The event held on October 29-30 in Graz was organised by the Austrian presidency of the European Union (EU). While highlighting the EU’s existing mobility, packages, incentives and regulations that support climate-friendly transport, the statement recognises the need to develop “further ambitious policies for clean mobility.”

Generally, the declaration focuses on efforts to introduce cleaner vehicles, develop a strategy for sustainable mobility management and planning in Europe including sharing concepts and cleaner freight logistics, promote active mobility to boost health and sustainability, and to encourage multimodality and a fully integrated transport system. Specifically, for rail, objectives should include completing the TEN-T rail network, increasing the efficiency and attractiveness of rail transport by removing all the barriers to interoperability, and strengthening digitalisation and automation in the sector.

The meeting’s attendees are urging the European Commission to build on the principles and proposed actions included in the document. They are looking for the development and delivery of a comprehensive strategy for and a pathway to sustainable, clean, safe, affordable, and inclusive mobility in Europe through appropriate packages by 2021.

The European Rail Industry Association (Unife), International Union for Road-Rail Combined Transport (UIRR), European Rail Freight Association (Erfa), International Union of Wagon Keepers (UIP), European Rail Infrastructure Managers (EIM), and the Community of European Railways and Infrastructure Managers (CER), say that rail has a central role to play in providing environment and climate-friendly transport and helping Europe meet its sustainability challenges. They say rail remains the best solution for promoting safe, clean and green mobility.

“The European rail sector is committed to delivering a modern rail system that responds to customer needs, providing both quality and cost-effective rail services,” the associations said in a joint statement. “Under pressure from fast-paced technological developments and environmental efforts in other transport modes, the rail sector is determined to maintain rail transport at the forefront of the green agenda and to continuously build on our strong safety record.

“CER, EIM, ERFA, UIP, UIRR and Unife share the view that the Graz Declaration can mark the beginning of a new era of clean, safe, and affordable mobility for the benefit of Europe’s citizens, the environment, and society at large, and reiterate the importance of keeping rail at the heart of national and EU policies for decarbonised and clean transport of the future.”