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Karel Vinck

Karel Vinck was born on 19 September 1938 in Aalst, Belgium.

Previous assignments

1971–1973: Consultant in organisations, Eternit S.p.A. – Genua (Italy)

1971–1973: Guest Professor at the University of Louvain (Belgium)

1973–1975: CEO, Eternit S.p.A. – Genua (Italy)

1975–1978: CEO, Eternit N.V. – Brussels (Belgium)

1978–1983: CEO of Compagnie Financière Eternit, Belgium and of a number of companies the Eternit Group

1983–1985: Managing Director Bekaert Group, Zwevegem (Belgium)

1985–1994: CEO Bekaert Group, Zwevegem (Belgium)

1994–2000: CEO Umicore (ex-Union Minière), Brussels (Belgium)

1997-2000: Honorary Chairman of the Flemish employers association

2002: Chairman Board of Directors Umicore, Brussels (Belgium)

2002–2004: CEO Sibelco

2002–2005: Chief Executive Officer SNCB (Belgian Railways), Brussels

2004-2005: Chairman of CER (The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies)

2008–2013: Chairman Board of BAM - Management Company Mobility Antwerp

Current tasks

Since 2005: Chairman Board of Directors Cumerio, Brussels (Belgium)

Karel Vinck holds other positions: ViA - Vlaanderen in Actie (Flemish Government), VRWB - Flemish Science Policy Council, Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, Muntschouwburg.

He has been European Coordinator for ERTMS since July 2005. 

On 12th March 2014 Mr Vinck was appointed European Coordinator for ERTMS . He has also been appointed as provisional European Coordinator of the Orient/East-Med Corridor pdf - 2 MB [2 MB] until 30 June 2014.

Contact Mr Karel Vinck here.


Mr Vinck's information note on the CEF call 2014 results pdf - 200 KB [200 KB]

Missions 2016

  • Trilateral meeting with representatives of the British Ministry of Transport and Network Rail, 24 February 2016, London

Mr Vinck had an open and constructive discussion with representatives of the Department for Transport and Rail Network. Mr Doppelbauer, Executive Director of the European Railway Agency took part as well in the meeting. This meeting provided the opportunity to talk about technical questions and solutions and about the necessary steps to be done for the drafting of the new ERTMS deployment plan. In order to thoroughly analyse the possibility of using innovative financing instruments in UK for ERTMS, dedicated bilateral discussions are planned.

  • Trilateral meeting at the French Ministry with participation of SNCF Reseau, 1 February 2016

On 1 February 2016 Mr Vinck had a high-level trilateral meeting at the French Ministry with participation of SNCF Reseau. In the discussion France confirmed that the branch between Luxembourg and Basel of the North Sea – Mediterranean Core Network Corridor together with some high-speed lines of other Core network Corridors will be equipped by 2020 at the latest. France also announced that the feasibility study on ERTMS equipment of the French Core network delivered results that the equipment of some lines outside the Corridors would have a positive business case.

  • Meeting with ALSTOM, 1 February 2016

Mr Vinck met Mr Henri Poupart-Lafarge, CEO of Alstom to discuss current technical and product delivery issues. Mr Poupart-Lafarge highlighted that stabilisation of the specification is crucial for high-quality products and urged the role of ERA as system authority that will significantly contribute to this aim.

  • Trilateral meeting with representatives of the Czech Ministry of Transport and Czech Infrastructure Manager (SZDC), 26 January 2016

Mr Vinck had a constructive meeting with representatives of the Czech Ministry of Transport and the Czech Infrastructure Manager (SZDC) on 26 January 2016. Czech Republic presented its ambitious ERTMS implementation plan and confirmed its commitment to equip almost all Core Network Corridor sections in its territory by 2020. Some of the cross-border cooperations are ongoing and well working, some need to be established. Czech Republic is planning to equip more than 800 locomotives by 2020 as well.

  • Trilateral meeting with the Hungarian Transport Ministry and Infrastructure Managers, 6 January 2016

Mr Vinck had his first trilateral meeting with representatives of the Hungarian Transport Ministry and Infrastructure Managers. Mr Becsey, Under-States Secretary of the Transport Ministry received the ERTMS Coordinator and discussed with him the following issues: Hungary's ERTMS deployment for infrastructure and for locos in the current programming period and in the period 2020-2030, cooperation with neighbouring countries at cross-border sections, and planned participation in the upcoming CEF Call. Hungary gave us their first experiences with the products delivered by the European suppliers. The Hungarian Transport Ministry and the infrastructure managers welcomed the technical support provided by the ERTMS Deployment Management Team that will make use of it.

