High Level Rail Event "Boosting Rail Freight Transport in Europe: what worked - what still needs to be done" | 2 April 2024

As part of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Mr. Georges Gilkinet, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mobility invites you to attend the High Level event “Boosting Rail Freight Transport in Europe: what worked – what still needs to be done”. The event will take place on the 2nd of April at the Egmont Palace, Brussels.

Over the last years, numerous initiatives have been taken to enhance the efficiency of rail freight, to reduce barriers to cross-border traffic and move towards an integrated European Railway Area. National requirements and infrastructure needs are still a challenge for both policy makers and the sector, and the complexity of the international rail freight ecosystem hindered so far to achieve the expected results in terms of modal shift. Positive evolutions and success stories around the EU provide a promising foundation upon which we can build to foster modal shift. Rail freight activities can be boosted with a good managerial, business and legislative framework.

Join us to discuss the latest legislative developments, the good practices across various Member States, as well as engage with European stakeholders and political EU and Member States representatives and to reflect on how the EU can meet its modal shift objectives set out by the EU Green Deal and the Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy. This event will give an exciting boost to rail freight over the coming years, with high level representatives shaping the future of sustainable transportation by providing strategic and political guidelines for the next Commission.

Against this backdrop, the Connecting Europe Days 2024, organised by the European Commission, will be held on 2-5 April in Brussels, Belgium. This week will offer a European perspective on concrete measures and exchange good practices on creating a fully decarbonised, resilient, seamless, and digital transport and mobility network in Europe.

Event details


13:00 Registration and networking coffee

Welcome address

By Mathieu Grosch, European Coordinator


Opening speech

By Georges Gilkinet, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mobility


Session 1: Assessment of current initiatives, a sector’s perspective

Sector statements on best practices and bottlenecks

What insights can we draw from the sector’s successes and how can we collectively address the key challenges facing rail freight transportation today and work towards fostering a more robust, efficient, and sustainable rail freight ecosystem?

Panel Debate

How can we unleash the full potential of rail freight by amplifying network capacity, strengthening resilience, and seamlessly integrating cutting-edge technology?

16:30 Coffee break

Session 2: Strategic orientations for the next Commission, a political perspective

What strategic orientations can we give to the next Commission to address the key challenges facing rail freight transportation, promote its growth and sustainability, and facilitate a modal shift towards rail freight?


Concluding speech

By Georges Gilkinet, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mobility


Networking Cocktail

The event will me moderated by Mathieu Grosch, European Coordinator.

The following speakers will share their perspective during the High Level Rail Event:

  • Alberto Mazzola, Executive Director, CER
  • Dirk Stahl, President, ERFA
  • Guus De Mol, Vice-president, RNE
  • Johan Geemels, Commercial Director, Novandi
  • Josef Doppelbauer, Executive Director, ERA
  • Kristian Schmidt, Director of Land Transport at DG Move, European Commission
  • Luca Farina, Planning Manager, Captrain Italia
  • Mark Remie, Managing Director, Fresh Rail
  • Matthias Ruete, European Coordinator for ERTMS at DG Move, European Commission
  • Monika Heiming, Managing Director, EIM
  • Paul Hodgson, Senior Business Manager, CFL Cargo
  • Petros Papaghiannakis, General Manager, LFP Perthus
  • Ralf-Charley Schultze, President, UIRR
  • Sigrid Nikutta, President, RFF
  • Tilly Metz, Member of the European Parliament

Georges Gilkinet, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mobility, invites his colleagues to join the debate:

  • Kaspars Briskens Minister for Transport, Latvia
  • Dr. Volker Wissing, Federal minister for digital affairs and transport, Germany
  • Jindřich Kušnír, Director of the rail department, Ministry of Transport, Czech Republic
  • Ioannis Xifaras, Secretary General, Ministry of infrastructure and Transports, Greece
  • Constantin Gabriel Bunduc, State Secretary with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, Romania


Registration for this event is compulsory and will be open until 20 March.

Please note that there are a limited number of places available for the event.

You can register through the following link.

Given the presence of high level guests, special security measures apply. The registration for this event is a two-stage process: after receiving the confirmation of your registration for the event, you will be invited for accreditation on the online security platform through an access code provided to you.

The organizing entity may refuse your attendance if accreditation on the online security platform has not been completed properly.

The confirmation process can take some days. We thank you for your patience.

Please note that pictures and videos will be taken during the event. Participation in this event will be considered acceptance of the use of these media during and after the event.


Do not hesitate to contact us at HLRailEvent@EU24.be if you have any questions or require further information.