Vänsterpartiet (UK)

1. Because air travel is the most climate-damaging mode of transport, what do you propose for more people to use trains instead of airplanes for travel up to 1000 km in the EU – and what role should night trains play on this issue?
Answer: A European high-speed network is emerging in a number of countries such as Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, and Sweden should be part of this European building of modern, fast and environmentally friendly passenger transport across national borders. Choosing the train needs to be more attractive. The Left Party’s vision for train traffic is a cohesive system where the traveler is given high availability, convenience and punctuality. That such a system is possible is the clear example of Switzerland where it is not liberalized as in Sweden. When measuring the quality of the service for the traveler in European surveys, Switzerland is also classified by far the best country in most surveys. The trains have a very high punctuality and invested money result in better service. Our solution is therefore a nationally regulated railway together with a combined European train policy that does everything possible to contribute to increased train travel, also through coordinated timetables, a common booking site and more night trains through Europe. Access to more night trains in the EU is central and we will work to ensure that SJ (Swedish rail system) takes a more active role in increasing night-time traffic and strengthened cooperation with other operators in Europe. In addition, trains, platforms, stations, train-changing and booking systems need to be adapted for accessibility so that people with disabilities can also choose the train. In order to get more people to use alternatives, it is absolutely crucial that additional policy instruments are introduced for air traffic, since today it has undue favors when it comes to not having to stand for its harmful climate impact.

2. Answer: The Left Party works to ensure that it is always cheaper to choose the environmentally friendly alternative, for example, take the train before the flight. The Left Party wants, among other things, abolish EU environmentally damaging subsidies and introduce a minimum level of progressive aviation tax in all EU countries. We want to use our national income from the aviation tax to invest for making environmentally friendly transports such as train travel cheaper and better.

3. Answer: We oppose the EU policy that forces countries to liberalize and privatize the railways. The Left Party does not believe that deregulation and privatisation has led to the use of railway capacity in a socio-economically correct way. We believe that the starting point must be a whole that satisfies the society’s interest in freight and passenger transport, rather than short-term economic requirements that omit the possibility of environmentally friendly transport throughout Sweden and in the EU. The market cannot solve the challenge of creating good national and cross-border train connections. Instead, we want to see a publicly owned and managed activity at national level where we can influence train traffic in a positive direction and ensure that both passenger traffic and freight traffic increase their share of the total traffic volume. This, coupled with a common rail policy at EU level that facilitates cross-border train connections, we consider to be the way forward. No more privatization and deregulation.

4. Answer: We support and will work for an interconnected network of cross-border day and night traffic. It is our starting point for creating a single European train policy.

5. Answer: We share the view that there are shortcomings in the current high-speed network. It points to the need for a more integrated European train policy. We believe that Sweden should complete high-speed railways as soon as it is possible for the social benefits to be realized. A rapid investment in high-speed trains should not take place at the expense of other necessary railway investments. We believe that loan financing should generally be used to a greater extent to modernize our rail system and that such financing means that the high-speed railways can be completed earlier. A high-speed railway would significantly strengthen Sweden’s connections to the continent.

6. Answer: Train traffic need to be coordinated and it must be easier for travelers to choose train rather than air travel.  We think it is important to strengthen passenger rights and also that information to travelers must be improved to in order to provide a better overview. The Left Party wants a legislation to make sure that passengers arrive in time without extra charges. We think that the current EU revision of passenger rights is very important to achieve  this. In a train system with worse options, higher prices and worse information people will otherwise chose other modes, like car and air, to travel.  We therefore think the passengers should get compensation for considerable delays. Operators should not generally be able to deny compensation, although it is reasonable with some form of force majeure clause.  We have not determined how such exceptional circumstances should be defined, but in the general the rights of passengers should be strengthened and possibilities to receive compensation should be enhanced.

7. Answer: The Left Party agrees that the CORSIA agreement is not enough and believes that Sweden must push more to reduce air emissions. Not least, the government has to stronger push for taxation to take place on aviation fuel. The Left Party also wants the EU system for emissions trading (EU ETS) to be reformed so that the price of emitting significantly increases and that the number of emission rights disappears faster from the system than today. The Left Party also, as stated above, wants to abolish EU environmentally harmful subsidies and introduce a minimum level for progressive air tax in all EU countries. In the Riksdag, the Left Party has on several occasions emphasized the lack of measures to reduce the climate impact of aviation. Here are a few examples: The aircraft’s greenhouse gas emissions http://www.riksdagen.se/en/dokument-lagar/dokument/skriftlig-fraga/flygets-utslapp-av-vaxthusgaser_H611233 Arlanda’s expansion plans and impact on the climate https: // data. Riksdagen.se/fil/1E03F0BC-BEA0-446C-8C15-1098879FBD0E Abolition of the tax subsidy https://data.riksdagen.se/fil/99EEE2DB-B708-4DAA-93A6-FAC5423FCF2F

7.1 Answer: We believe that air traffic should bear its own environmental impact costs. Our starting point is that the level of carbon dioxide and energy tax on kerosene should correspond to the level that applies to petrol for cars. However, this is made more difficult by international conventions, so we await a change in the international regulations, and have proposed and driven through a national tax in Sweden. We therefore want the EU energy tax directive to be amended so that in future it will be possible to tax the aviation environment impact by allowing an energy or carbon dioxide tax on aviation kerosene.

7.2 Answer: We believe that the number of flights in general must be reduced sharply. However, we do not advocate a general ban on short flights in the EU, but primarily want to reduce air travel by increasing accessibility and making it cheaper and easier to choose a more environmentally friendly route and more expensive to fly. However, we think that the EU needs to sweep in front of its own door and minimize its own flying. The move between Brussels and Strasbourg is an example of completely unnecessary journeys that must cease as soon as possible. Many meetings could also be made with Skype / video conferencing, something we argue in the EU and will continue to work for.