Brussels, 15 April 2014
European Parliament votes for more modern inland waterway transport
The European Parliament voted today in first reading on two proposals by the Commission regarding inland waterway transport: a proposal to facilitate the use of the Reserve fund and another relating to technical requirements for inland waterway vessels.
Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for Transport said “I welcome the vote of the Parliament on these two proposals. The inland waterway sector needs to be a real alternative for transport and our package of proposals is needed to use Europe's rivers and canals to their full potential to the benefit of the transport network."
The NAIADES II "Towards quality inland waterway transport", adopted in September 2013, sets out an action programme for the period 2014 – 2020 aiming at creating favourable conditions for inland navigation in the field of infrastructure, innovation, functioning of the market, environmental standards, and jobs and skills.
The Reserve fund in the inland waterway transport sectori includes currently around € 35 million and has never been used. With the vote today, Parliament agrees to broaden the scope of the measures towards training schemes, not only for workers in the sector, but for all crew members. Additionally, it will be possible to use the funds for innovation of vessels and their adaption to technical progress with regards to the environment. With the approval of the European Parliament, and since the Council of Ministers has already given its agreement, the amended Regulation can enter into force in this legislature.
The proposal for a Directive laying down technical requirements for inland waterway vessels aims at facilitating and improving the adoption procedures when adapting and updating the technical standards for inland waterway vessels. After the vote in the Parliament, the Council of Ministers is expected to take its position on the proposed Directive.
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The Reserve fund was established in the framework of Council Regulation (EC) N° 718/99 on a Community-fleet capacity policy to promote inland waterway transport and has been financed by the inland waterway transport industry.