decision

Recital 4

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(4) In line with the objectives set out in the Commission Communication on the European Green Deal, there is a need to transform the Union economy and to rethink policies, in particular in the field of transport and mobility, which implies accelerating the shift to sustainable and smart mobility. Transport accounts for a quarter of the Union’s greenhouse gas emissions, and still growing. To achieve climate neutrality, a 90% reduction in transport emissions is needed by 2050. Achieving sustainable transport means putting users first and providing them with more affordable, accessible, healthier and cleaner alternatives to their current mobility habits. The European Green Deal implies to accelerate the shift to sustainable and smart mobility to address these challenges. In particular, a substantial part of the 75% of inland freight carried today by road should shift onto rail and inland waterways.

(4) In line with the objectives set out in the Commission Communication on the European Green Deal, there is a need to transform the Union economy and industry and to rethink policies and investment in infrastructure, in particular in the field of transport and mobility. Such a transformation implies accelerating the shift to sustainable, zero-emissions, intermodal and smart mobility with rail at the core of any mobility or transport strategy. Transport accounts for a quarter of the Union’s greenhouse gas emissions, and still growing. To achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible, a Union-wide 90% reduction in transport emissions is needed by 2050 at the latest. Achieving sustainable transport means putting users first and providing them with more affordable, universally accessible, healthier and cleaner options and alternatives to their current mobility habits and consolidating those that are already using sustainable modes of mobility including cycling and walking. The European Green Deal implies to accelerate the shift to sustainable, intermodal and smart mobility to address these challenges. In particular, a substantial part of the 75% of inland freight carried today by road should shift onto rail and inland waterways, without putting pressure on further canalisation or deepening of rivers.

Amendment  6

Proposal for a decision

Recital 5

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(5) Rail has a significant significant role to play as a game changer to achieve the climate neutrality objective by 2050. It is one of the most environmentally friendly and energy-efficient transport modes. Rail is largely electrified and emits far less CO2 than equivalent travel by road or air, and is the only mode that has consistently reduced its greenhouse gas emissions and CO2 emissions since 1990. In addition, rail has decreased its energy consumption between 1990-201618 and increasingly uses renewable energy sources.

(5) Mobility is one of the key pillars of the European Green Deal and rail has a significant role to play as a game changer to in order to decarbonise the Union economy and achieve its climate neutrality objective by 2050 at the latest. It is one of the most environmentally friendly and energy-efficient transport modes. Rail is largely electrified and emits far less CO2 than equivalent travel by road or air, and is the only mode that has consistently reduced its greenhouse gas emissions and CO2 emissions since 1990. In addition, rail has decreased its energy consumption between 1990-201618 and increasingly uses renewable energy sources. This trend should therefore be supported through the promotion of green energies.

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18 DG MOVE Statistical Pocketbook 2019 “EU transport in figures” (source: Eurostat)

18 DG MOVE Statistical Pocketbook 2019 “EU transport in figures” (source: Eurostat)

Amendment  7

Proposal for a decision

Recital 5 a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(5a) In the context of the Union’s commitments under the Paris Agreement and the Green Deal, regional and local authorities and public authorities in cooperation with the railway sector are key players for the implementation and delivering of the set goals.

Amendment  8

Proposal for a decision

Recital 5 b (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(5b) The growing use of renewable energy sources in the rail sector must be accompanied with a strategy for this just transition that takes into account the need for a high quality, affordable and accessible transport connectivity, as well as the protection of worker’s rights.

Amendment  9

Proposal for a decision

Recital 5 c (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(5c) Partnerships between R&D, industry, Member States and their regions are important to support research and innovation on transport.

Amendment  10

Proposal for a decision

Recital 5 d (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(5d) Creating and improving sustainable, environmentally friendly and energy-efficient transport modes is a crucial part of the Union’s efforts to fight climate change. As the Union offers support for investment in railway infrastructure through its funds and instruments, it has a direct impact on the promotion of rail that should be fully exploited. Given significant differences between Member States in terms of rail networks and related infrastructure, cohesion policy plays an important role in all regions, but particularly in less developed regions and rural areas, by improving Union internal and cross-border railway networks. Cohesion policy also offers a continued and reinforced role for investments towards a greener Europe for all. Consequently, it would be important to engage local, regional and national authorities in discussions on the multiannual planning, on rail infrastructure digitalisation and modernisation projects, and on the general improvement of public and private investments in regions and to encourage cross-border cooperation between local, regional and national authorities. Local economic development could benefit from sustainable, modern and electrified rail services. However, modernisation of rail transport, with specific attention for the public investments in transport infrastructures that will contribute to Union climate targets, innovation, safety, decent green and modern employment and efficiency will require additional resources.

Amendment  11

Proposal for a decision

Recital 6

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(6) By connecting the Union’s main transport routes with its peripheral regions and territories, the rail sector contributes to social, economic and territorial cohesion.

(6) By connecting  the Union’s main and secondary transport routes with its peripheral regions and territories, rural areas with each other and with urban centres and by filling missing cross-border links, the rail sector is a key factor in sustainable transport and tourism and contributes to social, economic and territorial cohesion. Rail has a central role in development, enhancing mobility, and helps to stop population drain from rural areas and less developed regions of the Union, offering a viable means of transport. However, creating better connections for and increasing the modal share of rail remain a challenge. Less profitable local rail networks and train stations should not continue to be dismantled, and particularly not in rural and border areas. Investment in the network, rolling stock and service varies greatly between Member States. Therefore, strategies and plans to further improve Union railway policies and networks should be explored and boosted to digitalise public transport and to restore connections, and to complete missing links by renewing, electrifying, modernising rolling stock and fostering the cooperation of rail transport companies.

 

Amendment  12

Proposal for a decision

Recital 7

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(7) While the share of passenger rail in the Union land transport has only slightly increased since 2007, the share of freight has decreased. Many obstacles remain to achieve a true Single European Rail Area, including in respect of the need to minimise noise. Overcoming these obstacles together with cost reduction and accelerated innovation will allow rail to realise its full potential. Rail therefore needs a further boost to become more attractive to travellers and businesses alike.

