The European Union’s 100th European Citizens’ Initiative is looking to the future

High-speed rail connecting all European capitals

To make travel faster, more comfortable and sustainable, Europe will need to connect its capitals with High Speed Rail (HSR). High-speed Rail allows trains to travel at speeds in excess of 300 km/h, making travel times up to 800 km shorter by train than by car or plane. Therefore, they do not only accelerate economic development, but also replace short-haul flights with high-speed trains, consequently reducing carbon emissions and removing the nuisance and noise pollution from airports.

Only 6 out of 27 EU countries have local high-speed rail connections, and HSR between EU capitals are rather rare. Europe continues to neglect the potential for the development of long-distance HSR infrastructure. The positive economic effect of the construction of HSR would be measured in billions of euros, and the carbon footprint reduction of the EU would be in the order of hundreds of millions of tons of CO2.

In order to connect the capitals of Europe by HSR, countries need to work together, and therefore we have launched a European Citizens’ Initiative. Under European law, the European Commission is obliged to commit to our goal to connect Europe’s capitals through High-Speed Rail if we collect at least 1,000,000 signatures of EU-citizens. Consequently, many European countries are participating in the initiative.

Would you like the European Commission to commit itself to this purpose and determine our common future? You can, by supporting this European Citizen Initiative. Click on the button below and sign the initiative.

What is a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI)

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is a European Union (EU) mechanism that aims to enhance direct democracy by enabling “EU citizens to participate directly in EU policy-making”, introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007. The initiative enables one million citizens of the European Union who are nationals of at least seven Member States to directly call on the European Commission to propose a legal act (in particular a directive or regulation) in an area in which Member States have delegated powers at EU level. This right to ask the Commission to initiate a legislative proposal puts citizens on the same footing as the European Parliament and the European Council, who enjoy this right under Articles 225 and 241 TFEU respectively.

Sign the initiative

Thus, according to European legislation, the European Commission is obliged to commit to our goal of connecting European capitals by high-speed rail if we collect at least 1,000,000 signatures of EU citizens. Make the Commission work for you and your country, for a better developed and comfortable Europe and sign the initiative.

Do you want the European Commission to commit to this goal and help for our better common future? Support our European Citizens’ Initiative by clicking the button below and signing the initiative. You will be redirected to the European Commission’s website to place your signature.

The 7 benefits of high-speed rail

1. Fastest way to travel

At distances between 200 and 800 km, high-speed rail provides the fastest mode of transportation. Large European hubs such as Barcelona and Madrid, a distance of 650 km, can already be reached within 2.5 hours thanks to its High-Speed Rail connection. Equal distances, eg between the capitals Amsterdam – Berlin, currently travelled in 6 hours, could become accessible in 2.5 hours too as soon true High-Speed Rail would be constructed.

2. Connecting regions

Unlike airplanes, high-speed rail can also be used by a train making a stop every 200 km. For example, while the capitals Amsterdam and Copenhagen can be connected through a non-stop train, another train using the same track at a different time can make a few intermediate stops in large cities such as Groningen, Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck. Consequently, these cities will also gain faster access than currently possible by car, bus or plane.

3. Economic growth and prosperity

Reducing travel times between Europe’s biggest cities improves the EU’s competitive advantages. And not only between capitals: for example, in addition to the non-stop connection between capitals, a train running on the same track at a later time with a stop in several large cities in between also strengthens the economy of these regions. And as a result, it increases the prosperity of its residents.

4. Most sustainable

The most environmentally friendly way to travel is by high-speed train. Many reports on emissions from transport exclude ’emissions at altitude’, meaning that all emissions above 3 km are not taken into account (and therefore unfairly favoring aircraft in the comparison). To determine the greenest travel option based on all emissions, the British government has completed a study that takes all emissions into account: CO2, nitrogen, but also “emissions at altitude”. The study shows that high-speed trains (Eurostar in the UK) are the least polluting travel option, as you can see from the graph.

5. Relieve airports

The inconvenience of too many planes taking off and landing and lack of airport capacity can be balanced by replacing short-haul flights with high-speed rail. This results in decreased greenhouse emissions, reduced noise and less capacity issues that airports have struggled with for years.

6. Less congested roads

The expanding European population and increased prosperity result into more traveling, and consequently, in congested roads. Construction of high-speed rail makes more rail transport available, reducing road congestions as a result.

7. Most comfortable

High-speed rail is the most convenient means of travel. While passengers in cars, buses and planes spend their long journey in a small and ordinary seat, a high-speed train offers much more space, allowing you to walk to the dining car or enjoy the scenery through the window.

Sign the initiative

Get the Commission working for your ambitions for a better Europe and sign the Initiative. Click on the link below and you will be redirected to the European Commission’s website to place your signature.