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European rail industry discuss future leadership of global supply market

15 October 2015  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

European rail industry leaders have met with stakeholders and EU decision makers to discuss maintaining Europe’s leadership of the global rail supply market.

European rail industry discuss future leadership of global supply market

Image: UNIFE

Industry leaders gathered to discuss an ambitious future resolution of the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Industry (ITRE) Committee on the competitiveness of the European rail supply industry. The event encouraged dialogue on methods to maintain world leadership of global market rail supplies following increased competition from Asia. The resulting discussion concluded a need for the European rail supply industry to work together with EU leaders to enhance its global competitiveness and ensure fair market conditions for its products in both the home European market and abroad.

According to joint event organisers UNIFE (the European Rail Industry Association), speakers highlighted the need for both industry and European leaders to act quickly and take measures to strengthen the industry by fostering research and innovation in rail and improve the skills and training of the rail supply work force. There is also the need to enhance the internal EU market for rail supplies, ensuring fair market access to European rail suppliers abroad and boosting export potential.  Improving the business environment for rail supply SMEs is also required as well as stimulating the demand for rail projects both domestically and abroad through pro-rail policies, financial instruments and funds.

European rail industry to work together with EU leaders to enhance global competitiveness

Dr Lutz Bertling, Chairman of UNIFE and President of Bombardier Transportation, said: “With a history of more than 175 years, the rail supply industry is a backbone to European industrialisation and economic development. It has catered to European integration by connecting European states and citizens in an environmentally friendly way. Today, our industry is more dynamic, innovative and important to the European economy than ever before. We are now at a pivotal moment where the industrial competition from Asia, and especially China and Japan, is becoming increasingly intense. As such, UNIFE particularly welcomes the decision of the European Parliament’s ITRE Committee to prepare an official Resolution on the competitiveness of European rail supply manufacturers.”

Ms Martina Werner, Member of the European Parliament and rapporteur for the ITRE Committee’s Resolution on the Competitiveness of the European rail supply industry, stated, “If we want to ensure the long-term competitiveness of the rail supply industry, we need to think more European. This concerns all actors: companies, operators, politicians. We should concentrate on investments in sustainable and interoperable technologies as well as in rail infrastructure and on cooperation of stakeholders, where cooperation has an added value.”

Mr Mark Weinmeister, Secretary of State for European Affairs of the State of Hessen, concluded: “The Commission should support the industrial sector with the same emphasis as it promotes the freedom of services for consumers and it should particularly have an eye on better framework conditions for manufacturing enterprises.”

The drafted Resolution is expected to continue throughout 2015 with the European rail industry aiming for adoption by the European Parliament during the first semester of 2016. The industry believes the Resolution will be a first step towards a cross-sectoral, European industrial strategy for European rail supply manufacturers.

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