(7) While the share of passenger rail in the Union land transport has only slightly increased since 2007, the share of freight has decreased. To achieve the modal shift objectives outlined in the Commission’s 2011 White Paper on Transport, the competition between road and rail freight transport must be fair and balanced, fully taking into account the external costs of transport in order to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal. Many obstacles remain to achieve a true Single European Rail Area which have a real and significant impact on the competitiveness and attractiveness of rail transport, including, inter alia, the quite high cost of rail transport, the lack of simple connections and direct links, the charges for access to rail infrastructure, the barriers to rolling stock being entered into service, the diversity of control systems and operating regulations and in respect of the need to minimise noise. Overcoming these obstacles together with cost reduction and accelerated innovation and increased European support for intermodality will allow rail to realise its full potential. Rail therefore needs a further boost to become more attractive to travellers, especially youth and citizens living in peripheral areas and rural territories, workers and businesses alike. In order to secure a more coherent and attractive rail transport throughout Europe, emphasis should also be placed on improving passenger rights, on better booking systems and ticket systems, on investments in infrastructure, on more night trains providing fast and environmentally friendly connections throughout the Union, on the re-introduction of light rail systems, such as tramways in urban areas, and on the implementation of the ‘polluter pays’ principle in a socially balanced way.

Amendment  13

Proposal for a decision

Recital 7 a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(7a) In order to reach its full potential as an important employer in the European Union, the rail sector needs to diversify its workforce and attract women and young workers in particular. It is essential to deliver optimal transport services to the benefit of users, with rail workers enjoying quality working conditions;

 

 

Amendment  14

Proposal for a decision

Recital 8

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(8) In order to promote rail transport in line with the objectives set out in the Commission Communication on the European Green Deal, including with regard to sustainable and smart mobility, the year 2021 should be designated as European Year of Rail. 2021 will be an important year for the Union rail policy, it will be the first full year where the rules agreed under the Fourth Railway Package will be implemented throughout the Union, namely on the opening of the market of domestic passenger services and on reducing costs and administrative burden for railway undertakings operating across the Union. There is a growing public interest in railways, including in night trains, in a number of Member States, as also illustrated by the popularity of #DiscoverEU. Moreover, the international arts festival ‘Europalia’ will dedicate its 2021 edition to the influence of railways on the arts and highlight the role of rail as a powerful promotor of social, economic and industrial change.

(8) In order to promote rail transport in line with the objectives set out in the Commission Communication on the European Green Deal, including with regard to sustainable, intermodal and smart mobility, and in support of the Union’s commitment to the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals , the year 2021 should be designated as European Year of Rail. 2021 will be an important year for the Union rail policy, it will be the first full year where the rules agreed under the Fourth Railway Package will be implemented throughout the Union, namely on the opening of the market of domestic passenger services and on reducing costs and administrative burden for railway undertakings operating across the Union. There is a growing public interest in railways, including in inter-regional and intra-regional connections and night trains, particularly among young people, as also illustrated by the popularity of #DiscoverEU. Moreover, the international arts festival ‘Europalia’ will dedicate its 2021 edition to the influence of railways on the arts and highlight the role of rail as a powerful promotor of social, economic and industrial change.

Amendment  15

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – introductory part

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

The objective of the European Year shall be to encourage and support the efforts of the Union, the Member States, regional and local authorities, and other organisations to increase the share of passengers and freight moving by rail. In particular, the European Year shall

The objective of the European Year shall be to encourage and support the efforts of the Union, the Member States, regional and local authorities, NGOs, and other public and private organisations to increase the share of passengers and freight moving by rail. In particular, the European Year shall

Amendment  16

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point a

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) promote rail as a sustainable, innovative and safe mode of transport, in particular by highlighting the role of rail as a game changer to help reaching the Union’s climate neutrality objective by 2050 and by reaching out to the wider public, especially youth;

(a) promote rail as a sustainable, affordable, accessible, innovative, safe and unifying mode of transport for all, in particular by using more silent, green and energy efficient rolling stock, by stimulating a European debate on developing rail transport as a real, accessible and universal alternative to individualised modes of transport and to short and medium distance flights, by ensuring intermodal and regional-level mobility, highlighting the role as a game changer to help reaching the Union’s climate neutrality objective by 2050 at the latest and by reaching out to the wider public, especially youth and citizens living in peripheral and rural areas as well as the positive role that railways can play as instrument for post COVID-19 and other crisis recovery;

Amendment  17

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point b

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(b) highlight the European, cross-border dimension of rail, that brings citizens closer together, allows them to explore the Union in all its diversity, fosters cohesion and contributes to integrate the Union internal market;

(b) highlight the European, cross-border dimension of rail, that plays a crucial role in the development of sustainable, regional and local transport and tourism, brings rural, remote and peripheral areas closer to other parts of the Union and citizens closer together, allows them to explore the Union in all its diversity, strives to complete missing links, fosters social, economic and territorial cohesion under the post-2020 Cohesion Policy objectives for a greener and more connected Europe in close collaboration with regional and local authorities  and local communities and contributes to integrate the Union internal market;

Amendment  18

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point b a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(ba) highlight the urgent need for and importance of electrified transport over long and short distances and the need to improve the accessibility of transport infrastructure and services for all passengers;

Amendment  19

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point b b (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(bb) devote Union investment to reactivate and upgrade the existing, used or unused rail connectors and to complete missing links between border regions for both passenger and freight transport;

Amendment  20

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point c

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(c) enhance the contribution of rail to Union economy, industry and society, covering in particular aspects related to regional development, industrial competitiveness, sustainable tourism, innovation, employment, education, youth and culture, and improving accessibility for persons with disabilities;

(c) enhance the contribution of rail to Union economy, industry and society, covering in particular aspects related to sustainable regional, urban-rural and cross-border local development, climate protection, industrial transition, sustainable tourism, innovation, social inclusion, socially sustainable employment, education, youth and culture, and improving accessibility for elderly people, disadvantaged groups and persons with disabilities and reduced mobility;

Amendment  21

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point d

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(d) contribute to promoting rail as an important element of the relations between the Union and neighbouring countries, in particular in the Western Balkans, building on the interest and needs in partner countries and on the Union’s expertise in rail transport.

(d) contribute to promoting rail as an important element of the relations between the Union and neighbouring countries, such as those in the Western Balkans, the Eastern Neighbourhood countries and the UK building on the interest and needs in partner countries, border regions and municipalities and on the exchange of expertise in rail transport.

