The European Commission has proposed that 2021 be declared European Year of Rail. Events, campaigns and initiatives will promote rail as a sustainable, innovative and safe mode of transport. This European Year should help to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal in the transport sector. Transport currently accounts for a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. These are to be reduced by 90 percent by 2050. The European Commission stresses that rail, as one of the most sustainable and safest modes of transport, will play an important role in the European mobility system of the future. The railways connect people, regions and companies across the EU and are also a testimony to Europe’s technical know-how and part of its cultural heritage.
2021 has been chosen because it will be the first full year in which the rules agreed in the fourth railway package will be implemented across the EU. 2021 will also mark a number of important anniversaries for the railways: the 20th anniversary of the first EU directive on a single transport market, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the International Union of Railways (UIC), the 175th anniversary of the first rail link between two EU capitals (Paris-Brussels) as well as 40 years of TGV, 30 years of ICE and last but not least 25 years of Eurostar and the Channel Tunnel.
The EU Parliament approved the proposal in mid-October 2020.