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Road Transport: Commission welcomes the political agreement on new smart tachographs

29/10/2012

The Commission takes note with satisfaction of the political agreement reached on new smart tachographs in today's Transport Council. The main goals of the new legislation are creating equal conditions between road transport operators, avoiding road accidents due to long driving hours and reducing the administrative burden for operators by providing the professional drivers with a smart and tamper-proof tool which ensures a uniform enforcement of the social rules and can easily be used and connected to an on-board computer.

Vice-President and EU Commissioner for Transport, Siim Kallas, said: "The tachograph helps professional drivers to avoid over long driving hours which cause fatigue and accidents.  It also creates equal conditions between road transport operators. I would like to insist on the importance of quickly introducing the smart tachograph proposed by the Commission. It will prevent fraud and misuse of the existing tachograph system and at the same time make it considerably easier to use for operators."

The smart tachograph proposed by the Commission will record location data using global navigation satellite systems, remotely communicate with roadside enforcement officers and have a universal interface to communicate with applications of intelligent transport systems used by the transport operators. The regulation proposal also introduces higher standards for workshops entrusted to install and calibrate the tachograph, electronic exchange of data between national enforcement authorities, provisions on the training of control officers and exceptions from the obligation to use tachographs for certain users within a uniformly extended radius (100 km).

The discussions in view of an early second reading agreement between the European Parliament and Council have already started, and the Commission hopes that a deal could be found within the next months.

For more information:
Pre-Council Memo

Commission proposal on recording equipment in road transport

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Airport slots: Commission disappointed at level of ambition in Council text

29/10/2012

The European Commission takes note of the agreement reached on the newly proposed Airports Slots Regulation in today's Transport Council Agreement.  The agreement, in the form of "General Approach", has been found on a text significantly departing  from the original that the Commission proposed. In the Commission view, despite the best efforts of the Presidency and all delegations, the text agreed upon by the Council lacks ambition and needed more time for cautious consideration. The new Airports Slot Regulation has important economic implications for the whole aviation chain and is a key element of the airports package. 

Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "The issue at stake is of the highest importance. Airports are getting busier and busier. For some of them, congestion is already a real problem and there will be further capacity shortages in the next few years. It is a problem that increases costs, to the detriment of consumers; it is a problem that harms reliability, to the detriment of anyone wanting to fly. This cannot be allowed for any reason. I therefore hope that the final legislation will be more ambitious than the agreement found in Council today."

The general objective of the Commission proposal is to ensure that the allocation and use of airport slots in congested airports is effective, also by enhancing fair competition and competitiveness between operators. The scarcity of slots and the level of congestion are factors influencing airlines' decisions as to which destinations they serve and may therefore negatively impact the connectivity of regions to such airports, which are generally located near to large economic centres: capital cities, industrial centres. The reality is that infrastructure will not keep up with the increase in demand for air travel.  The Commission proposal would allow airports to accommodate 24 million more passengers at EU airports in the light of the expected increase in demand.

After the "General Approach" the text will be considered in first reading by the European Parliament before going back to Council.

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Transport and Telecommunications Council – 29 October 2012

29/10/2012

The EU's Council of transport ministers will meet in Luxembourg on Monday 29 October under the Presidency of Cyprus and will be chaired by Minister Florentzou.

Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport and mobility, will represent the European Commission in the discussion on Airport slots, Roadworthiness tests, the Maritime Labour Convention, Tachograph, EU/Eurocontrol agreement. Furthermore the Commission will inform the Council on the latest developments of the inclusion of aviation in the European Emission Trading System (ETS) and the deterioration of relations with Russia, particularly regarding aviation.

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Transport: Commission welcomes agreement by Transport ministers on Directives ensuring decent working conditions for seafarers

29/10/2012

The European Commission welcomes the agreement adopted on two proposals relating to the enforcement of the International Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) of 2006 in today's Transport Council.  Approved as "General Approach", the agreement has its origins in the two proposals submitted by the Commission last 23 March 2012.  These new Directives will guarantee important social benefits for the seafarers, and are essential to support the growth and the prosperity of the maritime industry in Europe.
 
The EU Commissioner responsible for transport, Vice-President Siim Kallas, stated: "Today's agreement is a step in the right direction on monitoring the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention in the European Union. The two Directives are set to become precious instruments to help ensure decent working conditions for seafarers worldwide and to achieve a global level-playing field for shipping in this field."

The port state proposal intends to enforce the MLC by means of port State control. Compliance with the MLC would therefore be checked and enforced in all EU ports on ships flying any flag in the same way as for any other maritime convention. This will be the most efficient means to ensure a global level-paying field for the shipping industry also with respect to seafarers' working conditions. The flag state proposal aims at requiring Member States to monitor the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention from ship's flying their own flag.
  
