25 years of CER and EU transport policy: On the right track for a single European railway area?
18 June 2013 • Author: CER
On 17 June, the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) celebrated its 25 years anniversary together with experts from the European rail sector, policy makers and key figures who have contributed to the development of CER and transport policy throughout the last 25 years.
Back in 1988, 14 railway companies felt the need to establish a stronger link with the European institutions following increasingly significant political developments in transport. As a result, CER was founded as an independent group of the International Union of Railways (UIC) with its own offices in Brussels. CER became an independent body in 1996, and the membership grew quickly to its current level of 81 railway undertakings, infrastructure companies and vehicle leasing companies.
Taking the opportunity of the celebrations at the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the EU, CER reiterated its willingness to achieve the development of a single European railway area, effective and resource efficient for the benefits of the whole Europe. While highlighting the successful work done by CER the past 25 years, the speakers took the opportunity to assess the latest steps aimed to establish truly a single European railway area.
European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, used this opportunity to mention that “As an organisation, CER has also grown in influence and importance, even outside the European Union’s borders. From the start, CER’s members have shown their commitment to making the best and most of Europe’s railways. Furthermore he outlined that “Above all, we want to make sure that railways remain an integral and vital part of a sustainable pan-European transport network.”
Representing the European Parliament, MEP Brian Simpson (S&D, UK), Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Transport and Tourism said: “I congratulate CER on this key anniversary date and look forward to CER carrying on its important role in representing the interests of Europe’s rail operators for another 25 years.”
Outlining CER’s milestones over the past 25 years, CER Chairman Mauro Moretti stated: “By establishing in CER a single voice, we made our important topics imperative in the European institutions; in the meanwhile we have grown more and faster in terms of technology, competition and quality of services, areas where legislation has a strong role. It is also up to the influence and ability of this organization that we have achieved high performance and results since the very beginning when in 1991 the European Commission began to regulate the railway sector by adopting the groundwork for the EU rail market functioning. Some European railways succeeded in moving from operating a loss to well-established and profitable companies, many are still struggling, there is still a lot of work to be done, just to mention the issues addressed by the Fourth Railway Package”
CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: “CER, representing the vast majority of EU rail business, has always been at the forefront in helping to shape rail regulation. We will continue working hard to make railways the backbone of the future European transport system. And we are fully aware that we will only be successful when keeping a close dialogue with our members, our partners and all our interlocutors.”