Wednesday 21 December 2022

The meetings of the EMC (European Management Committee) and the 35th RAE (Regional Assembly Europe) were held on 6 December 2022

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During the week of the end-of-year statutory meetings including the UIC General Assembly, the EMC and RAE meetings were held in hybrid format in the morning and afternoon of 6 December respectively, bringing together the attendance of senior representatives of member companies in Europe, partner organisations and colleagues from the UIC HQ team.

Opened and moderated by Simon Fletcher, UIC Director Europe, the focus of the discussions of the European Management Committee in the morning was on core topics such as financial issues, as well as the 2022-2023 European action plan – notably the achievements consisting of UIC’s involvement in ERJU (Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking), the Digital Platform for freight and other freight game changers, the crucial developments in alternative sources of traction energy and the high-level exchange meetings successfully held throughout the year.

In the afternoon, the 35th Regional Assembly Europe was opened by Francisco Cardoso dos Reis, IP (Portugal) and UIC Europe Chairman, who gave an overview of the current context, mentioning the UIC’s centenary, the numerous achievements and successes this past year, not least amongst which the involvement in ERJU. He praised fellow railway workers at Ukrainian railways for continuing operations in the context of the current war and stressed that it was important to remain united and firm in the support for Ukraine.

A keynote speech was given by Wolfgang Küpper, OTIF Secretary General, who gave a presentation on OTIF’s contribution to making railways a sustainable, smart and safe means of transport. The presentation included key facts and figures of the organisation – tasked with facilitating international traffic by rail and developing uniform law for interoperable networks – as well as COTIF, the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail, which is OTIF’s base text and governs the running of the organisation as well as its objectives, attributions, relations with the EU member states, other nations and its activities in general.

In his regional report to the Assembly, Francisco Cardoso dos Reis presented “A year in Europe 2022” with an overview of the activities this past year. Among the highlights he reminded the Assembly of the senior team comprising the 2022-2023 EMC college, the Regional Focus and links to the 2023-2025 UIC Work Programme, UIC’s involvement in ERJU, the Digital Platform for freight (DP-Rail), as well as member-focused high-level meetings. He added that the Europe region consists of 134 members who together contribute 60% of the total UIC budget, underlining the significance of the region’s activities. These messages were fully supported by the Assembly and were presented to the General Assembly on 8 December.

Under Financial issues, UIC Director General François Davenne gave a report on the Europe region budget and accounts. The 2023 budget was approved by the Assembly.

Under Cooperation with third parties, Sandra Géhénot, UIC Director Freight, gave an update on the Memorandum of Understanding with RailNetEurope (RNE).
The longstanding working cooperation between RNE and UIC, particularly on freight topics, has led both organisations to decide to formalise this cooperation into an MoU, supported by the Freight Forum and fully endorsed by the Assembly.

UIC Director General François Davenne gave a debrief from the UIC Board of Directors, saying that there had been a number of achievements this year. The majority of projects within UIC are led by member companies of the Europe region which reflects the improved perception of what UIC is achieving at European level. Mr Davenne also talked about the collaboration with the EU Agency for Railways (ERA), the solid role played UIC in the European railway area and within the system pillar within Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking. The technical work UIC is doing is recognised by ERA and within the research ecosystem as a whole. Cooperation is important, particularly on the subjects of ticketing (OSDM), security and safety, multimodality, 5G (operational communications for the railway of tomorrow), the Digital Platform for freight, digital modelling, and signalling.
With regard to the regions, he said that it is important for UIC to continue developing regional activity outside Europe so as to foster interest within and between other regions and to focus on delivering value and choosing projects that meet the needs of the members.
Meetings have been held this year in the Middle East, South America and Africa, and activity is being developed in North and Latin America to attract new members in those regions.
Finally, Mr Davenne mentioned the latest member satisfaction survey, saying that the results were more positive compared to the previous results, thus showing that the UIC team continues to evolve the delivery of concrete added-value for its members.

