Today, the representatives of Poland and Spain have concluded a Memorandum of Understanding for the cooperation on the Solidarity Transport Hub. The document provides for cooperation between both countries, which will mainly concern the development of the High-Speed Rail in Poland.
Key discussions were held as part of the 13th Polish-Spanish Intergovernmental Consultations. The meeting resulted in signing the Memorandum of Understanding, in the presence of the Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. On the Polish side, the document was signed by the Government Plenipotentiary for the STH Marcin Horała and on the Spanish side by José Luis Ábalos, Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda.
International cooperation is a key element of the STH preparation process. We perceive high interest of foreign entities not only as a possibility of exchanging the know-how, but also the confirmation of the correctness of the direction in which we are heading. The Memorandum signed today is a clear signal from the western partners that the STH is a necessary, cost-effective and very valuable investment for the entire Central and Eastern Europe.
The Memorandum specifically focuses on cooperation in the development of the Polish High-Speed Rail system. Spain is one of the world leaders in the area of development and administration of the high-speed rail system and Poland is interested in drawing on their experience in this area.
The STH already is creating new economical bonds for Poland. Today’s Memorandum paves the way to engage Spain in the exchange of know-how between two countries, and – on the other hand – to promote industries of both countries. For us it’s a non-binding occasion to use over 30-year Spanish experience in the HSR industry, as well as to broaden our scope of best European technological solutions, which could support creation of High-Speed Rail in Poland.
Spanish high-speed rail system
Currently, the Spanish high-speed rail is 3402 km long and the trains reach up to 310 km/h. The HSR in Spain accounts for 22% of the total railway network in the country, compared to 10% in France and 4% in Germany. In the future, it is planned to connect the Spanish HSR network with the one in France. Railway infrastructure (including high-speed rail) in Spain is administered by the state enterprise ADIF and the company operating AVE rolling stock is RENFE.
The Spanish high-speed rail Alta Velocidad Española (AVE) has been in operation since 1992 (the construction began four years earlier), it has become the largest HSR network in Europe within nearly 30 years and is still being developed. Spain started to build a high-speed network as the last of the large European Union countries and currently the network is 700 km longer than the French one, which has been built for 70 years.
STH international cooperation
The ranks of international STH partners are growing dynamically. Cooperation with the Government of Great Britain started in 2020 and with the Government of South Korea in February 2021. In the latter case, the Ministers concluded their cooperation in parallel with the strategic advice agreement which, for STH, is carried out by the Korean Incheon Airport in Seoul. In the horizon, there are further countries that want to join the ranks of STH partners.
As part of the European Commission grant awarded to the STH, workshops with the French SNCF railways have also been carried out since the end of 2020. The objective is to support Polish institutions and entities responsible for the implementation of the HSR as part of the STH in providing knowledge and experience to create and manage the high-speed rail system in Poland.
The 13th Polish-Spanish Intergovernmental Consultations concerned strategic cooperation between both countries in areas such as: energy transformation, infrastructure, transport, development of digital technologies and synergy of national recovery plans. Strengthening cooperation in these areas is an important element in overcoming the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, from which both Poland and Spain hope to emerge stronger, more resilient and more modern. These elements are visible in the NRPs of both countries – in both cases, their key pillars are green transformation, digitization and tackling social and territorial exclusion.