Amendment  22

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point d a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(da) ensure that a long-term impact of the European Year 2021 in the form of specific projects to be promoted and realised in the following years under the continuous commitment of all relevant stakeholders such as the European institutions and their agencies, railway undertakings, local, regional and national authorities responsible for the management of European funds;

Amendment  23

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point d b (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(db) contribute to promoting rail as a means to enable mobility and the temporary movement of objects and equipment in order to allow cooperation and to facilitate ongoing cooperation between groups linked to culture and education, taking advantage of the fact that the temporary mobility of people, objects and equipment offers a good way to identify cooperation opportunities, as well as to share good practices and expertise;

Amendment  24

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) initiatives and events to promote debate, raise awareness and facilitate citizens, businesses and public authorities’ engagement to attract more people and goods to rail as a means to combat climate change, through multiple channels and tools, including events in Member States;

(a) initiatives and events to promote debate, raise awareness and facilitate citizens, businesses and public authorities’ engagement to improve railway travel conditions and to attract more resources, people and goods to rail as a means to combat climate change, including the use of green energy for rail infrastructure, regional development and territorial exploration. These initiatives shall also contribute to improve personal mobility and to foster cultural exchange and sustainable tourism, through multiple channels and tools, including events in Member States, at local, regional and national level, including in border areas on railway initiatives funded by the INTERREG programme with their intrinsically European nature;

Amendment  25

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(aa) initiatives and events to raise awareness of the rail sector’s capacity to prevent local communities, coastal regions and remote regions from becoming more isolated, instead fostering their integration with more urban and regional areas;

Amendment  26

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a b (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(ab) public awareness-raising campaigns on the potential of the TEN-T to promote cohesion and foster industrial and economic development in regions which are not part of the key networks, where projects and investments should cover the provision of high-quality regional rail transport services and local connections between remote areas and larger urban pathways and ecosystems, in order to boost both modal shift and social cohesion at the same time;

Amendment  27

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a c (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(ac) initiatives which  involve regional and local authorities in discussions on multiannual planning, plans to digitalise and modernise rail infrastructure and widespread improvements in public and private investment in regions where small and medium-sized enterprises  and local economic development could benefit greatly from sustainable, modern and electrified rail services;

Amendment  28

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point b

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(b) information, exhibitions, inspiration, education and awareness-raising campaigns to encourage changes in passenger, consumer and business behaviour and to stimulate an active contribution of the general public to achieving the objectives of more sustainable transport;

(b) information, exhibitions, inspiration, training, education, social work  and awareness-raising campaigns to encourage changes in passenger, consumer and business behaviour, including in the railway industry, and to stimulate an active contribution of the general public to achieving the objectives of more sustainable, innovative, safe and accessible transport, while encouraging people actively to discover Europe;

Amendment  29

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point c

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(c) sharing experience and good practices of national, regional and local authorities, civil society, business and schools on promoting the use of rail and on how to implement behavioural change at all levels;

(c) sharing experience and good practices of national, regional and local authorities, civil society, NGOs, businesses, and trade unions and schools on promoting the safe use of rail and on how to implement behavioural change at all levels of all transport users and employees, and sharing practical, human solutions regarding optimum accessibility for persons with disabilities and the elderly; showcasing Union financial support for railway projects, in particular missing cross-border links, de-centralised approaches and regional connectivity;

Amendment  30

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point d

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(d) the undertaking of studies and innovative activities and the dissemination of their results on a European or national scale; and

(d) the undertaking of studies and innovative activities and the dissemination of their results on a European or national and regional scale, including on a European rail motorways network, the use of green energy for rail infrastructure, and studies to focus on European sources of funding and synergies between them in projects dealing with rail lines, in particular cross-border lines;

Amendment  31

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point e

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(e) the promotion of projects and networks related to the European Year, including via the media, social networks and other on-line communities.

(e) the promotion of interactive communication on projects and networks related to the European Year, including via the media, social networks and other on-line communities.

Amendment  32

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point e a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(ea) regional-level studies and surveys to assess citizens’ needs with regard to rail transport.

Amendment  33

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point e b (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(eb) organise events to promote the historical and cultural heritage of the railways;

Amendment  34

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point e c (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(ec) campaigns to re-establish trust of citizens to use rail public passenger transport;

Amendment  35

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point e d (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(ed) campaigns to diversify the railway sector workforce, by attracting women and young workers in particular;

Amendment  36

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point e e (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(ee) campaigns to promote green solutions which have already been adopted;

Amendment  37

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

1a. The Union shall identify and explore key projects and measures such as:

 

(a) the reactivation and multiplication of local, regional and interregional passenger and freight railway lines, local train stations and connections from local rail lines to high speed and long distance train lines;

 

(b) identification of key projects and measures and promotion at different levels that can help attain the objectives in the long term, such as a European joint effort to encourage investment in rail motorways, terminals and rolling stock as an optimised modal shift option that will contribute to regional cohesion and decarbonisation of freight transport;

 

(c) a European joint effort to reintroduce a network of modern night train lines at affordable prices, that reaches out to all Member States and to neighbouring countries;

 

(d) the development of a unified ticket booking and advantage pass system for European rail enabling consumers to buy a single ticket from any European station to any other, independently of the rail company, with guaranteed passenger rights and at the most advantageous price;

 

(e) sustainable long-term models for free local public transportation;

 

(f) promotion of railways by preferential VAT rates at national level;

 

(g) integrating the goals of green, innovative, digital, safe and accessible railway networks and services into the Union industry strategy, including its role for cohesion, skilled and decent employment and cultural exchange.

Amendment  38

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 2

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. The Union institutions and bodies, as well as the Member States, at Union and national level respectively, may refer to the European Year and make use of its visual identity in promoting the activities referred to in paragraph 1.

2. The Union institutions and bodies, as well as the Member States, at Union and national level respectively, shall refer to the European Year and make use of its visual identity in promoting the activities referred to in paragraph 1, and the Commission shall ensure that at all stages of promotion due reference is made to European Union support for the projects and initiatives funded as part of the European Year.

Amendment  39

Proposal for a decision

Article 4 – paragraph 1

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

The organisation of participation in the European Year at national level is a responsibility of the Member States. To that end, Member States shall appoint national coordinators. The national coordinators shall ensure the coordination of relevant activities at national level.

The organisation of participation in the European Year at national level is a responsibility of the Member States. To that end, Member States shall appoint national coordinators and, where necessary, regional and local sub-coordinators. The national coordinators, in accordance with the sub-coordinators, where one or more are appointed, shall ensure the coordination of relevant activities at national level.

Amendment  40

Proposal for a decision

Article 5 – paragraph 1

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. The Commission shall regularly convene meetings of the national coordinators in order to coordinate the running of the European Year. Those meetings shall also serve as opportunities to exchange information regarding the implementation of the European Year at national and Union level; representatives of the European Parliament may participate in those meetings as observers.

1. The Commission shall regularly convene meetings of the national coordinators, involving regional and local players, in order to coordinate the running of the European Year. Those meetings shall be an opportunity to exchange information regarding the implementation of the European Year at regional, national and Union level; representatives of the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Committee of the Regions shall be invited to participate in those exchanges.

