D66 (UK)

Democraten 66

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?

D66 is the party that chooses for the future, and thus for a clean environment. It should become easier for people to take the train, instead of the plane, to large European cities like Brussels, Paris, Frankfurt and London. Due to a D66 proposal there will be, before the end of this year, an honest comparison of the climate impact, travelling time and costs of journeys through Europe by plane, car and/or train. With this, travellers can make an honest comparison beforehand.

For longer distances, with travelling times often around 10 hours, the train is a perfect mode of transport. With a special new sleeper train (nighttrain) new destinations become within reach. No more long nights behind the wheel of an overloaded car but relaxed in the train to the holiday destination. Due to a D66 proposal the Dutch government is exploring new international train routes and how they can be realised. To decrease travelling time between European cities, investments need to be made in high speed rail. A European rail agenda should be drawn up for this and resources allocated.

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?

Anyone filling up their Fiat Panda with 30 liters of petrol is currently paying more excise duties and taxes than KLM does for filling up an entire Boeing 747 with 219.000 liters of kerosine. By introducing a ticket tax we make sure the difference in what you pay for a flight- or train-ticket becomes fairer.

With better international train connections it will thus not only be faster to travel to Berlin by Train, but, if it’s up to D66, cheaper as well.

A ticket tax is a first step. A real difference could be made by globally introducing excise duties on kerosene. Like excise duties on other polluting fuels. This way it will become more attractive for airlines to switch to cleaner fuels, like biokerosene, hydrogen or electrical flying.

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?

D66 is working hard to make new plans for international rail transport. Currently, train companies don’t suffer negative consequences for offering low quality service to travellers. D66 wants travellers to benefit from higher quality and more comfort by confronting low quality.

D66 strives for a European rail agenda with agreements between all countries through an agency. Member states can plan and agree on the locations of cross-border train connections with this agency. These agreements can then be included in the European rail agenda. After this, the European rail agency is responsible for realizing this agenda.

Creating a large European rail network is one step towards a better aligned international rail network. A second step is making sure international trains can drive seamlessly from one country to another. The Netherlands leads with cross-border infrastructure and technical standards. Next to this, common traffic rules for international trains should be introduced.

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?

D66 believes that for longer distances, with travelling times often around 10 hours, the train is the perfect mode of transport. With the use of nighttrains we can assure travellers reach new destinations in a comfortable and sustainable way without flying.

Due to a D66 proposal the Dutch government is exploring new international train routes and how they can be realised. We’ll stay on top of this.

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?

D66 strives for a European rail agenda with agreements between all countries through an agency. Member states can plan and agree on the locations of cross-border train connections with this agency. These agreements can then be included in the European rail agenda. After this, the European rail agency is responsible for realizing this agenda.

Creating a large European rail network is one step towards a better aligned international rail network. A second step is making sure international trains can drive seamlessly from one country to another. The Netherlands leads with cross-border infrastructure and technical standards. Next to this, common traffic rules for international trains should be introduced.

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?

When a flight is cancelled, travellers receive compensation. D66 wants this to be the same for train travellers within the EU whenever a train journey is delayed or cancelled. By giving train passengers the same rights as those travelling by plane, more people will want to travel by train as an alternative for flying.

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?

A real difference could be made by globally introducing excise duties on kerosene. Like excise duties on other polluting fuels. This way it will become more attractive for airlines to switch to cleaner fuels, like biokerosene, hydrogen or electrical flying.

The Dutch government is working on this. Our State Secretary of Finance in Brussels and soon our Minister of Infrastructure and Water in Montreal.

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?

D66 wants to make sustainable transport more attractive. A possible move could be to increase taxes on short distance flights, instead of flights for which no alternatives exist. D66 also asked the Dutch government to make agreements to phase out flights between Amsterdam and Brussels.

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, …)?

Anyone filling up their Fiat Panda with 30 liters of petrol is currently paying more excise duties and taxes than KLM does for filling up an entire Boeing 747 with 219.000 liters of kerosine. By introducing a ticket tax we make sure the difference in what you pay for a flight- or train-ticket becomes fairer.

With better international train connections it will thus not only be faster to travel to Berlin by Train, but, if it’s up to D66, cheaper as well.

A ticket tax is a first step. A real difference could be made by globally introducing excise duties on kerosene. Like excise duties on other polluting fuels. This way it will become more attractive for airlines to switch to cleaner fuels, like biokerosene, hydrogen or electrical flying.

Regarding CO2 emissions and he EU ETS system, D66 believes emissions should be priced. That way we can make sure that whoever emits most also pays most: the polluter pays.