Over the past couple of days, Zagreb had the opportunity to host the Connecting Europe Express train, which arrived at Zagreb’s Central Station on Saturday afternoon.
As the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure says, it is a special train marking the European Year of Railways 2021. It set off from Lisbon station on September 2 on its way to Europe. On the five-week trip to Paris, where it will arrive on October 7, it will stop in more than 100 cities and connect 26 countries in 36 days.
The Ministry further explains that Connecting Europe Express is the result of successful cooperation between the European Commission, the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies and a number of other partners. In order to realize this project, European countries, cities and railway companies have joined forces in order to promote the railway, which as the most environmentally-friendly form of transport should become the first choice in the transport of citizens and goods.
With the organization of this train, the European Commission in 2021 launched a series of activities to encourage citizens and businesses to use rail transport and thus contribute to the goal of the European Green Plan, according to which the European Union should become climate neutral by 2050.
The arrival of the train on Saturday
On behalf of the European Commission, the train was welcomed on September 11 in Zagreb by Deputy Director General for Mobility and Transport Maja Bakran Marcich, Deputy Mayor of Zagreb Luka Korlaet and State Secretary for Railways at the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Alen Gospočić and representatives of the Croatian railway sector. On that occasion, the participants exchanged the flags of the city of Zagreb, Croatia and the European Union as symbols of European diversity and unity.
Railways play an important role in the future of Europe. It brings us closer and connects us. It is crucial for the economy and plays a major role in the implementation of the European Green Plan. Transport accounts for almost a quarter of EU greenhouse gas emissions and is a major cause of urban air pollution. Achieving climate neutrality will require a 90% reduction in total emissions from transport by 2050. With the strategy for sustainable and smart mobility, we are raising our ambition to a higher level. We want high-speed rail traffic to double across Europe by 2030 and triple by 2050. To achieve this, we need to complete the Trans-European Transport Network.Bakran Marcich
The delegation of the City of Zagreb was led by the Deputy Mayor of the City of Zagreb Luka Korlaet, who on that occasion emphasized that the City of Zagreb owes its growth and development to the railway:
The Republic of Croatia, i.e. the City of Zagreb as the capital of the Republic of Croatia, is in an extremely important geo-traffic position. A position that connects Central, Eastern and Southern Europe and will always be a link and a strong link with existing EU members and new neighboring countries that are in the process of accession. The City of Zagreb provides support as part of achieving the goals of this project at the international level and all other related projects and initiatives. As the new city administration, we are committed to working on the significant green transition of the City of Zagreb. The role of the railway in this is exceptional and we see the railway as one of the main means of transport that connects Zagreb with its surroundings and Europe.Korlaet
A number of railway projects in the Republic of Croatia are being implemented with co-financing from European funds. State Secretary at the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Alen Gospočić spoke about significant investments in the railway system:
Currently, as many as 19 large projects are in various phases that will enable an attractive, fast, safe, economically viable and competitive transport service. We are also investing in improving the quality of passenger transport services. By the end of 2023, we are procuring 33 new trains worth a total of about 170 million euros, of which 21 trains are co-financed by the Cohesion Fund. We are making maximum efforts to raise the railway system to a new level.Gospočić
On September 12, the Connecting Europe Express train continued its journey to Belgrade. In five weeks, the train will cover more than 20,000 kilometers.