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6 major left parties in EU-election demands better trains

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In a joint editorial from six of the major left-wing parties, including the Danish Enhedslisten, printed in the Danish daily Information d. 24.4. 2019, the parties argue that transport in Europe must be changed. They write:

Reducing CO2 emissions within the European transport sector is also a crucial element in the effort to meet the international climate agreement.

Forecasts show that emissions from the transport sector will continue to rise in the EU unless we do something drastic to break the curve. Alone CO2 emissions from aircraft will increase by more than 50 percent over the next 15 years.

It is therefore important that a real alternative to air travel is created in Europe. Here, the European rail network can play a crucial role. The European Environment Agency has stated that air travel emits up to 20 times as much CO2 as train journeys, measured per kilometre a person travels.

For example, an international fast train linking Amsterdam with cities in Belgium, Denmark, France and the United Kingdom could move 1.9 million flights from air travel to rail travel by 2030. This corresponds to a reduction of 12.000-25.000 flights.

Unfortunately, the EU’s eagerness to privatize and liberalize the trains has helped to create an expensive, fragmented and inefficient train network in Europe. Despite the fact that the trains are far better for the climate than airplanes, today they are not a real alternative for many people.

We therefore need to change tracks. We need to create a European Train Fund that can ensure better, cheaper and faster connections with fast- and night trains between European capitals and hubs. It must be the logical choice to take the train across Europe, but it only happens if we are ready to secure the necessary investments.

Also CO2 emissions from car traffic must be reduced significantly. We therefore propose that by 2025 we prohibit the sale and import of new petrol and diesel cars so that we can replace them with a new car fleet of electric cars. It must be progressively implemented through massive support for the sale of electric cars through state aid schemes until electric cars can fully compete with petrol cars.


Nikolaj Villumsen, Enhedslisten, Denmark. Malin Björk, Vänsterpärtiet, Sweden. Younous Omarjee, La France Insoumise, France. Marisa Matias, Bloco de Esquerda, Portugal. Miguel Urbán, Podemos, Spain. Mia Haglund, Venstreforbundet, Finland.

>> Read it all in Danish

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