1. In order for more people to choose the train, it must be easier and more convenient for the traveler both to book train tickets for a route that covers different countries and different operators, and it needs to be more convenient with fewer train changes. Part of the agreement in the January agreement [establishing the current Swedish government] is that the government must act to make it easier to book an international trip by train. The Swedish Transport Administration shall also be commissioned to procure night trains with daily departures to several European cities.
2. One important aspect is the cost issue. It is often cheaper to fly than to travel by train. We believe that the airline industry, like other parts of the transport sector, needs to bear the costs of its climate impact. The Center Party also wants to invest more on railways throughout Sweden so that more people have the opportunity to use trains rather than less sustainable means of transport.
3. The major obstacle today is that national train companies only have the task of operating in their own Member State, and as long as that is the case, cross-border train travel will not develop. Here, new actors are needed who are allowed to invest in new lines without being hampered by land borders and national companies which have more or less monopoly. This is the purpose and focus of the liberalization that is now taking place in the train market in the EU, the so-called fourth railway package – in Sweden where we have done this we can see that rail traffic has increased significantly and it is not just private companies but also regions that have invested on regional trains. Unfortunately, the implementation in Europe’s countries has gone far too slowly – a clear example is in France where liberalization has not even started. It is also these national monopolies that help to keep up the rail travel prices in Europe. The EU Commission must increase the pressure on the member states to implement the fourth railway package.
4. Strategic rail connections between countries in the EU should be prioritized even more from a passenger perspective as an alternative to aviation in the EU programs, such as the Interconnected Europe Fund (CEF) and Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T).
5. Unfortunately, the major national state railway companies do not prioritize cross-border traffic. The national monopoly in combination with poor management is the major obstacle to cross-border rail traffic between countries. The EU Commission must increase the pressure on the member states to implement the fourth railway package that will open up the monopoly market for competition. In addition, a limiting factor is that the infrastructure is often not developed. We have to eliminate the barriers for train companies to invest in cross-border rail traffic in Europe and increase competition so that tickets become cheaper. In addition, a larger proportion of the funds available at EU level for investing in the expansion of cross-border infrastructure must be used precisely to prioritize rail traffic.
6. The Center Party has voted in the European Parliament against rail companies being able to refuse compensation in so-called exceptional circumstances or force majeure. In order to create good conditions for the railway companies to develop the line network also across borders, travelers’ rights must also be strengthened at the same rate. If you travel by train in Europe, you should feel confident that you will be able to get compensation in case you are late. Right now, negotiations on these rights are ongoing between the European Parliament and the Member States.
7. We want air traffic to bear its climate cost more fully. There is a need for stricter requirements for flights within EU internal air traffic, so that it is subject to the same rules for the allocation of emission rights as other parts of the EU emissions trading. Aviation within EU emissions trading (EU
ETS) is temporarily limited to flights within the European Economic Area, EEA, pending the formation of the international agreement CORSIA. We believe that CORSIA is not powerful enough and we therefore think that air traffic must be fully included in the EU ETS, also for flights to and from the EEA as was thought from the beginning. Sweden must be the driving force for CORSIA actually delivering emission reductions. We also believe that the parts of the Chicago Convention, the ICAO’s 1940s document, which limits effective economic instruments for international climate emissions from air travel should be revised. Other measures we advocate for reducing the climate impact of aviation are, for example, introducing mandatory blending of renewable aviation fuel and strengthening research efforts for a green transition in the aviation sector.
7.1 The Center Party does not want to introduce taxes at EU level. We find that the way forward is to tighten the EU ETS so that it also extends to and from the European cooperation area, the EEA, not only within the EEA, as it is today. In addition, we want the parts of the Chicago Convention that restrict effective economic instruments for international climate emissions from aviation to be revised, and that Sweden should take a leading role in this.
7.2 The most important measure to reduce short-haul flights in Europe is to ensure that European rail traffic is developed so that it becomes both cheaper and faster. Traveling that saves both time and money will be the most effective way to get rid of short-haul flights. At EU level, there are funds and means to stimulate the expansion of cross-border infrastructure and we want the Union to invest even more in rail traffic in the future. It is first and foremost good alternatives with, above all, trains that must be prioritized and therefore we do not support a general ban on short flights in the EU. It is not the flight itself that is the problem, but the climate impact that the aviation today entails. Electric flights are expected to become commercially within 5-10 years – given that the electricity is green, such a mode of transport would suddenly appear to be a sensible alternative.