 Missions 2015

  • Meeting with high-level representatives of the German Ministry of Transport and Deutsch Bahn Netz Ag, 7 December 2015

On 7 December 2015 Mr Vinck had a fruitful and open discussion with high-level representatives of the German Ministry of Transport and Deutsch Bahn Netz Ag. Ms Horn and Mr Sennhenn confirmed again the technical and financial feasibility to deploy the Rhine-Alpine Core Network Corridor by 2022 at the latest and informed Mr Vinck that the agreement on the additional seven cross-border projects is closed to finalisation. Mr Vinck explained the next steps to be taken on the way towards a new EDP. Germany presented the methodology of their analysis to be carried out for the sections along the Core Network Corridors, to be equipped between 2020-2030. Next high-level meeting is planned for March 2016.

  • Tri-lateral meeting, 5 October 2015, Madrid

On 5 October 2015 Mr Vinck had a useful and informative trilateral meeting in Madrid to discuss the Breakthrough Program and implementation plan in Spain. Spain confirmed that in the first period (2015-2020) ERTMS implementation will focus on the deployment of high-speed lines, the conventional and mixed lines will be deployed mostly beyond 2020. Beside the Mr Manuel Niño González, Secretary General of Infrastructures, also representatives of ADIF, RENFE and the Spanish national safety authority participated in the meeting and reported about the current problems with the quality of delivered ERTMS products. Mr Vinck announced to take contact with the European suppliers to discuss those issues.

  • H igh level meeting with representatives of UK , 14 July2015

On 14 July 2015 Mr Vinck met with high-level representatives of Department for Transport and of the Network Rail in London. The objective of this trilateral, high-level meeting was to discuss the objectives of the Breakthrough Program, in particular ERTMS deployment in UK. UK informed Mr Vinck that the national deployment plan of UK is being reviewed currently in order to accelerate ERTMS implementation on its network. Representatives of the Ministry and the railway infrastructure explained that this national plan is based on a cost benefit analysis and ERTMS implementation will be executed according to this planning. UK will implement the North Sea – Mediterranean Core Network Corridor on its territory beyond 2020.The meeting agreed that this trilateral discussion will continue in the future, next meeting shall take place in January 2016.

  • UNIFE General Assembly, Bucharest, 18 June 2015

Mr Vinck - together with Mr Olivier Onidi, Director of European mobility network Directorate of DG MOVE and Mr Doppelbauer, Executive Director of the European Railway Agency - have been invited by the Presiding Board of UNIFE to a working lunch at the margin of the General Assembly in Bucharest. During an open and constructive discussion, Mr Bertling, President of the UNIFE Presiding Board, thanked for the efforts of the European ERTMS Coordinator and his Breakthrough Program, and for the efforts of ERA and the European Commission for delivering stability, deployment objectives and tools. Presiding Board confirmed its commitment to provide their contribution in terms of discipline and cost reduction. Furthermore, in the meeting it was discussed how the objective of standardised on-board equipment could be reached.
After this working lunch meeting, Mr Vinck explained the participants of the assembly in a round table discussion what has been achieved so far and what are the next steps to be done to implement the Breakthrough Program by 2016.

  • High level meeting with representatives of Poland, 9 June 2015

On 9 June 2015 Mr Vinck met with Slawomir Zalobka (Under State Secretary, Ministry of Infrastructure) and Mr Maciej Kaczorek (Director of Strategic Planning Department) in Warszawa. The objective of this trilateral, high-level meeting was to discuss the objectives of the Breakthrough Program, in particular ERTMS deployment in Poland in the period 2015-2020. Topics like cooperation between Rail Freight Corridors and Core Network Corridors, and 4th Railway Package were partially addressed during the meeting as well. In the meeting it was agreed that this trilateral discussion will continue in the future.

