Introduction of EIM 2023 Annual Report

2023 was a year of challenges but also opportunities.

The ongoing military aggression of Ukraine by Russia, unstable supply chains, rising energy prices, a lack of critical raw materials and a price hike due to inflation have been a particular stress test for the EU.

At the same time, the acceleration of the EU Green Deal, the diversification of supply chains, public support to mitigate the impact of the energy crisis, the search for new raw materials have helped to mitigate some of these challenges but also to develop new perspectives for Europe.

In this context, rail infrastructure managers played a vital and strategic role in terms of connectivity, energy efficiency, decarbonisation, resilience and investments. The publication of the Greening Freight Package and the adoption of the revised TEN-T Guidelines strongly focus on rail infrastructure. Furthermore, the proposal on rail capacity will introduce a new era in rail infrastructure regulation with digital rail capacity management in Europe at its core.

An important aspect for the EU is funding and financing. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) as the main instrument for the upgrade or renewal of TEN-T projects has proven to be chronically underfinanced. As a result, CEF calls were oversubscribed up to 5 times and many projects had to be rejected. This is a major threat to a fully connected EU and the political ambition to enable seamless, dual use operations on its network. The question of how to fund and finance critical and vital rail infrastructure in the future will remain in the years to come.

An important key area of the EU is also resilience. The European Commission took a series of policy and regulatory initiatives to allow its market actors to become less vulnerable against physical and digital threats, disruptions or changing supplies of energy and material, foreign interference, etc. This aspect is becoming interestingly important for rail infrastructure managers.

In 2023, rail infrastructure managers have proven once again their strategic importance for Europe. They contributed to the EU Green Deal by sourcing in alternative energy sources, they continued their investments despite numerous financial and operational challenges, they took further measures to protect and secure their assets and they continue innovating their business. By doing so, rail infrastructure managers make a tangible contribution to the Single European Railway Area and the future of Europe.

We would like to thank our colleagues, friends, partners but also the team at EIM for the excellent work achieved in 2023.

We stay on track … at all times.

María Luisa Domínguez, President of EIM and Advisor to the Board of ADIF, Spain

Monika Heiming, Executive Director of EIM

background-back Train background-front