On March 29, Pedro Nuno Santos, the Minister for Infrastructure and Housing of Portugal which is holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and Adina Vălean, the European Commissioner for Transport organise a conference to officially kick-off the European Year of Rail initiative together.
The virtual conference will be livestreamed from Lisbon on the eve of the ministerial informal Council meeting dedicated to rail transport.
The includes contributions from Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg, MEP and rapporteur on the European Year of Rail, Karima Delli, Chair of the Parliament’s TRAN Committee, Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, and Stientje van Veldhoven, the Netherlands’ State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management.
Watch live the official kick-off of the European Year of Rail
High-level representatives from the European rail sector will also join panel discussions on key topics for the future of rail transport.
The event will be open to all, from rail professionals to train enthusiasts. The launch event for the European Year of Rail is a unique opportunity to debate the benefits of rail for travellers, the economy and the climate, as well as the challenges facing the creation of a true single European rail transport space without borders.
In March 2020, the European Commission has proposed the initiative to promote the railway transport and its abitily to decarnonise the European transport sector which will support the delivery of the Green Deal objectives in the transport field. In November, the Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on designating 2021 as the European Year of Rail. In December, the Council has adopted the initiative.
Rail is the most sustainable transport mode and is the only mode of transport which has reduced its emissions, while increasing passenger and freight volumes and improving its energy efficiency. By 2030, the railway sector is committed to reduce by 30 percent the total CO2 emissions for passenger and freight transport.
The European Commission has published the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy which will transform the EU transport system and will support the achievement of the European Green Deal, relying on railways.