Christen-Democratisch Appèl, Holland
1: Since air travel is the most climate harming form of transport, what do you propose in order to make more people use trains instead of planes for trips up to 1000 km in the EU and which role should night trains play in this concern?
First of all, aviation is not the most ‘harmful’ mode of transportation, road transport is. CDA supports a flight tax for all European countries, which discourages short distance flights. This holds for trips up to 500 km. In addition, the CDA wants Europe to have an effective European rail network to encourage train travel. We must focus on knowledge development and innovation to make this possible. We also want to stimulate the so-called ‘multi modal’ transport: the use of different transport modalities within one journey.
2: What will you do in order to level the playing field between the different modes of long-distance travel or would you even give stronger support to the more climate friendly modes of transport – and how?
The CDA wants Europe to make an effort to globally reduce CO2 emissions from aviation.
3: How do you judge the success of the hitherto existing EU-policy of liberalization of the rail market as the way to achieve good national and cross-border train connections? Do you support this policy or would do you plan to introduce an alternative?
The liberalization of the European rail market was a good starting point. Two comments: i. on a number of points this has gone too far, in particular some small lines have disappeared, and ii. many countries did not implement this liberalization, which means that the former state-owned companies are still in control. In short, liberalization is a good idea, but has its limits.
4: There are ideas for a Europe wide interconnected day and night train cross-border network (e.g. the “LunaLiner”) as an alternative to short and mid distance flights. What do you think about these plans, and if you support them what would you do in order to implement this?
These are good plans, but the current alternatives are also much more practical and comfortable. It will therefore not be an alternative for everyone.
5: The European Court of Auditors calls the European high-speed rail network an “ineffective patchwork” that does not lead to good connections on the EU level (see report No 19 from the European Court of Auditors). What do you plan in order to improve this situation?
This is correct. There must be a more integrated planning of the HSL lines in the EU. And for this, we must focus on knowledge and innovation.
6: Recently EU rail passenger rights were under debate. What is your position concerning the future of passenger rights in rail and other modes of public transport? This particularly concerns cross-border services and a journey chain involving two or more operators? Should operators be able to refuse compensation if a service is cancelled or severely delayed because of “exceptional circumstances” and, if so, how should “exceptional circumstances” be defined?
The current renewal of the Directive is well balanced.
7: What is your position on a kerosene tax, either EU‐wide or between EU member states? And if you support it: What will you do in order to get it implemented?
CDA supports a kerosene tax (or “flight tax”). We want the Netherlands to play a leading role in this matter and encourage other European countries to introduce the tax as well. It is essential that this is implemented across the EU because it would otherwise damage the Dutch competitive position and, moreover, it would not be sufficiently effective if it was not introduced across the EU.
8: Would you support a general ban on short distance flight in the EU? If yes: Which should be the minimum distance to allow flights? If no: Which other measures to limit short distance flights do you plan to implement?
No, the CDA wants to make long-distance trains more attractive (instead of banning flights). An effective European rail network can be a valid, sustainable alternative to the more polluting air traffic. The condition is that the railways connect well with each other, so that transport can take place quickly and streamlined. Efforts must be made to develop and roll out a new European railway safety system. In addition, the ticket sales system for railways transport is now too fragmented. A European e-ticketing system is needed, that allows for buying your ticket for train journeys across Europe.
9: Since the new international agreement CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) and the EU-ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme) are not sufficient to tackle aviation emissions, what other measures do you envisage in order to regulate aviation (e.g. a tax on kerosene, tickets, VAT; a frequent flyer levy; a moratorium on airport infrastructure expansion; a ban of certain flights, e.g. short haul flights, …)?
For too long of a period, the aviation industry has been spared. Also for aviation it must hold that the polluter pays. That is why the CDA supports European plans to no longer exempt aviation from CO2 standards from 2021 onwards.