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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 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.

Missions 2015

  •   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.

  • 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 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.