Amendment  41

Proposal for a decision

Article 5 – paragraph 2

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. The coordination of the European Year at Union level shall have a transversal approach with a view to creating synergies between the various Union programmes and initiatives that fund projects in the field of rail transport or that have a rail dimension.

2. The coordination of the European Year at Union level shall have a transversal approach with a view to identifying existing and to creating new and sustainable synergies between the various Union programmes and initiatives that fund projects in the field of rail transport or that have a rail dimension, bearing in mind that additional policy objectives require additional resources rather than mere reallocations.

Amendment  42

Proposal for a decision

Article 5 – paragraph 3 – subparagraph 1

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

The Commission shall convene regular meetings of stakeholders and representatives of organisations or bodies active in the field of rail transport, including existing transnational networks and relevant NGOs, as well as of youth organisations and communities, to assist it in implementing the European Year at Union level.

The Commission shall convene regular meetings of stakeholders and representatives of organisations or bodies active in the field of rail transport, including existing transnational and transregional networks, relevant NGOs, social partners as well as of youth organisations and communities, to assist it in implementing the European Year at Union level.

PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Title

European Year of Rail (2021)

References

COM(2020)0078 – C9-0076/2020 – 2020/0035(COD)

Committee responsible

 Date announced in plenary

TRAN

11.3.2020

 

 

 

Opinion by

 Date announced in plenary

REGI

11.3.2020

Rapporteur

 Date appointed

Martina Michels

11.5.2020

Date adopted

6.7.2020

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

37

0

5

Members present for the final vote

François Alfonsi, Mathilde Androuët, Pascal Arimont, Adrian-Dragoş Benea, Isabel Benjumea Benjumea, Tom Berendsen, Erik Bergkvist, Stéphane Bijoux, Franc Bogovič, Andrea Cozzolino, Corina Crețu, Rosa D’Amato, Tamás Deutsch, Christian Doleschal, Francesca Donato, Raffaele Fitto, Chiara Gemma, Cristian Ghinea, Mircea-Gheorghe Hava, Krzysztof Hetman, Peter Jahr, Manolis Kefalogiannis, Ondřej Knotek, Constanze Krehl, Elżbieta Kruk, Cristina Maestre Martín De Almagro, Pedro Marques, Nora Mebarek, Martina Michels, Niklas Nienaß, Andrey Novakov, Younous Omarjee, Alessandro Panza, Tsvetelina Penkova, Caroline Roose, André Rougé, Susana Solís Pérez, Irène Tolleret, Monika Vana

Substitutes present for the final vote

Vlad-Marius Botoş, Izabela-Helena Kloc, Stefania Zambelli

 

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

37

+

ECR

Raffaele Fitto, Izabela‑Helena Kloc, Elżbieta Kruk

GUE/NGL

Martina Michels, Younous Omarjee

NI

Rosa D’Amato, Chiara Gemma

PPE

Pascal Arimont, Isabel Benjumea Benjumea, Tom Berendsen, Franc Bogovič, Tamás Deutsch, Christian Doleschal, Mircea-Gheorghe Hava, Krzysztof Hetman, Peter Jahr, Manolis Kefalogiannis, Andrey Novakov

RENEW

Stéphane Bijoux, Vlad-Marius Botoş, Cristian Ghinea, Ondrej Knotek, Susana Solís Pérez, Irène Tolleret

S&D

Adrian-Dragoş Benea, Erik Bergkvist, Andrea Cozzolino, Corina Crețu, Constanze Krehl, Cristina Maestre Martín De Almagro, Pedro Marques, Nora Mebarek, Tsvetelina Penkova

VERTS/ALE

François Alfonsi, Niklas Nienaß, Caroline Roose, Monika Vana

 

 

5

0

ID

Mathilde Androuët, Francesca Donato, Alessandro Panza, André Rougé, Stefania Zambelli

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

 : against

0 : abstention

 

 

 

 

 

OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON CULTURE AND EDUCATION (14.7.2020)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a European Year of Rail (2021)

(COM(2020)0078 – C9‑0076/2020 – 2020/0035(COD))

Rapporteur for opinion: Dace Melbārde

 

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

Rail has been important for Europe for well over 150 years, having enabled unparalleled mobility and offering new opportunities for people, increasing trade, helping businesses to grow and contributing towards countries’ economic development. Today, rail is as important as ever, being one of the safest, greenest and most efficient modes of transport. To highlight its importance, including its potential to meet the Union’s climate objectives, the Commission proposes to designate 2021 as the European Year of Rail and to organise the range of communication and civic engagement activities associated with the ‘European Year’ initiative.

Your rapporteur shares the Commission’s view about the significance of rail and its green credentials. Yet, there are additional aspects about this mode of transport that deserve attention.

While efforts to  increase passenger numbers are needed, it is equally important to get the basic network and services in place. Currently, not all continental Member State have rail connections to the rest of Europe or the necessary infrastructure to enable them. A prerequisite for using a train is having the option in the first place. Without being integrated in the European rail network, nearly all sectors of the relevant Member States are at a clear disadvantage. Education, travel and culture are among the most important sectors affected. Regarding education, this has also impacted the uptake of popular EU programmes and initiatives such as Erasmus+ and DisocoverEU. Students from the EU’s peripheral regions and those from disadvantaged backgrounds are often missing out.

For culture and tourism, the situation is similar. Four out of ten Europeans choose their travel destination based on its cultural offering. Cities and regions with better transport infrastructure, including good rail links, stand to benefit. With the continuous hygiene measures in place due to COVID-19, trains will gain in popularity as not only one of the more sustainable and safest options, but often as the only viable and affordable mass transport alternative to air travel, which in turn is anticipated to become much more expensive. In the near future, many potential travellers from the outermost regions of the EU will increasingly miss out on long-distance cultural travel entirely due to prohibitive air travel costs and unavailability of rail in the area. The Year of Rail must draw attention to the above problems and should promote the need for increased geographical coverage of rail.

The Year of Rail should not only focus on travelling and moving of goods and people by rail, but also the historical and present role of trains, railway stations and rail infrastructure. In the past, they have been instrumental in shaping regional traditions and identities and have fostered economic and social development. Today they are a part of Europe’s cultural heritage, which needs to be explored, but also promoted and protected. Train stations are also important catalysts in promoting quality architecture and smart city planning and they serve as places for cultural interactions and artistic expressions. Meanwhile, travelling by train, regardless of the destination, can be an experience in itself and is often a place that facilitates social and cultural interactions.

