Belgium backs rail travel as an alternative to flying in Europe

Belgium backs rail travel as an alternative to flying in Europe
Credit: Sunweb

Belgium's House of Representatives approved a resolution "for European support for international rail passenger transport" on Thursday.

The resolution calls on the Federal Government to defend an EU-wide "policy of financial support for the development and accessibility of international rail transport."

This support would be "in particular through a mechanism, such as a European tax on aircraft fuel, which compensates for the disadvantage linked to the structural cost of rail transport."

Meanwhile, the aviation sector is struggling, with airlines and other businesses in the sector facing bankruptcy and layoffs and requesting state aid.

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The text also calls on the government "to take any initiative with neighbouring Member States to reduce the cost of train paths at night."

Belgium will also "examine which new international routes have potential for Belgium" and what would be necessary to establish them.

20 January marked the return of a night railway line in Belgium between Brussels and Vienna, operated by the Austrian company ÖBB.

"In hindsight, we realise that it was a mistake to do away with night trains in view of the climate challenges," said socialist MP Mélissa Hanus.

"Symbolically, it is a strong signal that we are voting on this text this week, at a time when it has been decided to reopen borders, when international business and private travel is resuming."

The Brussels Times

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