THE European Rail Supply Industry Association (Unife) has issued a report outlining its policy demands ahead of the European Parliament elections on June 6-9. On the move to a Net-Zero EU sets out Unife’s  key priorities for the 2024-29 legislative cycle.

Unife points out that as rail accounts for just 0.4% of Europe’s total transport greenhouse gas emissions, the railway supply industry is perfectly placed to be a backbone of Europe’s future prosperity as a net-zero industry.

The report identifies private and public-sector funding requirements which are central to ensuring the rail sector achieves net zero, and provides policymakers with calculations to help them meet already-established completion dates for existing rail projects. For example, Unife calculates €47bn per year will be necessary for the full completion of the TEN-T Core rail network by 2030. This level of investment could create tens of thousands of net-zero jobs throughout the European rail supply chain.

Key priorities outlined in the report include:

• prioritising net-zero industry in the five-year programme of the European Commission and boosting rail supply competitiveness and manufacturing, while reducing the administrative burden for companies

• aligning European transport development with the objectives of the European Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and intensifying public policies to trigger  modal shift in passenger and freight transport

•  pursuing and increasing financial support to rail as part of strategic investment to meet the climate change challenge

•  achieving a true European single market for railway systems and the smooth deployment of rail solutions, including simplifying the technical and regulatory framework with swifter and less costly vehicle authorisation, and

•  increasing support at regional, national and European level to increase the attractiveness of the rail supply industry to potential employees and the availability of talent, including targeting more women to join the rail sector.