Learning from the previous European Year, your rapporteur stresses the need for active engagement with a broad range of stakeholders, especially organised civil society, in order not only to make the Year of Rail a success, but also to ensure a lasting policy legacy. In addition to the stakeholders listed in the Commission’s proposal, cultural associations, youth organisations and various education and training establishments have a valuable role to play in promoting the importance and use of rail. Similarly, your rapporteur is of the view that synergies between the various Union programmes and initiatives must transcend the pure rail dimension and include programmes that promote civic engagement such as those in the fields of education, culture and youth. Similarly, the Year of Rail offers an opportunity to build lasting partnerships with rail companies that can help to ensure that the Union’s own mobility programmes, especially Erasmus+, are greener.

Your rapporteur believes in the importance of rail, its social, cultural, environmental and economic value, and its potential to promote and accelerate territorial cohesion across the Union. Rail will play a significant role in helping to meet the climate objectives in line with the European Green Deal and in promoting sustainable growth in the future.

Lastly, your rapporteur acknowledges the evolving situation in Europe due to COVID-19 outbreak and the uncertainty it entails, notably for travel, but also for events, meetings and debates, which are such a key part of the European Year initiative. It remains to be seen whether postponing the start date of the Year of Rail will be a necessity.

 

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Culture and Education calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to take into account the following amendments:

Amendment  1

Proposal for a decision

Recital 1

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(1) In its Communication of 11 December 201915 , the Commission set out a European Green Deal for the European Union and its citizens. The European Green Deal is a new growth strategy that aims to transform the Union into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy where there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use.

(1) In its Communication of 11 December 201915, the Commission set out a European Green Deal for the European Union and its citizens. The European Green Deal is a new sustainable growth strategy that aims to transform the Union into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy where there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use;

__________________

__________________

15 Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 11 December 2019 on the European Green Deal (COM/2019/640 final)

15 Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 11 December 2019 on the European Green Deal (COM/2019/640 final)

 

Amendment  2 

Proposal for a decision

Recital 4

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(4) In line with the objectives set out in the Commission Communication on the European Green Deal, there is a need to transform the Union economy and to rethink policies, in particular in the field of transport and mobility, which implies accelerating the shift to sustainable and smart mobility. Transport accounts for a quarter of the Union’s greenhouse gas emissions, and still growing. To achieve climate neutrality, a 90% reduction in transport emissions is needed by 2050. Achieving sustainable transport means putting users first and providing them with more affordable, accessible, healthier and cleaner alternatives to their current mobility habits. The European Green Deal implies to accelerate the shift to sustainable and smart mobility to address these challenges. In particular, a substantial part of the 75% of inland freight carried today by road should shift onto rail and inland waterways.

(4) In line with the objectives set out in the Commission Communication on the European Green Deal, there is a need to transform the Union economy and to rethink policies, in particular in the field of transport and mobility. Emissions from transport continue to grow, accounting for a quarter of the Union’s greenhouse gas emissions, with urban transport responsible for a significant share. To achieve climate neutrality, a 90% reduction in transport emissions is needed by 2050. Achieving sustainable transport requires putting users first and providing them with more affordable, universally accessible, healthier and cleaner alternatives to their current urban and interurban mobility habits. The European Green Deal therefore implies accelerating the shift to sustainable and smart mobility and the transition to zero net emissions. A substantial part of the 75% of inland freight carried today by road should also shift onto rail and inland waterways;

Amendment  3

 

Proposal for a decision

Recital 5

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(5) Rail has a significant role to play as a game changer to achieve the climate neutrality objective by 2050. It is one of the most environmentally friendly and energy-efficient transport modes. Rail is largely electrified and emits far less CO2 than equivalent travel by road or air, and is the only mode that has consistently reduced its greenhouse gas emissions and CO2 emissions since 1990. In addition, rail has decreased its energy consumption between 1990-201618 and increasingly uses renewable energy sources.

(5) Rail has a significant role to play in achieving the Union’s climate neutrality objective by 2050. It is one of the most environmentally friendly and energy-efficient transport modes. Rail is largely electrified and is responsible for just 0.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions17a from transport, far less CO2 than equivalent travel by road or air, and is the only mode that has consistently reduced its greenhouse gas emissions and CO2 emissions since 1990. In addition, rail has decreased its energy consumption between 1990-201618 and increasingly uses renewable energy sources;

__________________

__________________

 

17a European Commission Press Corner “2021: The European Year of Rail” (source: Eurostat, EU28 – 2017″

18 DG MOVE Statistical Pocketbook 2019 “EU transport in figures” (source: Eurostat)

18 DG MOVE Statistical Pocketbook 2019 “EU transport in figures” (source: Eurostat)

Amendment  4

 

Proposal for a decision

Recital 6

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(6) By connecting the Union’s main transport routes with its peripheral regions and territories, the rail sector contributes to social, economic and territorial cohesion.

(6) Many Member States still do not have effective links to the European rail network or the necessary infrastructure to enable them. By connecting the Union’s main and secondary transport routes with its peripheral regions and territories, the rail sector can do more to contribute to social, economic and territorial cohesion and enable the people of Europe to discover the continent and foster cultural exchange. Where railway links are absent or in development, intermodal connections, for example with shuttle bus services, can help to improve access to many peripheral regions and territories;

Amendment  5 

Proposal for a decision

Recital 6 a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(6a) Rail also has an important role to play in supporting the post-COVID-19 economic recovery by simultaneously driving the green and the digital transitions. Investment in high-speed rail links can improve economic efficiency, for example by reducing commuting time for workers or travel time for tourists. Investment in WI-FI provision in trains can equally boost productivity and enhance the travel experience. There is a need to establish missing cross-border links, reactivate disused lines, reinstate night-train services, improve and modernise rail infrastructure and rolling stock and enhance intermodal connections. The Union’s recovery plan and multiannual financial framework for the period 2021-2027 will need to allocate the necessary funding to drive the required investment in rail;

Amendment  6

 

Proposal for a decision

Recital 6 b (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(6b) Greater use of rail transport can play an important role in encouraging a healthy lifestyle and improving safety. Train travel can be easily combined with walking and cycling, while time spent on a train rather than in a car could reduce exposure to pollution and stress levels. Train travel is also a safe means of transport.;

 

Amendment  7

 

Proposal for a decision

Recital 7

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(7) While the share of passenger rail in the Union land transport has only slightly increased since 2007, the share of freight has decreased. Many obstacles remain to achieve a true Single European Rail Area, including in respect of the need to minimise noise. Overcoming these obstacles together with cost reduction and accelerated innovation will allow rail to realise its full potential. Rail therefore needs a further boost to become more attractive to travellers and businesses alike.

