UNIFE General Assembly held in Warsaw between 20 and 22 June 2018, gathered 220 leaders of the European rail industry, an edition with huge opportunity for EU rail suppliers and decision-makers to address the current challenges that the industry must face.
For this event, UNIFE organised two panel discussions to tackle some of the most pressing and crucial rail-related topics in and outside of Europe, and to discuss how the European Commission and Members States can work hand-in-hand to promote the use of rail and to safeguard Europe’s industrial worldwide position.
During the event, UNIFE Director General Philippe Citroën valued the strong presence of industry CEOs and high-level speakers from the European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Investment Bank (EIB), Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking, the European Union Agency for Railways and the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure. “This clearly demonstrates how strategic our industry is in the eyes of European decision-makers” he said.
Among the discussed topics, Shift2Rail was definitely one of the most predominant. Carlo Borghini, Executive Director of the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking explained the importance of Shift2Rail 2, which is the extension post-2020 of Shift2Rail, for the competitiveness and innovation of rail in the EU. Shift2Rail’s vision is to “deliver, through railway research and innovation, the capabilities to bring the most sustainable, cost-efficient, high-performing, time driven, digital and competitive and customer-driven transport mode for Europe,” Borghini said.
Commenting on a strong needed investment for Shift2Rail, which will foster the European rail industry’s competitiveness, Member of the European Parliament Martina Werner said that “EUR 100 billion for Horizon Europe is not enough. We need more”.
ERTMS, the Human capital, Public procurement and International Market Access, and the 4th Railway Package were the other important topics discussed at the UNIFE General Assembly in Warsaw.
At the event, Sabrina Soussan, CEO of Siemens Mobility, was elected as the new UNIFE Chair. “As Chair of UNIFE, I can assure you that we will continue to advocate for strong EU measures. Our strategy will target three strategic priorities: Promoting innovation, through an extension of Shift2Rail beyond 2020. Improving business conditions, through the new Authorisation regime, and stimulating investment, by using EU funding & financing opportunities,” Soussan said.
During its Statutory meeting, UNIFE officially accepted 16 new members into the association.