Regulation establishing Shift2Rail successor enters into force
Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking will be the largest European rail research and innovation programme ever, delivering activities worth €1.2 billion and aiming to provide a faster uptake and deployment of projects and innovations.
On 19 November 2021 the Council of the European Union adopted the regulation establishing Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking and nine other European Partnerships to accelerate the green and digital transition. It entered into force today (30 November 2021) following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union and marks the start of these partnerships.
Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking, the largest European rail research and innovation programme ever, and most probably at global level, will deliver activities worth €1.2 billion realised by its selected Founding Members and other beneficiaries who will be joining via Open Calls. These activities will be funded by the joint undertaking with the resources provided by the Horizon Europe Programme of the European Union, up to €600 million.
The objective of Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking is to deliver a high capacity integrated European railway network by eliminating barriers to interoperability and providing solutions for full integration, covering traffic management, vehicles, infrastructure and services, aiming at faster uptake and deployment of projects and innovations.
This should exploit the huge potential for digitalisation and automation to reduce rail’s costs, increase capacity, and enhance its flexibility and reliability, and should be based upon a solid Reference Functional System Architecture shared by the sector, in coordination with the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA), while supporting the development of a strong and globally competitive European rail industry.
In addition to the Union, the new partnership will consist of additional 25 Founding Members, from the rail supply industry, rail operating community, infrastructure managers and research. They will conclude their membership by signing a letter of commitment and attend the first Governing Board planned for 21 December 2021.
The European Commission’s Director-General for Mobility and Transport, Henrik Hololei, said: “I am very pleased that this important milestone for the future of rail research and innovation falls in the European Year of Rail 2021. The Europe’s Rail partnership will continue the significant work on innovative solutions achieved through Shift2Rail and it will support rail address its other challenges to realise its full potential – for a more efficient and user-friendly EU rail system. We count on this partnership to support our efforts in making rail smarter, more resilient and more flexible and increase the attractiveness of the sector. This will ensure rail plays a key role in the transition and delivering the decarbonisation and digitalisation of EU transport and mobility – and I am personally looking forward to more innovative solutions that will be developed under Europe’s Rail in the years ahead.”
Europe’s Rail Executive Director, Carlo Borghini, said: “Never before have I seen so many experts and senior managers, from the European Commission, the candidate founding members, the sector, working so hard in the past two years, to achieve this major milestone. The commitment and tangible results delivered by the Members and other beneficiaries of Shift2Rail are recognised [today] in the launch of the new partnership and the major increase of resources to contribute to delivering sustainable and smart mobility and transport, where rail is the backbone. Building upon the results of Shift2Rail, it is now the time to start moving to action to deliver impact for the European citizens.”
The formal event to launch the new partnership will take place in early 2022, in the framework of the French Presidency of the European Union.