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Brussels, 9 December 2011

Transport Council – 12 December 2011

The EU's Council of transport ministers will meet in Brussels on Monday 12 December under the Polish Presidency. From the European Commission, Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport and mobility, will present agenda items on the recast of the first railway package, tachographs, the minimum level of training for seafarers and the guidelines for the development of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). Vice-President Antonio Tajani will present in the Council a proposal on the completion of the Galileo infrastructure and the exploitation of the European satellite navigation programmes.

Establishing a single European railway area

On 20 September 2010, the Commission submitted to the European Parliament and the Council a proposal with the aim of recasting the first railway package in order to simplify, clarify and modernise the regulatory environment in Europe's railway sector whilst making progress towards the Europe 2020 strategy.

The objective of the recast initiative is to facilitate proper transposition and efficient implementation of EU law in all Member States. Furthermore, the intention is to update the legislation by eliminating outdated provisions and by introducing new provisions which respond more appropriately to the functioning of the railway market today. It aims at more transparency on financing. (IP/10/1139 and SPEECH/11/754)

The European Parliament adopted its first reading on 16 November. The Council could reach a political agreement.

Recording equipment in road transport (tachographs)

Tachographs play a key role in the road transport internal market. They ensure that the rules on driving time and rest periods are properly enforced. They avoid distortion of competition between operators and drivers accumulating fatigue which is one of the main causes of accidents.

A properly functioning tachograph system is of high importance and that we should improve the current system to reduce frauds and make it easier to use for the transport operators.

The proposal adopted by the Commission aims at updating the current regulation for new technological solutions and reducing administrative burdens. (IP/11/903)

The Council could reach a partial general approach.

The minimum level of training of seafarers

The Commission proposal aims to align EU law with international rules by transposing the so-called Manila amendments to the International Maritime Organization's Convention on training and certification of seafarers.

Proper training of seafarers is one of the pillars of safe shipping. The new rules update standards on medical fitness, fitness for duty, and alcohol abuse and introduce new certifications, such as the one of 'able seafarer' and 'electro-technical officer'.

The new directive will also help to get a more accurate statistical picture of the maritime profession in Europe, which is definitely needed in order to elaborate statistics about the maritime profession. (IP/11/1031)

The Council could reach a general approach.

Union guidelines for the development of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T)

The European Commission adopted a proposal for a new regulation on TEN-T guidelines on 19 October 2011, in a package with the proposal for a Connecting Europe Facility. The proposal contains the definition of comprehensive and core network, as well the timing for completion and maps of the different axes. It focuses on better planning, better implementation and cooperation as well as better financing. The new guidelines will help to achieve more network benefit, to develop a strong instrument with concrete results and in general to achieve more with each euro spent. (IP/11/1200)

The Council will take note of the progress report on the discussions under the Polish Presidency which was very committed to achieving progress on this important proposal.

European satellite navigation systems

Vice-President Tajani will present in the Council a proposal aimed to ensure the completion of the Galileo infrastructure and the exploitation of both Galileo and EGNOS, the European satellite navigation programmes. The Commission's proposal is articulated in particular around two main pillars: funding and governance for the period 2014-2020.

Regarding the funding, a financial envelope of 7 billion, at 2011 prices, under the EU-budget for the period 2014-2020 is foreseen for the implementation of the programmes' activities, including the procurement of ground and space infrastructure, operation and provision of services, maintenance and replenishment of the systems. A strong cost control, not allowing for cost overruns or delays, is a high priority for the European Commission.

On governance, new arrangements are proposed for the exploitation of Galileo, that will offer first services in 2014, and for EGNOS which is already operational. A clear distinction between the political supervision and the implementation/management of the programmes is proposed. The European Commission ensures the political supervision in line with its institutional mission and continues to support the GNSS programmes as robust pillars of the European space policy and as flagships of the Europe 2020 strategy. The management of the systems exploitation will be delegated to the European GNSS Agency, while the task for the management of the completion of the Galileo space and ground infrastructure will be delegated to the European Space Agency. (IP/11/1478)

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