Railway transport currently plays a key role in the European Union, as confirmed by the Russian aggression against Ukraine, where railways were used to transport goods and people fleeing the war. The rail is also an environmentally friendly and sustainable mode of transport.
Therefore the ministers are discussing the development of high-speed rail lines, especially in the Central European region. They also speak about the direction of further investments from European Union funds. And another topic is the inclusion of some new links in the TEN-T pan-European backbone transport network and better rail connectivity.
The draft revision of the TEN-T network envisages the elimination of those backbone links located on the territory of Russia and Belarus and, on the contrary, the inclusion of transport corridors in Ukraine and Moldova, including the possibility of switching to standard gauge.
Another issue of the informal meeting of the Council of Ministers for Transport are the current energy prices, which will be discussed by the heads of the ministries at an informal lunch. Rail transport has been hit particularly hard by the price rise and expensive energy has become one of the key issues of the Czech Presidency. The ministers are also discussing what individual carriers and infrastructure managers can do to reduce energy intensity and how to keep the current scale of transport.
The afternoon session will focus on ways how to improve the quality and reliability of rail transport. The ministers will also talk about the ways to remove technical bottlenecks, poor coordination, or continuity of services. They will also discuss fares, payment of compensation for delays, better information flows towards passengers regarding accidents and other incidents, digitalization, or how to make it easier to buy international tickets. They will talk about the possibilities of how to improve timetabling and promote long-distance and cross-border transport.