Building Sustainable Rail Systems in Western Balkans

Pristina, 23 February – This week in Pristina, the Transport Community Permanent Secretariat organised three back-to-back events focused on building a user-friendly, easy-to-maintain, efficient and sustainable rail system in the Western Balkans.

The Rail Excellence Summit on 21 February highlighted the need to create job opportunities and attract young people to railway companies and administrations. By bringing rail experts, universities, and government representatives to discuss these issues, we want to keep the talent in the region and spur innovation and technological development in the rail sector. The next step is establishment of a regional centre for rail excellence with universities, rail companies and administrations. This initiative was set in motion by the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation by the educational institutions and the railway companies from South East Europe. The centre will identify and execute knowledge transfer in order to improve the quality of the rail systems with the ultimate goal of speeding up development of rail transport systems in South East Europe in line with state-of-the-art EU rail systems.

The Rail Technical Committee on 22 February discussed how to eliminate barriers to interoperability and create a fully integrated rail system in the region. The main achievements of 2022 were summed up, followed by discussion on 2023 priorities. Harmonisation of the national rail legislation with EU Rail Acquis, implementation of railway infrastructure projects, access to the European Electronic Register of Vehicles (EEVR) and future trainings, were only some of the topics that participants discussed in Pristina and online.

Finally, to contribute to regional rail experts’ education, Transport Community and the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) organised a training dedicated to train driver licensing on 23 February for 20 participants from the Western Balkans and 10 online participants.