The European Management Committee (EMC) meeting was held online on 18 March 2021. All of the members of EMC were present, with CEOs and senior representatives of ADIF, BaneNor, CP, DB, FS Italiane, IP, LDz, ÖBB, MAV, Network Rail, PKP, ProRail, Renfe, RZD, SNCF, CER as well as colleagues from the UIC HQ team.
Francisco Cardoso dos Reis, representing Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP) and Chair of the UIC Europe Region, together with François Davenne, UIC Director General and Simon Fletcher, UIC Director Europe, welcomed the participants and thanked members for their continuous commitment and collaboration.
The meeting was the opportunity to exchange a number of key messages. François Davenne acknowledged, whilst highlighting the significant engagement of experts from member companies, the work carried out in the various bodies such as the Covid-19 Task Force, reflecting the strong links between UIC and its members and the effort being made to meet members’ needs. With regard to UIC’s strategy and approach, he explained the need to develop regional cooperation by developing projects on a multi-regional basis and having a concerted approach across all railway regions. This is all the more important at the moment as the railway community recovers from the pandemic and tries to restore customer confidence.
Within UIC, he stressed the importance of increasing cross-sectoral activities and synergies throughout 2021. He acknowledged the work carried out to produce the Technical Solutions for the Operational Railway recently published by the UIC (Downloadable here), highlighting that joint efforts, resources and people are essential to delivering a high level of service.
The European Region’s work programme 2021 has a number of core strategic topics. These were updated and received the support and/or endorsement of the EMC as follows:
- Covid-19: the economic impact and resumption of business
Marc Guigon, Passenger Director & Coordinator of the COVID Task Force, spoke about the lessons learned by the railways, new trends, the new normal and the economic impact on the railways. A White Paper on the new normal is due to be released by the summer in collaboration with consultancy firm Roland Berger. He strongly encouraged members to share ideas and feedback in all areas and in particular how they see the future of railways.
- European Year of Rail
Marie Plaud-Lombard, Communications Director, explained how UIC intends to participate in the European Year of Rail, the events it will organise, how it will communicate and how members can contribute and share their rail success stories. As part of the European Commission’s events, UIC plans to work with CER to organise the TEN-T train from Lisbon to Ljubljana in June-July. Members were invited to share their ideas for the year and to include them in the repertoire that is being built up on the UIC’s European Year of Rail webpage: https://uic.org/year-of-rail/.
- Sustainable Development
Lucie Anderton, Head of Sustainable Development, presented the role of the railway sector in the context of the EU Green Deal and how the technical work undertaken by the UIC can support the Green Deal targets. She also gave an update on COP26, scheduled to be held from 1 – 12 November in Glasgow, and ideas of how to promote railways and public transport as the backbone of a sustainable mobility system.
- Financial Issues
Aline Wego, Head of Project Management Office, and Thierry Bera, Chief Financial Officer, updated the meeting on the substantial about new and ongoing projects programme. Part of the kick start post pandemic is the introduction of a fast track process for getting projects, considered as urgent, up and running quickly.
Célia Levy, UIC Chief Standardisation Officer, highlighted the work of the European Standards Management Group. The ESMG, a tripartite group with CER and EIM, is responsible for preparing, considering and coordinating the ROC (Railway Operating Community) contributions to all European bodies related to standardisation issues.
Martin Brennan, Head of Research and Innovation, spoke about the role of UIC in Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking, what moving to this successor to the current Shift2Rail involves and the structure and innovation of Europe’s Rail in comparison to Shift2Rail. The EMC was asked to consider the proposal to be put forward for the nomination of the successor to the current Chair of ERRAC (the European Rail Research Advisory Council).
- Relations with other organisations
Simon Fletcher briefly referred the meeting to some dialogue that is currently being developed with UEFA as part of a promotional opportunity. There is more still to be considered and the EMC will be updated on progress.
The meeting reaffirmed their support for the work done within the European Region and expressed their views on this positive approach both internal activities and regional development.
In his concluding words, Francisco Cardoso dos Reis reminded the meeting of the many decisions that had been taken and thanked the participants for their comments and involvement. He extended an invitation for the EMC to hold its September meeting in Lisbon, if the situation permits.
The next meeting of the European Management Committee is planned to be held on 6 July 2021.