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01. July 2015

Politicians must improve conditions for the railways

Top-level railway summit with economics minister Sigmar Gabriel:

Top rail-sector representatives meeting at the Federal Economics Ministry: the railways are suffering due to unfair competitive conditions.

Berlin, July 1 2015. The coalition government’s agreed target of a considerable reduction in CO2 emissions, which is being pushed through with a rapid turnaround in energy policies, can only be achieved if there is also a turnaround in the transport sector and when politicians begin to grasp where the rail transport’s strengths lie. That was the unanimous verdict of notable rail transport companies, railway associations, the German Confederation of Trade Unions DGB and the railway union EVG.

During the summit, which took place after an initiative by the rail union EVG, top representatives from the railway sector presented federal economics minister Sigmar Gabriel with a document setting out their joint positions. Their paper makes it clear that the framework conditions for the railways in Germany have to see sustainable improvements. Otherwise, rail transport will not be able to fulfil its role as one of the major location factors for the German economy in the long-term. “The situation is deteriorating as we speak, and we therefore welcome the fact that the summit gave us the opportunity to present our view on these issues to the federal economics minister Sigmar Gabriel,” said the chairman of the EVG, Alexander Kirchner, who is also chairman of the German Pro-Rail Alliance. The summit took place on June 30 in Berlin.

The summit focussed on the issue of how to support the most environmentally friendly mode of transport and on the distorted competitive conditions between the different modes of transport, which are currently putting rail transport at a serious disadvantage. In order to achieve long-term improvements in the rail sector’s role as well as its ability to innovate, it was agreed to continue the dialogue with policy makers on a working level before another summit takes place with economics minister Gabriel.

Alongside economics minister Gabriel, the summit was attended by the following people: Dr. Thomas Geyer, president of the federal association of passenger rail transport authorities, Dr. Rüdiger Grube, chairman of the board of Deutsche Bahn AG, Ronald Pofalla, chief representative of Deutsche Bahn AG, Ludolf Kerkeling, chairman of Network European Railways e. V., Alexander Kirchner, chairman of the Railway and Transport Union EVG, Stefan Körzell, national board member of the German Confederation of Trade Unions, Hans Leister, president of mofair, Prof. Dr. Ronald Pörner, chairman of the advisory board of Abellio GmbH, Dr. Michael Vulpius, managing director of BeNEX, Oliver Wolff, managing director of the Association of German Transport Companies, and Dirk Flege, managing director of the German Pro-Rail Alliance.

Additional information (in German)