The Community of European Railways and Infrastructure Companies (CER) has urged the European Commission, European Parliament and member states to agree to a strong European Green Deal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

CER represents the interests of its members in EU policy-making. It said that the EU should implement different strategies such as ‘user pays’ and ‘polluter pays’ to achieve the goal.

In its paper titled ‘Rail’s priorities for the European Green Deal’, CER suggested that concerned authorities should set realistic milestones for decarbonising EU transport and asked the EU to aid the rail sector in increasing its contribution to the project.

It advised placing an emphasis on shifting towards using rail as a mode of transport, as well as enforcing marginal social-cost pricing in the transport sector. CER argued that the funding allocated to the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) should be increased, including funds for rail electrification, digitalisation, reduction of freight noise, innovation and research.

CER also called for ‘robust carbon pricing for transport’ across the continent. It stated that the energy used by the aviation and maritime industry should be taxed and subsidies for flying removed.

Instead, CER wants the EU to ‘waive part of rail track access charges, reduce the customs guarantee burden for rail freight, promote sustainable tourism and improve transport eco-labelling to help travellers and shippers to make well-informed choices’.

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By GlobalData

CER executive director Libor Lochman commented: “European railways warmly welcome the plan of the incoming European Commission for a European Green Deal to support the EU’s transition to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.

“As the existing green mode of motorised transport, rail can make a key contribution to this transition with a modal shift to clean transport. They are today making concrete proposals on how the deal can support their contribution. CER stands ready to engage with policymakers to help the European Green Deal deliver clean mobility for all.”