The EUMedRail project gathered high-level representatives and participants from EUMedRail partners last 24 November 2020 for the online Steering Committee.
The meeting kicked off with the welcome speech of the Executive Director of ERA. Dr. Doppelbauer stressed the important commitment of supporting railway safety and interoperability in the EUMedRail countries, the new role of the Agency as a rail authority in the EU and a Safety Management System based on risks, rules and behavior. The rapporteur of the EUYear of Rail 2021 in the European Parliament, Ms. Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg, emphasized railways for being a sustainable, innovative and safe mode of transport helping the EU to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
The EU Year of Rail 2021, she said, will praise rail as the sustainable mode of transport and fruitful discussions will follow to understand the needs to make the shift from road to rail. Improving digitalisation and interoperability, investments of rolling stock, accelerating the deployment of European train management systems (ERTMS) and promoting the use of cross-border night trains are some of the initiatives identified. The Secretary General of OTIF, Mr. Küpper, also intervened to stress the role of OTIF and the COTIF Convention to promote, improve and facilitate international traffic by rail.
After these keynote interventions, the project officer, Mr. Ilyas Daoud, revised the actions undertaken in 2020, which due to the covid-19 pandemic and mobility restrictions had a mix format of physical and virtual meetings. The EUMedRail partners presented the latest initiatives implemented in the field of railways and explained the measures and protocol implemented to adapt the sector to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the meeting, the project partners had also the chance of providing additional comments to the evaluation on the Regional Transport Action Plan 2014-2020.
The project manager, Mr. Peter Mihm, presented a proposal of activities envisaged for the years 2021 and 2022 including webinars, bilateral meetings ,seminars and as far as possible traineeships at ERA. The work plan for 2021 and 2022 considers actions in the field of Safety Management System through the promotion of safety operations and maintenance, institution capacity building, promotion of international railway transport and technical interoperability, involvement of the EUMedRail partners in the events organised by ERA and tailored assistance agreed with the countries.
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