European railways: How to ensure passengers are safe? - EU monitor

EU monitor
Thursday, November 21, 2019
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Source: V. (Violeta) Bulc i, published on Friday, May 13 2016.

This week started with a very productive conference on rail passenger security. The conference brought together national transport authorities, experts from rail industry and their partners in the security industry to see how we can work together to ensure that passengers are safe and secure when they travel on European railways.

The EU relies on global connectivity and a strong single market. Safe and secure transport networks are therefore essential. Rail therefore has a central part to play in our future multi-modal transport system. If the travelling public does not have confidence in rail as being safe and secure, then it cannot grow as a competitive service, serving the needs of people and business. The public and staff must have confidence in rail and it is our duty as regulators to ensure this. Sadly, nowadays terrorism can strike anywhere and therefore we need to re-evaluate and re-assess measures in transport in the current climate. I'm pleased that key experts and players in the sector were present at the conference to discuss rail security and exchange ideas on how to tackle the threat of terror.

We have highlighted four areas of action where we can (and should) do better:

1. Sharing intelligence, best practices and learning from the experience of other countries - this applies to public authorities as well as the industry.

2. Better training for staff - on-board trains or in stations and the development of first aid skills.

3. Deployment of smart digital technologies to better serve people as well as more research and innovation in this field. This could be explosives and weapons detection - or even better, video-surveillance using facial recognition and greater use of behavioural science.

4. Putting in place security programmes for rail companies and railway stations with action plans to adjust security to the current level of threat.

We definitely need a coherent approach in Europe to effectively protect important multimodal hubs and ensure a high level of security to the European citizens. The Commission is ready to explore base-line standards for rail services - but only if there is support to do so. I will put the question of security to Ministers in the near future. Specifically I will ask them, whether or not they see a role for binding EU rules to enhance the readiness of rail to prevent and react to terrorist attacks.

We must be realistic. If we want an open mass transit system in place, there will always be some risk. The challenge and our duty is to reduce that risk as much as possible. It is also essential that, as far as possible, public transport remains open, attractive and easily accessible. Rail should remain as far as possible an open system in order for it to continue to function correctly as a means of mass transport.

Later in the week I travelled to Strasbourg, where we had our weekly commission meeting. We discussed the results of the spring semester and Greece. After the College meeting, the schedule was filled with activities and meetings in the European Parliament. I attended a hearing with the European Conservatives and Reformist group, where we discussed the challenges and opportunities in transport. Later, I met with ALDE Group members (Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament) to exchange views about the European Commission 2017 work programme. I also spoke with the President of the transport committee in the European Parliament, Mr Michael Cramer about the future development of transport initiatives. Finally, I had a positive discussion with Mr Andor Deli, a Hungarian member of the European Parliament about transport opportunities and challenges in Western Balkan region, financing opportunities offered by the European Investment Plan, and the upcoming TEN-T Days conference. We are both looking forward to the event in June, where ministers, Members of the European Parliament and key stakeholders will meet in Rotterdam to discuss how to boost funding and financing in transport infrastructure, focusing on the development of the Trans-European Transport Network.

Evropske železnice: kako zagotoviti varnost potnikov?

Teden sem začela z zelo produktivno konferenco o železniški varnosti. Dogodek je povezal nacionalne predstavnike iz prometnega sektorja ter strokovnjake iz železniške in varnostne industrije. Pogovarjali smo se o različnih možnostih sodelovanja, da lahko skupaj zagotovimo varnost evropskih potnikov v železniškem prometu.

