The pledge aims to rally European rail companies, the European Union and national governments behind a campaign to fight climate change by increasing rail’s modal share. Jérémie Pélerin, SNCF Group’s Director of European Affairs and our representative in Brussels, tells us more.
The pledge calls for mobility that’s more attractive, more sustainable, more inclusive and more innovative. What does it say, and what impact will it have?
Jérémie Pélerin: The pledge aims to unite European rail players, the European Union and national governments in a push to increase rail’s modal share. Achieving this goal will fight climate change by limiting transport-related emissions. Over 30 European rail operators and infrastructure managers have made a public commitment to address four challenges for the industry—appeal, sustainability, inclusiveness and innovation.
The signatories want to show that Europe’s rail players are already working hard to meet these challenges and are keen to do even more for our customers, the planet and our employees. The pledge also calls on the European Union and its member states to help grow rail by taking practical steps, particularly by setting targets for modal shift and investing massively in the rail network to reach them.
How does the pledge dovetail with legislation in the European Parliament?
JP: The European Union is already working on many issues that affect the rail industry. One of the most important is the Fit for 55 package, which aims to update climate and energy legislation to meet our new target of reducing emissions 55% by 2030—and that includes transport emissions. Another example is the regulatory update for the trans-European transport network, which will set the specifications the network should meet in 2030, 2040 and 2050.
Jean-Pierre Farandou recently called for France to double rail’s modal share over the next 2 decades. How does the European effort complement the national conversation he’s begun?
JP: The two initiatives are closely related, and both are working toward the same goal. The modal shift to rail is a vital component of the fight against climate change, but the rail industry can’t get there alone. To succeed, we need massive financial and regulatory support from the European Union and member states.