As long as air transport is so massively promoted and favoured by the Member States, rail transport cannot be competitive. Absolute cost truth is needed here. This means that kerosene must finally be taxed, airline tickets must no longer be exempt from VAT and airports must not be fed with tax money. These environmentally harmful subsidies create a market imbalance that we must eliminate as quickly as possible. In return, rail connections should be further developed in accordance with an overall European plan. Night trains, in particular, can offer a real and practical alternative to flying because of their often comfortable equipment, provided that the connections are structured in such a way that you do not have to change trains several times during the night. Sleeping at night can be much more comfortable than sitting in a crowded aircraft for several hours. In the future, this may become an important factor in deciding which means of transport to use. However, as long as air travel is in part much cheaper than or as expensive as train travel, realistically very few people will voluntarily choose the ground-based option.
See question 1.
To answer this question, I would first have to do research, for which I unfortunately have no time.
See question 3.
The European high-speed rail network is characterised by an unmanageable patchwork of rail networks and national regulations. The resulting technical and administrative obstacles do not permit a functioning and effective rail network. What is needed here is someone who can maintain an overview of this difficult system from above and control it effectively. We will therefore work at European level to ensure that the European Commission is given the necessary powers and instruments to pursue an effective overall strategy in this area. A system as complex as a European high-speed rail network cannot be coordinated by the Member States alone without a superior body. The objective must be a functioning and single European transport market, coordinated by the European Commission.
Rail connections must be reliable. This is the only way they can exist at all as an alternative to air transport. This also means that the possibility of asserting passenger rights against rail operators must be comprehensive, similar to air travel. A rule whereby compensation is refused in exceptional circumstances could also be based on the refusal rules of the air transport operators. Compensation for delays must be regulated uniformly throughout Europe.
We consider the introduction of a kerosene tax to be just as essential to solving the problem as the collection of VAT on air travel. We see these benefits as environmentally harmful subsidies that must be eliminated as quickly as possible in view of the climate crisis and our emission targets. In addition, we call for a socially designed greening of the tax system, which includes a revenue-neutral CO2 tax, thus also having a direct influence on flight operations and creating price fairness between the various transport operators.
We are in favour of an EU-wide kerosene tax and will continue to work at both European and national level to ensure that scientific debates on the climate crisis and the instruments needed to combat it are conducted in an objective and rational manner.
As a matter of principle, short-haul flights should not be banned, but the costs must be absolutely true, including all externalities. This means that air fares reflect the damage done to the climate and the environment. Such a cost truth also makes rail travel an unbeatable alternative in terms of price.