Connecting Europe Express (CEE) – Berlin Conference

On the 30th of September the main German event accompanying the passing of the Connecting Europe Express through Germany was held in the Technology Museum in Berlin. The Connecting Europe Express is a train created out of different wagons from different European railways, which is touring through 26 European countries and is the main attraction of the European Year of Rail 2021.

Magnus Lamp (DLR) and ECTRI Treasurer represented ECTRI at the event.

The German event was moderated by Kristian Schmidt (director, land transport at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport). Two panel discussions as well as five five-minute impulse speeches took place. The event was started with key note speeches by Enak Ferlemann (Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure) and Walter Goetz (Head of Cabinet for the Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean). Both pointed out the crucial role of railways for greening European transport and their commitment to invest in the railway sector. The first panel  discussion (“Removing Obstacles to Long-Distance Rail”) was composed of railway undertakings, consumer representatives and politicians. Main topics discussed were the imbalance of ticket prices for rail and aviation (even though there were consensus over plane tickets being to cheap, there were different opinions about whether train tickets are too expensive or not) and the lack of one-stop-shop solutions (possibilities to plan trips across Europe and buy tickets at one place). The second panel discussion (“The Role of Rail to Make Mobility More Sustainable”) consisted out of railway undertakings, a climate activist, EIB and interest groups had discussed mainly about the necessity to limit investments to climate friendly mobility solutions and the ongoing lack of liberty in the access to rail infrastructure in passenger transport. Key findings during the conference: The railway operators asked for further support for infrastructure improvement. Digitalisation and innovation played a crucial role in many statements, as well as the idea of a level playing field for railway operators in Europe. NGO representatives asked for push measures to shift the modal split. European night train operators were very visible.

The conference took place only four days after the general election in Germany. Therefore the national political statements were somewhat like a wrap up after four years legislation period. EU representatives referred to the fit for 55% initiative as well as to green deal and asked for advice from the sector.

The event was ended by another pledge of E. Ferlemann and W. Goetz about the importance of railway for the future of European mobility. Additionally to the official programme, networking in a pleasant atmosphere was possible.


20210930- Connecting Europe Express - Berlin Conference (pdf)