The European Commissioner responsible for transport, Adina Vălean, has reacted to an open letter from Luxembourg's Minister for Ministry of Mobility and Public Works, François Bausch, in which he called for massive investment to extend the European rail network; the letter was addressed to both the Commissioner and her European counterparts.
Minister Bausch welcomed the fact that the Commissioner fully supports his ideas to promote intra-European rail services and the need to provide the necessary funding. Both politicians agree on the need to speed up the establishment of the trans-European transport network and to focus on the cross-border sections, above anything else, when determining the priorities of the projects to be co-financed. In this vein, the Commissioner has set out some concrete European proposals, which are foreseen for the end of 2021 and for 2022. These include the revision of the regulatory framework for European rail corridors which concern the rail transport of goods and the framework regulation for the TEN-T (Trans-European Transport Network) which defines the criteria that infrastructure projects must meet in order to receive European co-financing.
Minister Bausch is looking forward to the strategy for sustainable and intelligent mobility, which will further detail the focus and measures for rail transport that the Commissioner intends to present by the end of 2020. The Minister announced that Luxembourg will participate positively and constructively in the work to implement this strategy.
The Commissioner has ensured the availability of substantial European funds for the implementation of these projects, in particular through the Connecting Europe Facility programme, as well as on the basis of national projects co-financed by the additional funds released to counter the negative economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis.
The Minister's initiative also focused on an ancillary subject and included a friendly reminder to the Commissioner to devote more effort to the implementation of the European Cycling Strategy, which had been drawn up under the leadership of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council in 2015. Therefore, Minister Bausch confirmed his resolution to continue promoting cycling and active mobility as a real mode of transport on the European scene.
Minister Bausch's aspiration is to turn the a priori damaging situation created by the COVID-19 crisis around in order to make some more profound changes to the transport sector. He believes that the current situation can be seen as an opportunity to make mobility and transportation more sustainable and better prepared to meet the many challenges that lie ahead in the long term, especially the climate challenge.
In this context, the Minister will take part next week in a debate on the future of mobility as part of Shift Mobility at the IFA innovation fair in Berlin.