(7) While the share of passenger rail in the Union land transport has only slightly increased since 2007, the share of freight has decreased. Many obstacles remain to achieve a true Single European Rail Area. Such obstacles have a significant impact on the competitiveness and attractiveness of rail transport and they include different levels of infrastructure access charges, barriers to rolling stock being entered into service and diverging control systems and operating regulations. The attractiveness of rail transport is further diminished by a lack of accessibility for people with disabilities, high ticketing prices in some countries and excessive noise. Overcoming the various obstacles together with cost reduction and accelerated innovation will allow rail to realise its full potential across the Union. Rail therefore needs a further boost to become more attractive, affordable and accessible to travellers, especially young people, and businesses alike;

Amendment  8

 

Proposal for a decision

Recital 7 a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(7a) Trains, railway stations and rail infrastructure have a societal role that goes far beyond their prime technical purpose, since they have historically been instrumental in shaping regional traditions and identities and fostering economic and social development. Today, railway stations and rail infrastructure are important catalysts in promoting quality architecture, sustainable development and smart city planning. They also represent important industrial cultural heritage in their own right. Railway stations today play a dual role: they are not only transport hubs, but also important platforms for information campaigns and educational, cultural and social projects and therefore key places in the local community. Furthermore, travelling by train can be an experience in and of itself, facilitating social and cultural interaction and exchange;

Amendment  9

 

Proposal for a decision

Recital 7 b (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(7b) Formal and non-formal education play a vital role in improving understanding of the importance and value of rail and in encouraging people to use rail transport. Active engagement with educational establishments, especially with schools, can help to boost rail use. Educational establishments can also be encouraged to learn from each other to develop curricula that enable learning about the historical, technical and environmental aspects of rail transport and to promote the use of rail for school trips and educational exchanges;

Amendment  10

 

Proposal for a decision

Recital 7 c (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(7c) The Union should ensure that its own transnational mobility programmes, including in the fields of education and training, research, culture and youth, in particular Erasmus+, the European Solidarity Corps and Creative Europe, should, wherever possible, prioritise rail as the chosen means of transport. Access to affordable rail services can help support efforts to make the programmes more inclusive by expanding geographical and socioeconomic coverage. As exemplified by the short-term mobility scheme allowing young people to explore the European Union, #DiscoverEU, partnerships between the Commission and rail operators can effectively promote sustainable mobility within Union programmes and thereby potentially bring about a changes in people’s habits;

 

Amendment  11

Proposal for a decision

Recital 7 d (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(7d) Previous experience with the ‘European Year’ has demonstrated that effective engagement with the initiative can be achieved by developing synergies with other relevant Union programmes, notably in the fields of education and training, culture and youth. Such programmes foster learning, communication and active citizenship and can therefore help support the European Year, for example through relevant education projects under Erasmus+ or cultural projects under Creative Europe with a rail theme. Similarly, the European Year can encourage greener mobility choices within the programmes. Past experience has also made clear that active engagement with a broad range of stakeholders, especially organised civil society, can help to ensure a lasting policy legacy;

Amendment  12

 

Proposal for a decision

Recital 8

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(8) In order to promote rail transport in line with the objectives set out in the Commission Communication on the European Green Deal, including with regard to sustainable and smart mobility, the year 2021 should be designated as European Year of Rail. 2021 will be an important year for the Union rail policy, it will be the first full year where the rules agreed under the Fourth Railway Package will be implemented throughout the Union, namely on the opening of the market of domestic passenger services and on reducing costs and administrative burden for railway undertakings operating across the Union. There is a growing public interest in railways, including in night trains, in a number of Member States, as also illustrated by the popularity of #DiscoverEU. Moreover, the international arts festival ‘Europalia’ will dedicate its 2021 edition to the influence of railways on the arts and highlight the role of rail as a powerful promotor of social, economic and industrial change.

(8) In order to promote rail transport in line with the objectives set out in the Commission Communication on the European Green Deal, including with regard to sustainable and smart mobility, the year 2021 should be designated as European Year of Rail. 2021 will be an important year for the Union rail policy, it will be the first full year where the rules agreed under the Fourth Railway Package will be implemented throughout the Union, namely on the opening of the market of domestic passenger services and on reducing costs and administrative burden for railway undertakings operating across the Union. There is a growing public interest in railways, including, in those Member States with such services, in night trains, as also illustrated by the popularity of #DiscoverEU. Moreover, the 2021 theme for the international arts festival ‘Europalia’, set to start in October 2021, will be trains, highlighting both not only the heritage, but also the influence of railways on the arts and highlight the role of rail as a powerful promotor of social, economic and industrial change;

Amendment  13

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – introductory part

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

The objective of the European Year shall be to encourage and support the efforts of the Union, the Member States, regional and local authorities, and other organisations to increase the share of passengers and freight moving by rail. In particular, the European Year shall

The objective of the European Year shall be to encourage and support the efforts of the Union, the Member States, regional and local authorities, other organisations and relevant stakeholders to promote the historical, present and future importance of rail for Europe and the development of the railways as the key plank of the Union’s sustainable transport and mobility policy by increasing the share of passengers and freight moving by rail. In particular, the European Year shall

Amendment  14

 

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point a

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) promote rail as a sustainable, innovative and safe mode of transport, in particular by highlighting the role of rail as a game changer to help reaching the Union’s climate neutrality objective by 2050 and by reaching out to the wider public, especially youth;

(a) promote the value of rail as a sustainable, innovative, safe, convenient and affordable mode of transport, in particular by highlighting the role of rail as a territorial cohesion tool and a potential game-changer to help achieve the Union’s climate-neutrality objective by 2050, and by reaching out the wider public, especially young people and senior citizens;

Amendment  15

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point b

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(b) highlight the European, cross-border dimension of rail, that brings citizens closer together, allows them to explore the Union in all its diversity, fosters cohesion and contributes to integrate the Union internal market;

(b) highlight the European, cross-border dimension of rail, which brings citizens closer together, fosters cohesion and contributes to the development of the Union’s internal market, while also drawing attention to disparities in rail infrastructure across Member States and to the importance of developing rail connections to improve mobility options for all Union citizens;

Amendment  16

 

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point c

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(c) enhance the contribution of rail to Union economy, industry and society, covering in particular aspects related to regional development, industrial competitiveness, sustainable tourism, innovation, employment, education, youth and culture, and improving accessibility for persons with disabilities;