  • High level meeting with representatives of France, Paris, 3 June 2015

On 3 June 2015 Mr Vinck met with Christophe Saintillan, Director of Rail Directorate at the Ministry of Transport and Romain Dubois, Director - Network Access at SNCF Réseau in Paris. The objective of this trilateral, high-level meeting was to discuss with France its overall planning of ERTMS deployment along the Core Network Corridor - before 2020 and between 20210 and 2030. Specific attention was paid the implementation of the North Sea Mediterranean Corridor. The participants agreed that a reliable business case for ERTMS is the condition of investments made for the European Train Control System.

  • High level meeting with representatives of Germany, Frankfurt, 5 May 2015

On 5 May 2015 Mr Vinck met with Ms Horn (Director of Land transport of BMVI) and Mr Sennhenn (CEO Deutsche Bahn Netz Ag.) in Frankfurt. The objective of this trilateral, high-level meeting was to identify as precise as possible the sections in Germany that can be implemented between 2015-2020. Furthermore, Mr Vinck reported about the current financing opportunities for ERTMS at EU level and asked for information about the financing opportunities in Germany. He also explained the planned procedure and timeframe of the EDP review. The meeting concluded that this trilateral discussion will continue in the future.

  • Working breakfast at the Representation of Land Hamburg, Berlin, 22 April 2015

After welcoming words of Coordinator Bodewig, Mr Vinck made a presentation about strategic positioning and competitiveness of rail in Europe and how TEN-T Guidelines and Connecting Europe Facility can contribute to increase its competitiveness. Furthermore, he explained the principles and objectives of his Breakthrough program. In particular this last item generated a constructive discussion between Mr Vinck and the audience. Among the guests were also some members of Bundestag's Transport Committee.

  • Meetings and Alpine Conference in Innsbruck, 18-20 March 2015

The European Coordinators had the opportunity to discuss the reactions of some Member States on the submitted Work Plans. They also agreed on the necessary steps to be taken in the upcoming weeks to send out the final version of the Work Plans. ERTMS and the breakthrough program played an eminent role during the discussion. It has been agreed that the Coordinators responsible for horizontal objectives (ERTMS and Motorways of the Sea) will continue contributing with their separate Work Plans to the completion of the Trans-European Transport Network, maintaining a strong coherence between their Work Plans and the ones for Core Network Corridors.
With this ocassion, Mr Vinck had the opportunity to discuss bilaterally with representatives of cross-border projects in order to tackle specific difficulties and solutions for ERTMS equipment at cross-border sections. He also participated actively in the round table discussions about procurement and legal issues, communication, project structures etc. He also discussed ERTMS related questions with high representatives of participating Member States, like France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria etc.
A fruitful discussion between Commissioner Bulc and the European Coordinators closed this interesting three-day-event.

  • Meeting with high representatives of the French Ministry of Transport, Paris, 9-10 March 2015

Mr Vidalies invited the Coordinators responsible for corridors crossing through France and horizontal projects. He thanked the Coordinators for their efforts and the work plans submitted in December 2014. He also gave an overview about the main priorities of his country and the ambitious projects to be implemented along the corridors. He confirmed that France submitted a big number of proposals for co-funding under CEF.
Mr Vinck had the opportunity to explain the Breakthrough program and its objectives. He highlighted the need of a standardised on-board equipment that is able to run everywhere in Europe. Mr Vinck explained the review process of the European Deployment Plan as well. Mr Vidalies stated that ERTMS is one of the main priorities and detailed comments about the Work Plan will be sent to Mr Vinck. He also confirmed that the Luxembourg – Basel line will be operational by 2018.

  • Meetings with representatives of the Finnish Transport Ministry and Transport Agency, 3-4 March 2015, Helsinki

On 3-4 March 2015 Mr Vinck met high-level representatives of the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications to discuss ERTMS related issues. Mr Vinck explained the objectives of his Breakthrough Program that is supposed to create the conditions for realising full interoperability in Europe. He referred to the core elements of the program: definition of standard on-board equipment, stable and mature specifications and review of the European Deployment Plan. Ms Minna Kivimäki, Director General of the Ministry, agreed with Mr Vinck in the objectives of the Breakthrough program. Furthermore, the representatives of the Ministry and the Transport Agency have been informed about the financing possibilities of CEF, including innovative financing instruments of EFSI. In general terms, Finland proposed the Commission to have more brainstorming meetings with the Member States, similarly to the Meeting of Director-Generals for Transport Policy on EU transport policies for the next years on 27 February 2015.


