Discover the EIM 2021 Annual Report
In 2021, the global pandemic continued to be a stress-test for the governments, economies and societies all over the world. Social distancing and lockdowns still affected rail travel, which is traditionally based on connectivity and interchange.
On the other hand, the pandemic also illustrated the strategic importance of rail infrastructure in ensuring seamless freight flows and passenger travel. The new EU concept of “green lanes” adopted in 2020 paves the way. In parallel, the EU recovery strategy to address the effects of the pandemic at a Member State level clearly fosters investments in rail.
2021 was also the Year of Rail to illustrate the potential of rail. EIM has been contributing to promote the event as well as those of its members’ initiatives to underline the importance of rail infrastructure in a seamless European Single Railway Area. In December 2021, the EC adopted the Green Mobility Package to further boost rail within the context of the EU Green Deal.
The proposal to recast the TEN-T proposal contains new technical, operational and efficiency targets and foresees a new TEN-T network layer; the Action Plan to boost long-distance and cross-border passenger rail services contains a series of initiatives including pilots to boost this market segment. Both initiatives are complemented by an EC proposal on urban nodes and another one one intelligent transport systems.
These initiatives are meant to trigger a real renaissance in rail, not least to reach the targets of the EU Green Deal. Furthermore, the EC also launched a new Rescue and Resilience Facility (RRF) to boost the recovery of national economies following the pandemic. Several Member States included rail investments in their national RRF plans, not least following the recommendation of the EU Commission.
Last but not least, 2021 also saw the formal approval of the next joint undertaking for rail, “Europe’s Rail” (ERJU) under the EU research and innovation programme Horizon Europe. The initiative is essential to make rail (infrastructure) becoming the “track of the future”. EIM has been actively contributing to shape the governance of ERJU, consisting of a new System Pillar along an Innovation Pillar.
In essence, 2021 saw new, ambitious initiatives to boost rail and make it fit for the future. A fully fledged infrastructure is essential to reach this objective as it paves the way across borders and links economies and people but also other modes of transport. EIM welcomes these opportunities while also addressing the challenges to reach them.
Therefore, we would like to thank our colleagues, friends, partners but also the team at EIM for the excellent work achieved in 2021.
Let’s stay safely on track together.
Gorm Frimannslund, President of EIM and CEO of Bane NOR, Norway
Monika Heiming, Executive Director of EIM