Parliamentary evening on the topic:  Maintaining industrial leadership: Boosting innovation and competitiveness of European Rail Supply Manufacturers was held in Brussels on Tuesday, 13 October 2015. In total, over 200 guests attended this high-level event hosted by the Hessen government, UNIFE (the European Rail Industry Association), and with the support of MEP Martina Werner (ITRE Committee Reporter for the Resolution) to listen and participate in the dialogue on how to best maintain the world leadership of the global market for rail supplies for this strategic European industry.

Following speakers were the guests in the Panel Discussion:
Olivier Onidi, Director of the European Mobility Network, DG-MOVE, European Commission
Lutz Bertling, President, Bombardier Transportation; Chairman of UNIFE (the European Rail Industry Association)
Miroslav Fukan, Executive Director, Oltis Group, Chairman of the UNIFE SME Committee
Johannes Hauber, Chair of the Railway Equipment Manufacturing Working Group, European Trade Union IndustriAll
Didier Herbert, Director (acting), Competiveness and the European Semester, DG-GROW, European Commission

Dr Lutz Bertling, Chairman of UNIFE and President of Bombardier Transportation, gave an overview of the rail supply industry and emphasized its importance to the European economy as well as the competitive threats it is facing, and added, “With a history of more than 175 years, the rail supply industry is a backbone to European industrialization and economic development. It has catered to European integration by connecting European states and citizens in an environmentally friendly way. Today, our industry is more dynamic, innovative and important to the European economy than ever before. We are now at a pivotal moment where the industrial competition from Asia, and especially China and Japan, is becoming increasingly intense. As such, UNIFE particularly welcomes the decision of the European Parliament’s ITRE Committee to prepare an official Resolution on the competitiveness of European rail supply manufacturers.”

Ms Martina Werner, Member of the European Parliament and reporter for the ITRE Committee’s Resolution on the Competitiveness of the European rail supply industry, stated, “If we want to ensure the long-term competitiveness of the rail supply industry, we need to think more European. This concerns all actors: companies, operators, politicians. We should concentrate on investments in sustainable and interoperable technologies as well as in rail infrastructure and on cooperation of stakeholders, where cooperation has an added value.”

The Resolution is expected to be drafted across the remainder of 2015 and the European rail industry is hoping for an adoption of the Resolution by the European Parliament during the first semester of 2016.

In total, the European rail supply industry employs no less than 400.000 people all over Europe. With absolute sales of €47 billion, this industry currently accounts for 46% of the world market for rail products—this is due to its position as an export-oriented industry with a strong home market, but also due to its focus on innovation.