(c) enhance the contribution of rail to the economy, society and industrial competitiveness of the Union, by showcasing and strengthening links with regional development, cross-border cohesion, the silver economy, innovation, employment, education, youth, culture and sport, and with specific focus on accessibility for persons with disabilities and reduced mobility;

Amendment  17

 

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point c a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(ca) promote rail as the preferred mode of transport for participants in the Union’s mobility programmes for education and training, research, youth, sport and culture, by developing incentive schemes and initiatives to improve accessibility and affordability in particular for people with fewer opportunities;

Amendment  18

 

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point c b (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(cb) promote rail as a more environmentally-friendly travel option that can replace mid-distance and short-haul flights, drive down the environmental impact of tourism-related transport, enable more sustainable tourism and allow people to explore the Union in all its diversity;

Amendment  19

Proposal for a decision

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point c c (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(cc) highlight the value of trains, railway stations and rail infrastructure as an integral part of the Union’s industrial cultural heritage that needs to be protected and promoted and foster sustainable cultural tourism, building links with the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage;

Amendment  20

 

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) initiatives and events to promote debate, raise awareness and facilitate citizens, businesses and public authorities‘ engagement to attract more people and goods to rail as a means to combat climate change, through multiple channels and tools, including events in Member States;

(a) initiatives to promote debate, raise awareness and engage with citizens, organised civil society, businesses, public authorities and other relevant stakeholders to attract more people and goods to rail as a means to combat climate change by promoting sustainable travel and tourism and links with other environmentally-friendly modes of transport like bicycles and by fostering cultural exchange through multiple channels and tools, including events in Member States;

Amendment  21

 

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point b

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(b) information, exhibitions, inspiration, education and awareness-raising campaigns to encourage changes in passenger, consumer and business behaviour and to stimulate an active contribution of the general public to achieving the objectives of more sustainable transport;

(b) information, education and awareness-raising campaigns, including online, and exhibitions to inspire greater use of rail, including via the existing night-train network, to encourage changes in passenger, consumer and business understanding and to stimulate an active contribution of the general public to achieving the objectives of more sustainable, accessible, affordable and safer transport;

Amendment  22

 

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point b a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(ba) campaigns and the sharing of best practices to encourage people to use the train to discover Europe and its cultural heritage, including the railways as part of Europe’s industrial cultural heritage, and to promote cultural and sports events that are accessible by train, as well as projects funded by Creative Europe where trains are the location and core of the project;

Amendment  23

 

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point b b (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(bb) the development of partnerships and incentive schemes with rail operators, including in third countries, to support sustainable and affordable transport solutions for participants in the Union’s mobility programmes, in particular Erasmus+, Creative Europe and the European Solidarity Corps;

Amendment  24

 

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point c

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(c) sharing experience and good practices of national, regional and local authorities, civil society, business and schools on promoting the use of rail and on how to implement behavioural change at all levels;

(c) sharing experience and good practices of national, regional and local authorities, civil society, social partners, businesses, including tour operators, schools, other education and training establishments, cultural associations, youth organisations and other relevant stakeholders on promoting the importance and use of rail and on how to encourage behavioural change at all levels;

Amendment  25

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point d

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(d) the undertaking of studies and innovative activities and the dissemination of their results on a European or national scale; and

(d) the undertaking of studies and innovative activities and the dissemination of their results on a European, national or regional scale; and

Amendment  26

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point e

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(e) the promotion of projects and networks related to the European Year, including via the media, social networks and other on-line communities.

(e) the promotion of projects and networks related to the European Year, in particular the Europalia festival, including via the media, social networks and other online communities, so as to reach as wide an audience as possible;

Amendment  27

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 2

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. The Union institutions and bodies, as well as the Member States, at Union and national level respectively, may refer to the European Year and make use of its visual identity in promoting the activities referred to in paragraph 1.

2. The Union institutions and bodies, as well as the Member States, at Union and national level respectively, shall refer to the European Year and make use of its visual identity in promoting the activities referred to in paragraph 1 and shall, at all stages of promotion, make due reference to Union support for projects and initiatives funded as part of the European Year;

Amendment  28

 

Proposal for a decision

Article 4 – paragraph 1

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

The organisation of participation in the European Year at national level is a responsibility of the Member States. To that end, Member States shall appoint national coordinators. The national coordinators shall ensure the coordination of relevant activities at national level.

In order to ensure the coordination of relevant activities for the European Year at national level, Member States shall appoint national coordinators. The national coordinators shall be appointed on the basis of their expertise and proven commitment to the development of rail.

Amendment  29

 

Proposal for a decision

Article 5 – paragraph 1

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. The Commission shall regularly convene meetings of the national coordinators in order to coordinate the running of the European Year. Those meetings shall also serve as opportunities to exchange information regarding the implementation of the European Year at national and Union level; representatives of the European Parliament may participate in those meetings as observers.

1. The Commission shall regularly convene meetings of the national coordinators in order to coordinate the running of the European Year. Those meetings shall also serve as opportunities to exchange information and best practices regarding the implementation of the European Year at national and Union level; representatives of the European Parliament shall be invited to those meetings as observers.

Amendment  30

 

Proposal for a decision

Article 5 – paragraph 2

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. The coordination of the European Year at Union level shall have a transversal approach with a view to creating synergies between the various Union programmes and initiatives that fund projects in the field of rail transport or that have a rail dimension.

2. The coordination of the European Year at Union level shall have a cross-cutting approach with a view to creating sustainable synergies between the various Union programmes and initiatives that fund projects in the field of rail transport, have a rail dimension or promote civic engagement, such as programmes in the fields of education and training, culture and youth.

 

Amendment  31

 

Proposal for a decision

Article 5 – paragraph 3 – subparagraph 1

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

The Commission shall convene regular meetings of stakeholders and representatives of organisations or bodies active in the field of rail transport, including existing transnational networks and relevant NGOs, as well as of youth organisations and communities, to assist it in implementing the European Year at Union level.

The Commission shall convene regular meetings of stakeholders and representatives of organisations or bodies active in the field of rail transport, including existing transnational and transregional networks and relevant NGOs, as well as of youth organisations, cultural associations and education and training stakeholders to assist it in implementing the European Year at Union level.

Amendment  32

 

Proposal for a decision

Article 5 – paragraph 3 – subparagraph 2

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

The Commission may, budget allowing, organise calls for proposals and projects that can receive support for their outstanding contribution to the objectives of the year.

The Commission may organise calls for proposals and projects that can receive support for their outstanding contribution to the objectives of the year.

Amendment  33

 

Proposal for a decision

Article 6 – paragraph 1

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

For the purpose of the European Year, where necessary, the Commission shall cooperate with competent international organisations, while ensuring the visibility of the Union’s participation.

