EU Rail Supply Industry Urges Policymakers to #VoteForRail

The European Rail Supply Industry has presented an ambitious and forward-looking agenda to the 2024-2029 EU policymakers, emphasizing the importance of climate solutions, skills, innovation, better regulation, and gender equity in driving the growth and sustainability of the European rail sector. The industry’s priorities have been outlined in the document “On the move to a Net-Zero EU,” released as part of the #VoteForRail campaign by UNIFE, the association representing the European rail supply industry.

Central to the industry’s agenda is the call for substantial private and public funding to support the rail sector’s transition to a net-zero industry, with an emphasis on completing existing rail projects and environmental transitions. The industry has highlighted the need for approximately €47 billion per year to fully complete the TEN-T Core rail network by 2030, which could potentially create tens of thousands of net-zero jobs across European rail supply chains.

UNIFE’s agenda for the next legislative cycle urges EU policymakers to prioritize the following key areas:

  • Prioritizing the net-zero industry in the European Commission’s 5-year programme and enhancing rail supply competitiveness while reducing administrative burdens for companies
  • Aligning European transport trends with the objectives of the European Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and promoting a modal shift for passenger and freight transport
  • Increasing financial support for rail as part of strategic investments to address climate challenges and advocating for a level playing field in the EU procurement market
  • Streamlining the European rail technical and regulatory framework to facilitate the deployment of rail solutions
  • Emphasizing the importance of digitalization and cybersecurity in the rail sector to maintain competitiveness
  • Advocating for open and fair international markets and a coherent EU strategy in third-country project financing to support the European Rail Supply Industry
  • Supporting European rail research and innovation to enhance industry competitiveness
  • Enhancing support for rail supply jobs and talent attraction, particularly focusing on increasing female representation in the sector

The industry’s manifesto acknowledges the increased interest in the rail supply industry during the 2019-2024 legislative mandate, recognizing the strategic nature of rail and its potential environmental and economic benefits. However, it also highlights challenges such as supply chain disruptions, policy tensions, and competition from Asian markets, particularly China.

UNIFE Director General Philippe Citroën emphasized the pivotal role of the rail supply industry in Europe’s transition to a net-zero future, stressing the need for better regulation and a focus on upskilling and training the next generation of workers. He stated that the industry’s positive plan provides detailed policy suggestions to address Europe’s climate transition, skills development, strategic autonomy, and innovation.

In conclusion, the European Rail Supply Industry’s ambitious agenda aims to position rail as a key player in Europe’s sustainable and prosperous future, emphasizing the need for comprehensive support from policymakers and voters to realize this vision.