2021 proposed to be the European Year of Rail

Adina Valean

The Commission proposed on Wednesday to make 2021 the European Year of Rail in order to support the delivery of its European Green Deal objectives in the transport field. A series of events, campaigns and initiatives during the year will promote rail as a sustainable, innovative and safe mode of transport. It will highlight its benefits for people, the economy and the climate. The Commission's proposal now needs to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.

"There's no doubt that railway transport means huge benefits in most areas: sustainability, safety, speed, once it's organised and engineered according to 21st century principles. But there's also something more profound about railways: they connect the EU together not only in physical terms. Setting up a coherent and functional network across all Europe is an exercise in political cohesion. The European Year of Rail comes at an appropriate time, when the EU needs this kind of collective undertaking,” Trade Commissioner Adina Valean said.

The European Year of Rail will help to step up the pace of rail modernisation, which is needed to make it a more popular alternative to less sustainable transport modes. 2021 will be the first full year in which the rules agreed under the Fourth Railway Package will be implemented throughout the EU. 2021 also marks several important anniversaries for rail: the 20th anniversary of the first Railway Package, the 175th anniversary of the first ever rail link between two EU capitals (Paris-Brussels), as well as 40 years of TGV and 30 years of ICE.

The international arts festival EUROPALIA has already chosen railways as their 2021 theme, and will be an active contributor to the wide range of activities taking place throughout the European Year of Rail.

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