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Brussels, 19 December 2012
Transport and Telecommunications Council – 20 December 2012
The EU's Council of Ministers responsible for Transport and Telecommunications will meet in Brussels on Thursday 20 December under the Cypriot Presidency. From the European Commission, Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport and mobility, will present agenda items on Roadworthiness (General Approach), EU external aviation policy (conclusions) and Euro-Med Aviation Agreement between the EU and Israel (decision). In the afternoon session devoted to Telecommunications, Vice-President Neelie Kroes, responsible for the Digital Agenda, will participate in the debate on progress reports related to eID, the Connecting Europe Facility and the reuse of public sector information. She will also inform Ministers of her digital priorities for 2013/2014.
In the margins of the Council a High Level Agreement with Eurocontrol and on rail freight corridors will be signed.
A first press conference will be held at around 11.30 on the transport items, with a second one on the telecommunications items around 18.15.
The proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers is part of the Roadworthiness Package, adopted by the Commission on 13 July 2012.
The roadworthiness test proposal aims to increase road safety by strengthening control standards, by harmonizing test items and methods including those for electronic safety components, minimum requirements for equipment and skills of personnel. Access to technical information from the vehicle manufacturer is crucial for the testing of electronic safety component.
The Commission has proposed increased test frequency for old vehicles and inclusion of additional types of vehicles, such as powered two-wheelers.
It is expected that the Council would reach an agreement in the form of "General Approach" on an amended text.
For more information:
EU external aviation policy
The Council is expected to reach conclusions on the EU External Aviation policy.
On 27 September 2012 the European Commission has set out an ambitious package of proposals to boost the international competitiveness of the EU's aviation industry by enhancing cooperation with our partners, including through agreements with neighbouring countries and key partners to develop new business opportunities in particular in fast growing markets, developing new tools to fight unfair competition and creating the right regulatory conditions to stimulate investment.
For more information - New horizons for EU aviation
In June 2012 The Commission presented draft EU rules to enable cross-border and secure electronic transactions in Europe (IP/12/558). Vice President Kroes will stress that a single, holistic and comprehensive legal framework encompassing both electronic identification and trust services, will be beneficial to EU citizens & businesses. Ms Kroes will reassure Ministers that the objective is not to harmonise eID across the EU and that a coordination mechanism for all Member States to share, discuss and agree on common minimum requirements and practices will ensure interoperability and enhance the security of national eIDs.
Telecommunications networks: Connecting Europe Facility
Vice-President Kroes will stress that approval of the Connecting Europe Facility is a top priority for 2013, in order to ensure implementation in 2014. The Commission presented a proposal for a Connecting Europe Facility in October 2011. This includes almost €9.2 billion for the period 2014 to 2020 to help finance pan-European projects in order to give EU citizens and businesses access to high-speed broadband networks and the services that run on them (MEMO/11/709). The Commission considers that this money could leverage a total of between €50 and €100 billion of public and private investment – i.e. a substantial proportion of the estimated €270 billion of broadband investment needed to meet Digital Agenda broadband targets.
Reuse of Public Sector Information (PSI)
The Commission proposed an update of the EU rules on the reuse of Public Sector Information in December 20011 to establish a level playing field for open date across the EU (IP/11/1524). Ms Kroes will stress that she wants to see an ambitious revised Directive adopted as soon as possible and that the reuse of public sector data is the kind of resource that can make a lasting impact on growth and innovation.
Digital Agenda for Europe – next steps
Vice President Kroes will inform Ministers about the recent comprehensive policy review of the Digital Agenda for Europe (IP/12/1389 and MEMO/12/1000). The Commission has identified seven new priorities to boost the digital economy and society, which place a new emphasis on the most transformative elements of the original Digital Agenda for Europe Communication of 2010. Full implementation of this updated Digital Agenda would increase European GDP by 5%, or 1500€ per person, over the next eight years, by increasing investment in ICT, improving eSkills levels in the labour force, enabling public sector innovation, and reforming the framework conditions for the internet economy. The seven key areas to address are: stable broadband regulatory environment, financing public digital service infrastructures through the Connecting Europe Facility, digital skills and jobs, cyber-security, copyright, pilot actions through the European Cloud Partnership and an industrial strategy for micro- and nano-electronics.
Accessibility of public sector websites
Ms Kroes will outline the Commission's recent proposal for a Directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites which would introduce mandatory EU standardised accessibility features, from the end of 2015, for 12 types of websites (IP/12/1305). Mandatory accessibility would apply to essential government services like social security and health related services, job searches, university applications and issuing of personal documents and certificates.