On Thursday, Parliament and Council negotiators reached a provisional political agreement to make 2021 the European Year of Rail.
The European Year of Rail will promote rail as a sustainable, innovative and safe mode of transport with events, campaigns and initiatives planned throughout 2021. The Year of Rail will endorse the creation of a Single European Rail Area for passengers and freight, encourage investments in infrastructure, and campaign for the rights of rail passengers. As one of the most environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient modes of transport, rail also has a significant role to play in achieving climate neutrality by 2050.
“With this agreement, we are paving the way for a successful European Year of Rail in 2021. Our ambition is to go beyond celebrating rail as an environmentally-friendly mode of transport and an important cultural asset in Europe. We also want to stimulate meaningful discussions on how we can increase the number of passengers and goods travelling by rail, in line with our climate ambitions,” said Rapporteur Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg (Greens/EFA, DE).
Parliament’s Transport Committee will vote on the agreed text before it goes to plenary. The Council will adopt its first reading position after the plenary vote.
The decision will enter into force once published in the Official Journal of the EU.
Since 1983, the EU has chosen an annual theme to celebrate and bring to public attention. This is intended to elevate the issue in the public conscience, encourage EU-wide debate, and highlight its political importance. The process can lead to new EU initiatives or legislation.
2021 has been designated as the European Year of Rail to stimulate discussion on the contribution of railways to the European Green Deal and the environment. A range of events is planned, involving the general public and drawing attention to the challenges that rail faces as well as the opportunities it offers.