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Rail sector disappointed by EU Ministers’ failure to agree on making transport greener


10 Dec 2008



News Release, 9 December 2008

Today in Brussels, Europe’s rail sector voiced regret over the failure of EU Transport Ministers to reach agreement on the revision of the Eurovignette directive, which aims at unlocking the current restrictions that prevent Member States from internalising the various elements of external costs into prices for the use of road infrastructure.UNIFE, EIM and CER, representing Europe’s rail sector, understand that a number of controversial points prevented agreement between the EU Member States concerned, including the earmarking of the revenues raised through charging and the application of congestion costs to trucks only.

UNIFE Director-General Michael Clausecker stated that despite the lacklustre outcome of today’s Council meeting, Europe’s rail sector still appreciates the efforts undertaken by the French EU Presidency in trying to reach an agreement.  “It has not been easy, but we believe that the French EU Presidency realised the importance of
levelling the playing field between the transport modes.  There was no agreement this time but Europe’s rail sector still hopes that the European Parliament will send a strong signal to the Council.  The report presented by the Parliament’s rapporteur Said El Khadraoui, puts forward the principle of earmarking and the extension of the range of external costs to be internalised - this is something which we as a sector support.”

EIM Secretary General Michael Robson commented, “The burden is now on the European Parliament and the incoming Czech Presidency of the EU to move this important dossier forward.  We hope that all sides can work together to reach an agreement before the European Parliament elections in June 2009.  From our side, we look forward to working constructively with the Czech Presidency in forging an agreement amongst all stakeholders on this vital legislative initiative, which will remove road freight’s privilege to pollute without paying.”

Speaking on behalf of CER, Executive Director Johannes Ludewig emphasised: “If Europe really wants to achieve a greening of its transport sector, the principle of internalisation of external costs must be introduced for road transport as well. The fact that trucks cannot be charged for their external costs, clearly favours the most
polluting transport mode. While we understand that the current economic crisis creates difficulties, it is vital that the EU’s environmental targets must be met.”


For further information, please contact:

Frank Schneider

CER Press and Communications Manager

phone +32 2 213 08 90

mobile +32 473 32 20 94


Patrick Keating

EIM Public Affairs Manager

phone +32 2 234 37 70

mobile +32 476 66 19 09




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