For the purpose of the European Year, where necessary, the Commission shall cooperate with relevant international organisations, including in the fields of culture and education, and with relevant authorities in neighbouring countries, while ensuring the visibility of the Union’s participation.

 

Amendment  34

 

Proposal for a decision

Article 6 a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Article 6a

 

Budget

 

The financial envelope for the implementation of this Decision for the period from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2022 shall be EUR 8 million.

 

The annual appropriations shall be authorised by the European Parliament and the Council within the limits of the multiannual financial framework.

 

Amendment  35

 

Proposal for a decision

Article 7 – paragraph 1

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

By 31 December 2022, the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation, results and overall assessment of the initiatives provided for in this Decision.

By 31 December 2022, the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation, results and overall assessment of the initiatives provided for in this Decision. The report shall also include any relevant policy or legislative proposals to follow up on the European Year.

 

 

PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Title

European Year of Rail (2021)

References

COM(2020)0078 – C9-0076/2020 – 2020/0035(COD)

Committee responsible

 Date announced in plenary

TRAN

11.3.2020

 

 

 

Opinion by

 Date announced in plenary

CULT

11.3.2020

Rapporteur

 Date appointed

Dace Melbārde

30.4.2020

Discussed in committee

6.7.2020

 

 

 

Date adopted

13.7.2020

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

28

0

2

Members present for the final vote

Asim Ademov, Christine Anderson, Andrea Bocskor, Vlad-Marius Botoş, Ilana Cicurel, Gilbert Collard, Gianantonio Da Re, Laurence Farreng, Tomasz Frankowski, Romeo Franz, Alexis Georgoulis, Hannes Heide, Irena Joveva, Petra Kammerevert, Niyazi Kizilyürek, Predrag Fred Matić, Dace Melbārde, Victor Negrescu, Niklas Nienaß, Peter Pollák, Marcos Ros Sempere, Domènec Ruiz Devesa, Andrey Slabakov, Massimiliano Smeriglio, Michaela Šojdrová, Sabine Verheyen, Milan Zver

Substitutes present for the final vote

Isabel Benjumea Benjumea, Marcel Kolaja

Substitutes under Rule 209(7) present for the final vote

Angel Dzhambazki

 

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

 

28

+

PPE

Asim Ademov, Isabel Benjumea Benjumea, Andrea Bocskor, Tomasz Frankowski, Peter Pollák, Michaela Šojdrová, Sabine Verheyen, Milan Zver

S&D

Hannes Heide, Petra Kammerevert, Predrag Fred Matić, Victor Negrescu, Marcos Ros Sempere, Domènec Ruiz Devesa, Massimiliano Smeriglio

RENEW

Vlad-Marius Botoş, Ilana Cicurel, Laurence Farreng, Irena Joveva

ID

Gilbert Collard

VERTS/ALE

Romeo Franz, Marcel Kolaja, Niklas Nienaß

ECR

Angel Dzhambazki, Dace Melbārde, Andrey Slabakov

GUE/NGL

Alexis Georgoulis, Niyazi Kizilyürek

 

 

2

0

ID

Christine Anderson, Gianantonio Da Re

 

PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Title

European Year of Rail (2021)

References

COM(2020)0078 – C9-0076/2020 – 2020/0035(COD)

Date submitted to Parliament

4.3.2020

 

 

 

Committee responsible

 Date announced in plenary

TRAN

11.3.2020

 

 

 

Committees asked for opinions

 Date announced in plenary

ENVI

11.3.2020

ITRE

11.3.2020

REGI

11.3.2020

CULT

11.3.2020

Not delivering opinions

 Date of decision

ENVI

2.6.2020

ITRE

3.4.2020

 

 

Rapporteurs

 Date appointed

Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg

6.5.2020

 

 

 

Discussed in committee

23.6.2020

24.9.2020

 

 

Date adopted

12.10.2020

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

45

0

2

Members present for the final vote

Andris Ameriks, José Ramón Bauzá Díaz, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Marco Campomenosi, Ciarán Cuffe, Jakop G. Dalunde, Johan Danielsson, Andor Deli, Karima Delli, Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg, Ismail Ertug, Gheorghe Falcă, Giuseppe Ferrandino, Mario Furore, Søren Gade, Isabel García Muñoz, Elsi Katainen, Kateřina Konečná, Elena Kountoura, Julie Lechanteux, Bogusław Liberadzki, Benoît Lutgen, Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Tilly Metz, Giuseppe Milazzo, Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar, Caroline Nagtegaal, Jan-Christoph Oetjen, Philippe Olivier, Rovana Plumb, Dominique Riquet, Dorien Rookmaker, Massimiliano Salini, Barbara Thaler, István Ujhelyi, Petar Vitanov, Elissavet Vozemberg-Vrionidi, Lucia Vuolo, Roberts Zīle

Substitutes present for the final vote

Angel Dzhambazki, Markus Ferber, Tomasz Frankowski, Roman Haider, Anne-Sophie Pelletier, Markus Pieper, Marianne Vind

Date tabled

14.10.2020

 

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

45

+

ECR

Angel Dzhambazki, Roberts Zīle

GUE/NGL

Kateřina Konečná, Elena Kountoura, Anne‑Sophie Pelletier

ID

Marco Campomenosi, Roman Haider, Lucia Vuolo

NI

Mario Furore, Dorien Rookmaker

PPE

Andor Deli, Gheorghe Falcă, Markus Ferber, Tomasz Frankowski, Benoît Lutgen, Marian‑Jean Marinescu, Giuseppe Milazzo, Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar, Markus Pieper, Massimiliano Salini, Barbara Thaler, Elissavet Vozemberg‑Vrionidi, Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska

RENEW

José Ramón Bauzá Díaz, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Søren Gade, Elsi Katainen, Caroline Nagtegaal, Jan‑Christoph Oetjen, Dominique Riquet

S&D

Andris Ameriks, Johan Danielsson, Ismail Ertug, Giuseppe Ferrandino, Isabel García Muñoz, Bogusław Liberadzki, Rovana Plumb, István Ujhelyi, Marianne Vind, Petar Vitanov

VERTS/ALE

Ciarán Cuffe, Jakop G. Dalunde, Karima Delli, Anna Deparnay‑Grunenberg, Tilly Metz

 

 

2

0

ID

Julie Lechanteux, Philippe Olivier

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

 : against

0 : abstention

 

 

[1] OJ C…(not yet published in the Official Journal).

[2] OJ C…(not yet published in the Official Journal).

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