MEPs belonging to the Transport Committee have achieved a almost unanimous agreement to boost international merchandise between countries of the European Union. They will appeal to the European Commission to improve aspects related to the interoperability of the different national rail networks to avoid long waits at borderswhere trains must stop to meet the requirements of the administrator of the next country, some of them excessive, according to community representatives.
The proposal sets a maximum time of 15 minutes for border rail crossings and slot allocation so that the goods cross the international crossings without waiting, mainly at night. The 44 members of the commission, belonging to all the political forces with European representation, unanimously supported the plan. Now it will be the plenary session of the European Parliament that, next week, supports the measure. Subsequently, a period of conversations will be opened with the different countries to fix it in European legislation and transpose it into national laws.
“Everyone talks about switching transport to rail, but while cars, trucks or planes can cross the EU borders without any problem, trains, especially freight trains, are forced to stop at borders, sometimes for hoursto adapt to the requirements of the different member states”, claimed co-rapporteur Barbara Thaler, from the European People’s Party.
Penalize if necessary
The demands of the MEPs also involve ensuring that the basic transport network (TEN-T network) is completed by 2030, eliminating bottlenecks, executing the necessary links and giving more power to the 11 countries that will act as European coordinators of the network. . This network must be fully electrified for passenger trains at minimum speeds of 160 km/h and for freight at 100 km/h.
In addition, they have suggested including a later milestone for the year 2040 that guarantees the implementation and execution of the integral transport network, which must be completed in 2050. In the event that the countries do not comply with their obligations, they have suggested to the European Commission that establishes a legal framework that allows open infringement proceedings and even reduce or cancel the planned funding to run these large infrastructures.
The Transport Committee has also shown its absolute predilection for fixing technical and operational standards common to each mode of transport, preventing situations such as those that Spain and France maintain today, with continuous discussions about the entry of their operators into the neighboring country. “It’s ambitious, but necessary if we are to succeed in shifting traffic from highway to rail,” Thaler said.