On 17 June, the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) celebrated its 25-year anniversary in Brussels in the presence of a large number of guests, representatives from the European rail sector, policy makers and key figures who contributed to the development of CER and transport policy throughout the last 25 years.
Back in 1988, 14 European railway companies felt the need to establish a stronger link with the European institutions following increasingly significant political developments in transport. As a result, CER was founded as an independent group of the International Union of Railways (UIC) with its own offices in Brussels.
Soon after this, in 1991, the European Commission began the first of its initiatives to regulate the railway sector by adopting the foundation for rail market opening, the 91/440/EEC Directive. CER became an independent body in 1996 and the membership grew rapidly to its current level of 81 railway undertakings, infrastructure companies and vehicle leasing companies.
During the celebration ceremony, a number of high-level speakers, moderated by Libor Lochman, Executive Director of CER, took the floor to address the main challenges for CER and the European railway policy today: Dr Angelika Schlunck, Director of the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the EU – who was hosting the celebratory event – Siim Kallas, European Commission Vice President in charge of Transport, Brian Simpson, MEP, Chairman of the European Parliament on Committee on Transport and Tourism, Mauro Moretti, CEO of Italian Railways (FS) and current CER Chairman (as well as UIC Vice Chairman), Karel Vinck, former CER Chairman and Johannes Ludewig, former CER Executive Director.
UIC, as the mother organisation of CER from 1988 and then a close cooperation partner as CER became independent, extends its warmest congratulations and wishes to CER Chairman, Executive Director and entire team in Brussels. Fruitful synergies between CER as the political railway association and UIC as the technical international platform, will allow railways to tackle the main challenges of the next decades to come, for society’s greatest benefit.