Brussels, 22 June 2006
The European Commission adopted today the orientation for the future EU transport policy. Mobility is essential for Europe’s prosperity and for free movement of citizens. The negative impact of mobility in terms of energy use and environmental quality must be reduced. Next to actions foreseen in the 2001 White Paper, such as boosting rail and maritime connections for long distance freight transport, additional instruments will be needed to achieve these objectives. They include a freight logistics action plan; intelligent transport systems to make mobility greener and more efficient; a debate on how to change mobility of people in urban areas; an action plan to boost inland waterways; and an ambitious programme for green power in trucks and cars.
Commission Vice President in charge of Transport, Jacques Barrot, said: “Mobility is essential for free movement of European citizens and economic growth. The EU will continue to boost rail and waterways for long distance connections. We also need to step up our efforts to make road transport and aviation more efficient and greener. That is why I want to focus on logistics, green propulsion and intelligent transport systems which use the latest technologies”.
The orientations of the transport policy outlined in the review build upon the 2001 White Paper. They include actions to create a competitive European railway network through liberalisation, technological innovation and interoperability of equipment, investment in infrastructure and better market monitoring with a new scoreboard from 2007 onwards. Motorways of the sea and short sea shipping need to be developed with an increased emphasis on landward connections. The European ports policy, which will be launched in 2007, will have as one of its goals increased investment within ports and towards the hinterland.
Smart charging will contribute to a more rational use of infrastructure. The review announces a methodology as a basis for smart infrastructure charging by 2008. There is also a continuation of measures to improve security and safety in various modes. Measures must be stepped up to reach the target of halving the number of people killed on EU roads between 2001 and 2010. A European road safety day will be organised from 2007 onwards to raise awareness and an integrated road safety approach will target vehicle design, infrastructure and driver behaviour. Protection of passenger rights must also be enhanced, most notably in all transport modes for people with limited mobility.
The instruments of the 2001 White Paper must be adapted to a new context of an enlarged Europe, rising petrol prices, Kyoto commitments and globalisation. A European sustainable mobility policy needs more policy tools to optimise the performance of each transport mode and their combined use. The Commission wants to adopt a logistics action plan in 2007 in order to create better synergies between road, sea, rail and river, and integrate various transport modes in logistics chains. This will give the industry a competitive edge but also diminish the environmental impact per unit of freight.
The review puts an increased emphasis on intelligent transport systems. There is no reason why ships, trucks, cars and trains would not have the same sophisticated communication and navigation tools as aircrafts. Real-time management of traffic flows and capacity use as well as tracking will cut costs, improve environmental quality and improve security. Galileo will play a key role to promote new technologies.
Transport accounts for 30% of total energy consumption and 71% of total oil consumption in the EU. The road accounts for 60% of total oil consumption. In order to reduce oil dependence and make transport more sustainable, the Commission will present in 2007 a strategic technology plan for energy and in 2009 a major programme on green-powered vehicles.
Today’s review calls for more ambitious actions to change mobility in
Europe’s urban areas. The Commission will launch a debate on urban
transport policy in 2007 through a Green Paper. The EU can play the role of a
catalyst to encourage decision-makers to better tackle congestion, pollution and
accidents with innovative actions. As part of the debate, a clear view will be
needed on what level of government is responsible for new actions.
The achievements of the past years are positive but more instruments are needed. The policy directions outlined in the White Paper review will be refined on the basis of public consultation with all interested parties and forward-looking studies on transport scenarios of the future.
The Commission plans on deploying a number of concrete actions. Among others these include:
a. Optimisation of existing transport modes
b. Mobility for the citizen
c. Better transport solutions through new technologies
Concrete measures will be decided after consultations and impact assessment.