EU se zanaša na globalno povezljivost in močen skupen notranji trg. Za dosego tega so dobra in varna prometna omrežja bistvenega pomena. Ena izmed glavnih vlog v razvoju prihodnjega multimodalnega prometnega sistema pa pripada železnicam. Če javnost nima zaupanja v železnice kot varen način prevoza, potem se ta ne more razvijati kot konkurenčna storitev, ki zadovoljuje potrebe ljudi in podjetij. Javnost mora železnicam zaupati, in naloga nas kot regulatorjev je, da poskrbimo za ustrezne pogoje, da se to lahko zgodi. Žal živimo v svetu, kjer lahko terorizem udari kjerkoli in kadarkoli, zato moramo temu prilagoditi tudi ukrepe v prometnem sektorju. Veseli me, da so bili na konferenci prisotni ključni deležniki v tem sektorju, s katerimi lahko skupaj poiščemo ustrezne rešitve za boljšo varnost na evropskih železnicah.

Izpostavili smo štiri področja, na katerih lahko (in moramo) ukrepati bolje:

  • 1. 
    Izmenjava podatkov in dobrih praks ter učenje iz izkušenj drugih držav. To velja tako za javne službe kot za zasebna podjetja.
  • 2. 
    Bolje izobraževanje zaposlenih na vlakih in postajah za ukrepanje v primeru nesreč in prve pomoči.
  • 3. 
    Uvedba pametnih digitalnih tehnologij, ki prinašajo več koristi za ljudi ter več razvoja in inovacij na tem področju. To so lahko naprave za prepoznavanje orožja in eksploziva ali pa - še bolje - video nadzor z možnostjo prepoznave obrazov in večja uporaba vedenjskih znanosti.
  • 4. 
    Uvedba varnostnih programov v železniških podjetjih in postajah z akcijskim načrtom, ki prilagaja varnostne ukrepe trenutni stopnji ogroženosti.

V Evropi nedvomno potrebujemo povezan pristop k varnosti, če želimo ustrezno zaščititi pomembna multimodalna prometna središča in zagotoviti ustrezno varnost za potnike. Komisija je pripravljena oblikovati osnovne varnostne standarde na evropskih železnicah - a le, če za to obstaja podpora. O tem bom kmalu govorila z ministri držav članic in jih povprašala, ali v obvezujočih EU varnostnih pravilih vidijo ustrezno pot k pripravljenosti evropskih železnic na preprečevanje terorističnih napadov in zagotavljanje varnosti.

Moramo biti realistični. Če želimo imeti dostopen in masoven prometni sistem, bo vedno obstajala določena stopnja tveganja. Izziv (in naša dolžnost) je, da to tveganje kar se da zmanjšamo. Prav tako je zelo pomembno, da javni prevoz ostane, kolikor je to mogoče, odprt, dostopen in privlačen. Če želimo, da vlak deluje kot masovno prevozno sredstvo, moramo poskrbeti, da kljub zagotavljanju varnosti ostane dostopen ljudem in enostaven za uporabo.

V drugem delu tedna sem potovala v Strasbourg, kjer je potekal redni tedenski sestanek s komisarji. Govorili smo o rezultatih spomladanskega semestra in Grčiji. Pozneje sem nadaljevala aktivnosti v Evropskem parlamentu: na parlamentarnem zaslišanju s Skupino Evropskih konservativcev in reformistov smo razpravljali o razvoju prometnih tem, s predstavniki politične skupine ALDE pa smo se pogovarjali o delovnem programu Evropske komisije za leto 2017. Prav tako sem se o razvoju prometnih iniciativ pogovarjala s predsednikom odbora za promet v Evropskem parlamentu g. Michaelom Cramerjem. Za konec pa sem se srečala še z Madžarskim poslancem Andorjem Delijem, s katerim sva govorila o razvoju prometnega omrežja in zakonskih okvirov za vzpodbujanje investicij na Zahodnem Balkanu, priložnostih za financiranje, ki jih ponuja Naložbeni načrt za Evropo, ter o prihajajoči konferenci TEN-T. Gre za pomemben dogodek, ki se bo junija odvijal v Rotterdamu. Na njem se bodo srečali ministri, člani Evropskega parlamenta ter ključni deležniki prometnega in finančnega sektorja z namenom pospešitve financiranja in vlaganja v evropsko prometno infrastrukturo.