The European Commission sees a key role for the transport sector in achieving its climate goals. Major changes in European rail policy have been made to enable rail transport to make a significant contribution to this. For example, using regulations and resources more actively as instruments to create a European network of high- speed train links. Besides this, an Action Package of measures has been drawn up to improve international connections and, in this context, 15 dedicated pilots have been launched.
During the EYR, together with other member states, the Netherlands has shown considerable ambition in terms of international rail links. The policy framework and resources now made available by the European Commission will also make it possible for suitable long-term improvements to be made in the next few years. For example, further to several years of research, it is now clear that investment decisions should be taken in line with the aim of significantly speeding up and improving the rail links with Germany. Where there are longer lead times for infrastructure to be built, the pilots offer opportunities for improvements in the short term. The Netherlands is the starting point and end point of many European transport corridors. Combined with its expressed intentions for international passenger transport, it is only natural that the Netherlands should subscribe to several pilots.
During the European Year of Rail it has become clear that the European Commission is embracing rail transport more firmly than ever before. Interaction at European, national and regional or local levels remains as necessary as ever to achieve results. A number of the improvements discussed above will require the active involvement of central government. Apart from this, there are great opportunities for local and regional authorities to speed up the development of their international rail travel ambitions, in line with the European priorities.
 Revision of the TEN-T policy and its associated CEF funding instrument.
Please contact Tim Geraedts via firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this article.