Missions 2014

  • Meeting with Dr Grube, CEO Deutsche Bahn AG – 3 September 2014

On 3rd September 2014, the European Coordinators who are leading the Corridors crossing Germany had the opportunity to jointly meet the CEO of Deutsche Bahn to discuss the EU core network policy.

Deutsche Bahn: Dr Grube, Fried, Miram, Sellnick, Lueberrink
European Coordinators: Ana Palacio, Pat Cox, Mathieu Grosch, Carlo Secchi, Karel Vinck

All participants confirmed the importance of this joint meeting. Mr Grube invited the Coordinators to a follow-up meeting with the DB Board before the end of this year.
The following issues were raised by the Coordinators: Germany should make the use of CEF budget more attractive for rail infrastructure managers; lack of private investment; standardisation of equipment to be imposed on suppliers; external dimension TEN-T; need for accompanying measures; financial support for noise protection measures; the need to move from a conversation on design to a conversation on implementation.
Dr Grube stated that in the beginning DB was quite reluctant towards TEN-T. However, this attitude has changed completely. TEN-T offers a chance for leadership to develop a real transport network. DB is an international operator. In this context core network corridors are of the highest priority and instrumental for achieving such international market. Mr Grube also said that he appreciates the open and constructive dialogue.

  • Hearing at the NL Parliament and meeting with Ms Mansveld, NL State Secretary of Transport, Den Haag, 15 May 2014

Mr Vinck has been invited to the hearing on ERTMS at the Dutch Parliament on 15 May 2014. The purpose of this hearing was to give an overview to the Parliament Members about the recently submitted national (Dutch) ERTMS deployment plan. Mr Vinck welcomed the Dutch Deployment Plan that explains the implementation process in The Netherlands in a logical way and in detail. Mr Vinck informed the Members of the Dutch Parliament about ERTMS in European context, about its importance and added value at national and European level. Mr Vinck was accompanied by Mr Verslype, Executive Director of the European Railway Agency. In the framework of this hearing Mr Vinck and Mr Verslype had the occasion to have a bilateral discussion with Ms Mansveld, State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment of the Netherlands.

  • EU Railway Conference, Lille, 7 May 2014

Mr Vinck has been invited by the European Railway Agency to the EU Railway Conference where he made a keynote speech on ERTMS. In his speech he highlighted the need to focus on limited number of priorities and actions in the upcoming 2 years. He also underlined the importance to follow the "users first" principle, where he identified the Railway Undertakings as the most important users: they must be able to offer a service which meets the requirements of the customers who are only interested in rail as far as it is a competitive transport mode in the broad sense.

  • Inauguration event of Rail Freight Corridors Rhine-Alpine and North Sea – Mediterranean, Ghent, 20 March 2014

Mr Vinck participated together with his Coordinator colleagues, Ms Ana Palacio and Mr Péter Balázs, in the Inauguration event of Rail Freight Corridors Rhine-Alpine and North Sea – Mediterranean that has been attended by high level Infrastructure Managers and Railway undertakings. All three Coordinators were invited to make a short statement in the beginning of the conference and they replied to questions of the audience later on. Mr Vinck thanked the Management and Executive Boards of both Rail Freight Corridors for their excellent work and congratulated them with the good results achieved. He also passed a clear message that both Corridors should be equipped with ERTMS by 2018, in order to contribute to the realisation of interoperable and efficient railway network in Europe.
In the framework of the event Mr Vinck and his Coordinator colleagues had the opportunity to have bilateral discussions amongst others with Ms Mansveld, State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment of The Netherlands and Mr Wathelet, State Secretary for Environment, Energy and Mobility of Belgium. In these meetings ERTMS and Rail Freight Corridor related issues were discussed.

  • Meeting with Dr. Kefer, Member of Deutsche Bahn Management Board responsible for Services and Infrastructure, Berlin, 12 March 2014

Mr Vinck met Dr Kefer and Mr Sennhenn (Chairman of the Management Board) in Berlin on 12 March to discuss the state of play of ERTMS implementation in Germany. Mr Vinck underlined that the Commission's first priority is Baseline 3, so that the track side and loco equipment can start as soon as possible. In the next years the Commission will focus on the most significant cross-border sections in the EU with the involvement of Member States, Infrastructure Managers and National Safety Authorities. Mr Vinck highlighted that it would be essential that the Rhine-Alpine Corridor is operational by 2018.