Railway station, in the large metropolitan areas of the EU, have always attracted and been a focus for the concentration of many forms of social hardship.
The various experiences of individual countries are the subject of a continuous exchange of views in the context of the Gare Européenne et Solidarité, a European network of railway companies, which have decided to share and exploit their experiences in the area of social hardship.
The European network was set up in Rome in 2008 with the signature of the European Solidarity Charter European (Charter for the Development of Social Initiatives in Railway Stations) by the railway operators of five European countries: Italy (FS Italiane), France (SNCF), Luxembourg (CFL), Belgium (SNCB) and Poland (PKP). The charter has since been signed by another seven European railway companies from Romania (CFR), Slovenia (Zeleznice), Norway (NSB), Bulgaria (NRIC), Denmark (DSB), Czech Republic (CD) and Sweden (Jernhusen).
The European charter for solidarity is a document inspired by the Lisbon Treaty, involving the joint efforts of railway and urban transport companies, and signatory associations and institutions. The signatories of the European charter for solidarity are inspired by the European Green Paper on corporate social responsibility. Lastly, the principles of the European charter are part of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.
In 2017, the network, which is the only one of its kind in the scope of European CSR, consisted of 17 partners sharing the same vision for civic and social commitment, in particular with regard to the railway companies’ methods to manage social distress. The network wants to grow, and involve not only the other European railway networks, but also open the doors to affiliates from the public authorities, administrations and the major organisations working in the field of homelessness.
The network wants to grow, and involve not only the other European railway networks, but also open the doors to affiliates from the public authorities, administrations and the major organisations working in the field of homelessness.
This is why our European social network now includes other organisations, who have signed parallel pacts such as the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA), the most important European network of homelessness associations, the International Union of Railways (UIC), the Spanish Railways Foundation and the cities of Paris and Rome.