The European Commission proposes 2021 as the European Year of Rail
The European Commission has proposed that 2021 be the European Year of Railways to contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the European Green Deal in the field of transport. A series of events, campaigns and initiatives will promote rail as a sustainable, innovative and safe mode of transport in 2021.
The proposal, which is part of Europe's green growth strategy, must now be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.
Rail must play a crucial role in
accelerating the reduction of transport emissions, as one of the most
environmentally friendly and energy efficient modes of transport. In fact,
the railroad is largely electrified and emits much less CO2 than equivalent
road or air travel. It is also the only transport that has reduced CO2
emissions almost continuously since 1990 despite increasing transport volumes:
by 2016, it accounted for only 0.5% of CO2 emissions from all modes of
Furthermore, rail represents only 2% of the Union's total energy consumption in transport, while it carried 11.2% of freight and 6.6% of passengers for all modes of transport in 2016. The railway has decreased its energy consumption between 1990-20166 and uses more and more renewable energy sources.
The proposal to declare 2021 "European Year of Rail" aims to promote rail transport in accordance with the objectives set out in the Commission Communication on the European Green Deal, including with regard to sustainable and smart mobility.
Through projects, debates, events, exhibitions and initiatives across Europe, the European Year of Rail will promote rail as an attractive and sustainable way of moving around Europe, towards citizens, businesses and authorities, emphasizing its dimension innovative and all-Union. By reaching out to citizens, beyond the rail sector, through dedicated events and communication campaigns, you will convince more people and businesses to use rail.
The year 2021 is an important year for the Union's rail policy. It will be the first full year that the rules agreed under the Fourth Railway Package will be applied throughout the EU, that is, in opening up the market for national passenger services and in reducing costs and administrative burdens for railway companies that they operate throughout the EU. There is growing public interest in railways, including night trains, in several Member States, as also illustrated by the popularity of #DiscoverEU. In addition, the international art festival ' Europalia ' will dedicate its 2021 edition to the influence of railways on the arts and will highlight the role of rail as a powerful promoter of social, economic and industrial change. Therefore, 2021 is considered a very appropriate time for this initiative.
As with all European years in the past, the main objective is to raise awareness of challenges and opportunities and to highlight the role of the Union in promoting shared solutions. The aim of the European Year of Rail will be to encourage and support the efforts of the Union, Member States, regional and local authorities and other organizations to increase the proportion of passengers and goods moving by rail. In particular, the European Year should promote rail as a sustainable, innovative and safe mode of transport, reaching the general public, especially young people. It should also highlight the European cross-border dimension of rail, which brings citizens closer together, enables them to explore the Union in all its diversity, fosters cohesion and contributes to the integration of the Union's internal market.
It should also enhance the contribution of rail to the Union economy, industry and society in general, and promote rail as an important element of relations between the Union and third countries, in particular in the Western Balkans.
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