Perspectives for a closer cooperation on rail investment projects
A UIC delegation of UIC made of the Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux and Directors respectively in charge of European Coordination, Simon Fletcher, Rail System Department, Marc Antoni, and Communications, Paul Véron, paid a visit to Luxemburg Headquarters of the European Investment Bank (EIB) on 16 March.
This visit provided the opportunity to hold a contact meeting with members of the EIB’s Europen Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH). The EIB représentatives were Mr. Jean-Luc Revéreault, Head of Division Strategy and Coordination, Advisory Services Departement, Mr. Alan Lynch, Head of Air, Maritime and Public Transport Division, Mr. Max Jensen, Head of Public Transport Division, Mobility Department, Projects Directorate, and Felix Ardiaca, Senior Transport Specialist.
Mr. Jean-Luc Revéreault welcomed the UIC delegation on behalf of Mr. Simon Barnes, Director of Advisory Services of EIB Group.
The hosts from EIB presented the role of the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH) created within EIB, in summary: to orient the affectation of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), support the real economy (including via a Portal), constitute a European platform for advice in investment (for public as well as private projects) in particular in connection with the Juncker European investment plan. The Hub can set-up advisory teams to respond to specific requests concerning access to the funds, for example for transport projects.
The exchanges and discussions highlighted the importance of the availability of technical expertise for supporting the infrastructure development projects in the Framework of the Juncker Plan for new infrastructures.
Exchanges between EIB respresentatives and UIC were particularly constructive and targeted.
UIC Director General underlined that the international railway association can offer two main contributions: on one hand the railway technical expertise based on its members’ expertise and on a continuous cooperation at international level, on the other hand the neutrality from the viewpoint of operators (all UIC members) for the elaboration of strategic advice or promotion of international specifications (professional standards, standard railway processes, etc.).
While offering these advantages of technical expertise and neutrality (vis a vis its members), UIC could participate to in-depth analysis of investment projects for rail transport, analysis of strategy, evaluation of business plan, research on external costs and socio-economic studies,...
UIC could effectively be used by the European Investment Bank as a Platform for exchange and cooperation, as it currently works for cooperation between UIC and World Bank, UIC and Asian Development Bank (ADB) and some other institutions in various parts of the world. In this context , the signature of a memorandum of undestanding (MoU) would pave the way for direct cooperation and allow to make specific experts available or set-up a specific task force for assistance by experts relating to a specific rail project.
Such a cooperation between EIB and UIC developed in the framework of a memorandum of understanding would provide a unique opportunity for UIC to serve the community of its European members and the objectives of the European Union’s Juncker Plan in using its global recognized technical expertise in railway issues.
On this way, UIC, thanks to its experience and capacity of technical analysis of large railway projects as well as through its neutrality and human resources of its members, can play a driving role in European railway developements.
The Director of EIB Group in Paris has been invited to address participants at the next UIC Regional Assembly Europe (RAE) to be held in Milan on 30 May.