European Year of Rail 2021 Reaches Provisional Agreement

The Council and the European Parliament have come to a provisional agreement on making 2021 the European Year of Rail.

The EU has chosen a theme every year since 1983 that it wishes to celebrate and highlight in the minds of the public. The proposal for making 2021 the European Year of Rail sits well with the bloc’s climate change objectives set out within the European Green Deal.

Andreas Scheuer, German Transport Minister and Council President, said:

“Rail is the answer to many critical issues in the area of mobility, such as climate neutrality, energy efficiency, crisis resilience and safety. The Year of Rail aims to give a boost to the sector and to encourage more tourists, business people and manufacturers to choose the train.”

When the European Commission first proposed the Year of Rail in March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic had not yet highlighted the crucial role of rail in maintaining crucial transport connections for both people and goods. Rail is therefore not just an environmentally mode of transport, it is a critical one.

The Year of Rail will also aim to highlight the international European dimension of rail and to increase its contribution to the European Union – its economy, industry and society.

Following the provisional agreement reached by the Council and the Parliament, the Commission will now be invited to launch two feasibility studies. The first is to look into the creation of a European label to promote goods transported by rail. The second is to investigate the establishment of a rail connectivity index akin to the one that already exists for air transport. The Commission has until the end of March 2021 to let the Council and the Parliament know about its plans.

The provisional agreement now has to be approved by the Council. The presidency intends to submit the agreement for endorsement by the Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee next week.

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