CER calls for extra 10 billion to fund digitalisation in railways
The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) has called for an additional 10 billion Euros in the new CEF transport budget to support the digital transformation of rail. Without this support, the deployment of ERTMS will be delayed, it said.
CEF is an important financing tool for railway projects such as the TEN-T corridors and the roll-out of the European security system ERTMS. In the new financing period (2021-2027), 9.6 billion Euros, or forty per cent of the CEF budget, will be allocated to projects catered towards ‘smart, sustainable, inclusive, safe and secure mobility’, including digitalisation and European traffic management systems, as well as actions supporting rail freight services.
This is not enough, according to the CER. “The rail sector estimates that for this purpose, at least 15 billion Euros is required from the future EU budget. In this context CER calls upon policymakers to better reflect the importance of the digital transformation of rail in the new CEF proposal by increasing the CEF transport budget by at least 10 billion Euros, and earmarking a specific budget for actions supporting telematics applications and automation”, a statement by the lobby organisation reads.
The European Parliament this summer delivered a draft report on the new CEF proposal after the European Commission unveiled the budget proposal in June. The CEF Transport budget for the period 2021-2027 has been set at 30.6 billion Euros. Apart from digitalisation, 14.5 billion Euros will be allocated to support the creation of ‘efficient and interconnected networks’ by continuing to implement actions on the core network and, to a lesser extent, on the comprehensive network.
CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: “While we welcome the European Parliament draft report on the Connecting Europe Facility proposal, we feel that in today’s age of digital transformation, the reinforced budget for smart technologies as proposed by the Commission is not sufficient. In the case of rail, an inadequate CEF budget will delay the deployment of ERTMS and will put at risk the creation of a smart, sustainable, efficient, safe and secure transport system in Europe. We would welcome the European Parliament to take a stronger position on this point.”