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MEMO/12/209

Brussels, 22 March 2012

Speaking points of Vice-President Siim Kallas – Transport Council, Brussels, 22 March 2012

I will focus my remarks on the two very important Transport files where we have reached agreement today with Ministers.

First, on the TEN-T network – the blueprint for Europe's future transport connections

Second, on key groundhandling proposals.

On TEN-T

We have taken a major step forwards today.

Ministers have given their strong backing to proposals for:

  • A new EU core transport network, with deadline of 2030

  • For high technical standards on the network

  • For 10 major transport corridors, to implement the network.

Transport is the lifeblood of the European economy. And if it does not flow smoothly, our economy will weaken and fail to grow.

The new core European transport network will involve connecting:

  • 86 main European ports with rail and road links

  • 37 key airports with rail connections into major cities

  • 15,000 km of railway line upgraded to high speed

  • 35 cross-border projects to reduce bottlenecks

This represents a fundamental shift in European transport policy.

We will tackle:

  • missing links

  • poor East–West connections

  • fragmented infrastructure

  • a lack of interoperability

  • and it need to focus investment.

In short, we will move from a patchwork to a network.

The agreement today is not perfect – there is still more work to be done with our colleagues in the European Parliament. But it is a major step forwards.

On groundhandling

The agreement today safeguards the two key elements at the heart of the Commission's groundhandling proposals.

  • First, airlines need more choice in who provides their services on the ground – that means at least three providers at every major airport.

  • Second, high-quality services rely on a high-quality workforce. That means reinforcing stable employment terms for those working on the ground.

There is an urgent need to improve the quality and efficiency of services at EU airports - 3 out of 4 flight delays, are caused by problems on the ground.

The agreement with ministers today is very promising and I hope we can make swift progress also with the European Parliament.

I want to thank again the Danish Presidency for the excellent co-operation which has made very substantial progress possible today.


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