The Netherlands Government has submitted a position paper to the European Commission that sets out plans for the development of international passenger rail. It follows a high-level meeting, mainly with representatives of Member States and the Commission, that was organised towards the end of last year by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management. EPF board members Arriën Kruyt and Willy Smeulders were invited to give passengers’ views and the meeting was moderated by their colleague, Chris Irwin.

The position paper proposes that the Commission’s five-year work programme should include a comprehensive EU agenda to support the development of the international railway passenger market. It also suggests that a high-level platform of interested Member States – a coalition of the willing – should be formed to take the agenda forwards at national, cross-border/corridor and European level.

The position paper recognises that people choose their mode of transport based on five factors: availability, punctuality, quality, accessibility and price. It says that, in order to achieve the international rail’s full potential, there is room for further development with regard to all these factors. The paper also emphasises the importance of multi-modal passenger rights that offer business opportunities and safeguard the rights of passengers in the multi-modal transport chain – a point that EPF had pushed in discussion of the original draft of the position paper.

The position paper can be downloaded here.