With regard to the Europe action plan, Simon Fletcher described the Regional Focus and Action Plan for 2022 – 2023. In highlighting the achievements this year he unashamedly restated the points related to involvement in ERJU, the Digital Platform for freight and other freight game changers, the crucial developments in alternative sources of traction energy and a number of successfully held high-level exchange meetings. These are very core topics and Team Europe will continue advocating the technical developments carried out by the UIC departments on the European stage.

François Davenne updated the Assembly on the UIC Work Programme 2023-2025, which will keep the main strategic focus areas developed in the 2020 – 2022 programme. Additionally there will be a renewed regional strategy as well as a global digital strategy which will be more precise and operational and based on the 2023 – 2025 Work Programme..
The programme also takes into account the UIC Manifesto, the Vision of Rail 2030, and the Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking (ERJU) roadmap.
These three documents: the UIC Work Programme, Vision of Rail 2030 and the UIC Manifesto form the basis on which the UIC will conduct strategic actions for the railways over the next 5, 10 and 15 years.

With regard to the Railway System, Jean-Michel Evanghelou, Deputy Director Rail System and Head of Signalling and Telecoms, spoke about the main items concerning the FRMCS programme at UIC, notably the delivery of FRMCS V1 specifications, the progress of standardisation for FRMCS and progress with regard to the 5G Rail project. He also mentioned “Morane 2” (Mobile Radio for Railways Networks in Europe), the sequel to the first Morane project developed in the nineties to develop a uniform digital radio system for European railway. The Assembly supported these initiatives.

Concerning UIC’s achievements in the Passenger business, Passenger Director Marc Guigon mentioned the adoption of major specifications, notably:

  • DRTF (Database for Rail Tariffs and Fares) to replace the PRIFIS database,
  • eTCD (Electronic Ticket Control Database) to improve ticket control and fraud management,
  • FCB (Flexible Content Barcode) to improve the management of multi-ticket types.

He also mentioned that implementation would start for:

  • Online OSDM (Open Sales and Distribution Model) with a delivery target for end of 2023 for the Swedish market,
  • URT (Universal Rail Ticket) taking into account a more customer-friendly presentation highlighting the latest EU PRR requirements.

In addition, he said that the 2023 objectives would be based on three pillars to facilitate railway distribution services, improve the experience of the end-user and support the EU Green Deal objectives to gain more in the way of modal-shift as a contribution to decarbonisation.

Under Standardisation, the Assembly was briefed on the recent review, conducted by S Fletcher with his CSO hat on, of the ESMG (European Standardisation Management Group). Within this activity a short report was delivered by Laurent Schmitt, SNCF and Chair of both the Standardisation Platform and ESMG, on the evolving standardisation landscape and how to revitalise and reshape the ESMG activities in collaboration with the CER.

In terms of Research & Innovation, Mr Roland Moser (SBB), Chairman of ERRAC (European Rail Research Advisory Council), presented the achievements and yearly activities of the Council whilst Mr Riccardo Santoro, Chairman of the RICG (Research and Innovation Coordination Group), presented “RICG – 2022 in review”, the achievements and yearly report of the Group.

In the meeting’s conclusions, Francisco Cardoso dos Reis thanked all those within the Europe Region for their involvement and commitment. He announced his retirement next April and said that this would therefore be his last European Regional Assembly. He extended a big thank-you to everyone and wished everyone every success, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Simon Fletcher announced that he would be taking a step back and that this would also be his last European Regional Assembly.
François Davenne acknowledged both the work of Francisco dos Reis and Simon Fletcher and said he hoped that he would see and work with them again in the future. He thanked the Chairman and meeting for the constructive discussion and hoped that future meetings would continue to be just as successful.

The next meeting of the EMC will be held in Budapest, Hungary on 22 and 23 March 2023, at the kind invitation of MÁV.

To conclude, Simon Fletcher announced that the 36th Regional Assembly Europe will take place in hybrid mode on 27 June 2023 with the EMC in the morning.

For further information about the European region and the work it undertakes, please contact Simon Fletcher, UIC Director Europe:


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