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Brussels, 20 March 2012

Transport Council – 22 March 2012

The EU's Council of transport ministers will meet in Brussels on Thursday 22 March under the Danish Presidency. From the European Commission, Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport and mobility, will present agenda items on the EU guidelines for the development of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), groundhandling services at EU airports, and passenger ship safety.

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 proposed regulation aims at establishing and developing a complete TEN-T, consisting of infrastructure for railways, inland waterways, roads, maritime and air transport, thereby ensuring the smooth functioning of the internal market and strengthening economic and social cohesion. The proposal also defines a comprehensive network and a core network, as well the timing for completion and maps of the different axes. It focuses on better planning, better implementation and cooperation. The new guidelines will help to achieve more network benefits, to develop a strong instrument with concrete results and in general to achieve more with each euro spent (IP/11/1200).

The European Commission fully supports the Danish Presidency to reach an agreement on a text of the guidelines, a so-called "general approach".

For more information on the Commission's TEN-T proposals:

Groundhandling services at EU airports

On 1 December 2011, the Commission adopted new proposals on groundhandling included in the "Better Airports" package (IP/11/1484 MEMO/11/857). The aim is to improve the efficiency and quality of services offered at EU airports by ensuring better coordination of operations and by enlarging airlines' choice of available handlers, whilst protecting the employment rights of groundhandling workers.

The proposals strengthen the role of airports as the "ground co-ordinator" with overall responsibility for the coordination of groundhandling services at an airport. They provide airports with a set of new tools to do this, for example, to require minimum quality standards to be respected by all groundhandlers at their airport. These measures will strengthen also the resilience of airports facing major disruptions.

The Commission fully supports the work done by the Danish Presidency in a very limited time (less than three months) to agree on a compromise text. This shows that the Council shares the Commission's opinion that an update of the 1996 Directive is indeed necessary.

For more information on the Commission's groundhandling proposals (part of the airports package):


Any other business

The Costa Concordia cruise liner accident (MEMO/12/25) is currently subject to an independent accident investigation. The Commission intends to work within the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for improved standards at international level. Nonetheless, the Commission's work to revise the passenger ship safety legislation has been ongoing since 2010 and should result in a number of proposals at the end of this year, without prejudging the outcome of the accident investigation.

The Commission intends to present new rules in 2012 and safety standards for passenger ships. The Commission plans a revision of the directive on safety rules and standards for passenger ships (2009/45/EC) with respect to its simplification, scope and coverage for smaller passenger ships and ships built with materials other than steel, as well as sailing and historic ships. This will be followed by other specific legislative measures towards the end of 2013.

A stakeholder conference on passenger ship safety will take place on 24 April in Brussels. It will form part of the Commission's 12-week public consultation on possible proposals, but also look at possibilities arising from relevant maritime safety research.

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