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Brussels, 7 June 2013
Transport Council – 10 June 2013
The EU Council of transport ministers will meet in Luxembourg on Monday 10 June under the Irish Presidency. Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport and mobility, will represent the European Commission. Ministers will discuss important legislative proposals such as rail interoperability, roadworthiness (inspection and registration), occurrence reporting in civil aviation and marine equipment. Progress in establishing the Connecting Europe Facility will also be presented.
A press conference will be held after the Council meeting in the press room of the Council.
The Commission's proposal for the recast of the interoperability directive is included in the Fourth Railway Package adopted by the Commission on 30 January 2013. The EU railway market has seen important changes, with three legislative ‘railway packages’ gradually opening up national markets and making railways more competitive and interoperable at EU level. The Commission proposed the Fourth Railway Package in January 2013 to remove the remaining obstacles and ultimately improve EU rail services.
The recast directive on the interoperability of the EU rail system focuses on administrative and technical barriers, in particular by establishing a single authorisation for railway vehicles which will increase economies of scale for railway undertakings active across the EU, decrease administrative costs, accelerate administrative procedures and avoid discrimination.
The Commission welcomes the efforts of the Irish Presidency to find a compromise (in the form of a general approach) on this essential part of the Fourth Railway Package and will continue to work with the Council and Parliament to reach an ambitious agreement as well as rapid progress on the other elements of the package.
IP/13/65 – European Railways at a junction: the Commission adopts proposals for a Fourth Railway Package
MEMO/13/45 – European Rail: Challenges Ahead
Video – The Future of Rail in Europe
The Commission proposed on 12 July 2012 new rules to toughen up vehicle testing regimes and widen their scope. The aim is to save more than 1,200 lives a year and to avoid more than 36,000 accidents linked to technical failure. Technical defects contribute heavily to accidents. They are responsible for 6% of all car accidents, translating into 2,000 fatalities and many more injuries yearly. 8% of all motorcycle accidents are linked to technical defects.
The main problem is that there are simply too many vehicles with technical defects on the road. Existing EU rules setting minimum standards for vehicle checks date back to 1977, with only minor updates. Cars, driver behaviour and technology have developed considerably since then.
The Commission hopes that the Council will reach an agreement in the form of a General Approach on both roadside inspection for commercial vehicles and registration legislation proposals. The proposal on roadworthiness tests has already been dealt with at the December 2012 Transport Council.
IP/12/780 – IP Road safety: Tougher vehicle testing rules to save lives
MEMO/12/555 - Road Safety: The Roadworthiness Package – Tougher vehicle checks to save lives
Occurrence reporting in civil aviation
The Commission proposed on 19 December 2012 new rules aiming to decrease the number of aircraft accidents and fatalities through better use of data on occurrences. An occurrence is any type of event significant in the context of aviation safety which might or might not have led to an actual accident but which should be nonetheless reported and analysed. In addition, the new rules promote more efficient exchange of information and safety analysis between Member States.
This proposal is a core element of future European aviation safety, which aims to build a proactive and evidence-based safety system, i.e. a system that attempts to prevent accidents based on the collection and analysis of data, rather than simply reacting after accidents.
The discussion on the text of the proposal has made good progress thanks to the Irish Presidency. The Commission hopes that the Council will reach agreement in the form of a General Approach and considers a first reading agreement between the European Parliament and the Council under the current legislature ambitious but realistic.
IP/12/406 - Commission proposes new rules to prevent aircraft accidents (19/12/2012)
MEMO/12/1008 - Occurrence reporting in civil aviation (19/02/2012)
Marine equipment directive
On 17 December 2012, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a new directive on marine equipment (or "MED"). Marine equipment represents a significant fraction of the value of a ship, and its quality and good operation are critical for the safety of the ship and its crew, as well as for the prevention of maritime accidents and pollution of the marine environment.
With this proposal the Commission wants to simplify laws to protect the environment, thereby reducing costs for business and ensuring better application. As such, the reform will make the internal market work better and strengthen the competitiveness of EU industry. The proposal will also introduce provisions on the control of "notified bodies" – i.e. certifiers – and market surveillance, as well as obligations for manufacturers, importers and distributors (with certain adjustments specific for the marine equipment sector).
The Commission is pleased with the speed by which Council has progressed on this file and hopes that the Council will reach agreement in the form of a General Approach.
IP/12/1370 - Transport: Commission reinforces safety for EU ships
MEMO/12/987 - Commission proposes a new framework for marine equipment
Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)
The Irish Presidency will present a progress report on the CEF.
Following the proposals for the Multiannual Financial Framework of 29 June 2011, the Commission proposed the CEF on 19 October 2011. The aim of the "Connecting Europe Facility" is to finance projects which fill the missing links in Europe's energy, transport and digital backbone. It should also make Europe's economy greener by promoting cleaner transport modes, high-speed broadband connections and facilitating the use of renewable energy in line with the Europe 2020 strategy. In addition the funding for energy networks would further integrate the internal energy market, reduce the EU's energy dependency and bolster the security of supply. To assist with the financing of the Connecting Europe Facility, the Commission has also adopted the terms for the Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative, one of a number of risk-sharing instruments to attract private finance in projects.
Press release on the Connecting Europe Facility
Watch the video clip on Connecting Europe Facility
Read the brochure on the Connecting Europe Facility
On the added value of the EU budget: Money where it matters
Any other business
The Commission will also provide updates on passenger ship safety, aviation price transparency, aviation ETS and its recent proposal on ports and air passenger rights. The Commission congratulates the Irish Presidency for progress achieved on transport issues and looks forward to also working with the Lithuanian Presidency who will present at this meeting its priorities for the second half of 2013.