After the "General Approach" the two Directives will be considered in first reading by the European Parliament -in January or February 2013 regarding Directive on Port State control, and in February or March 2013 regarding Directive on Flag State responsibilities.

For more information:

Pre-Council Memo

Commission proposal on flag state
Commission proposal on port state control

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Air transport: Commission adopts new rules for safe commercial flights

25/10/2012

EU citizens will have safer flights following today's publication of a new regulation with modernised binding rules for commercial operations of airplanes and helicopters. The previous regulation on commercial air operations was adopted in 2006. These updated rules reflect scientific and technological developments in the aviation industry and changes in international aviation standards since then. The aim of the regulation is to boost efficiency in air operations while maintaining a high level of safety. To achieve this, the new rules provide for a simple, risk-based process of certification and oversight; they reflect scientific and technological state of the art in the field of air operations, based on evidence worldwide; and they introduce proportionality with regard to the scale and complexity of operations – for example by distinguishing between different types of operations such as local or international flights. As a consequence of the new rules, airlines will not need to get re-certified every year and small businesses will be subject to lighter administrative procedures. The regulation also introduces the first EU-wide rules for helicopters to replace the various national ones existing today. This regulation enters into force three days following its publication. A two-year transitional period will allow for a flexible and smooth conversion to the new regime. See Regulation 965/2012 pdf - 6 MB [6 MB]

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Parliament supports Commission's agenda for better protection of passengers

23/10/2012

The European Parliament adopted today a report by MEP Georges Bach calling for more EU action to strengthen passenger rights. The report stresses the need to make passenger rights easily understandable to all citizens, to facilitate their implementation and enforcement, and to ensure a similar approach for all modes of transport. The work of the European Parliament in the area of passenger rights, including the report it adopted on air passenger rights on 29 March 2012, gives support to the Commission’s ambitious agenda to promote better protection for passengers facing travel disruptions whether they travel by air, rail, waterborne or road transport. Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "Today's vote is extremely important for all EU citizens, as it promotes the most appropriate protection when travelling, regardless of which mode of transport is chosen. The Commission will keep working to make sure that EU legislation on passenger rights is properly and effectively applied".

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Parliament asks to push ahead with Single European Sky

23/10/2012

The European Parliament adopted today a resolution to push forward implementation of the Single European Sky (SES), very much in line with the European Commission priorities. The Commission welcomes the support of the EP, especially at the time of key implementing deadlines and shares the views of rapporteur Jacqueline Foster that Member States should now prioritise the implementation of SES in accordance with the agreed deadlines and objectives. The EP reiterates the key role of SES in delivering considerable economic, safety and environmental savings to the aviation sector's benefit. It calls for a proactive political support on the part of the Member State applying the performance scheme, delivering real benefits from FABs and deploying SESAR technologies. The SES legislation, which aims at reducing the fragmentation of the European airspace and increasing its capacity, entered into force in April 2004 (SES I); it was amended by a second package of legislation adopted in November 2009 (SES II). A report issued by the Commission in November 2011 makes clear that the basic SES II architecture has been established according to the initial time schedule but that the objectives have not yet been fully reached. Failure to implement the SES costs € 5 billion annually in inefficiencies for air navigation services. For further details: Single European Sky, 10 years on and still not delivering and Frequently asked questions.

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Maritime transport: seafarers' training to match international standards

23/10/2012

The European Parliament approved today the legislative proposal which will bring the European Union Directive on the training of seafarers in line with recently updated international rules. The legislative proposal also aims to ensure that information concerning seafarers is collected, aggregated and made available for statistical purposes. Today, accurate figures in this respect are lacking. The Commission adopted its proposal on 14 September 2011 and a political agreement in Council was already reached in December last year. International rules set minimum standards, while EU rules ensure their enforcement in the EU. European and international legislation are important to ensure quality jobs and safety at sea. Siim Kallas, European Commission Vice-President responsible for transport, said: "I am glad the European Parliament swiftly responded to the need to adapt to the new international framework. These new rules reflect the evolution of technology and the challenges of the last decade". The amended EU provisions fully respect the EU set of rules on working time for seafarers. The proposal also sets out the legal framework for a database on seafarers employed on EU ships, which will allow for more accurate data in this respect. 

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Single European Sky: 10 years on and still not delivering

11/10/2012

The Single European Sky, the flagship project to create a single European airspace – tripling capacity and halving air traffic costs – is "not delivering". Vice-President Siim Kallas, European Commissioner for transport, today announced his intention to present new legislative proposals in Spring 2013 to accelerate implementation, as well as taking all enforcement actions possible, including infringements where necessary.

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Transport: Aviation Platform on 8 October

09/10/2012

The Aviation Platform set up to give strategic advice to Vice President Kallas in order to establish the basis for a sustainable future for air transport met for the fifth time on 8 October. The top-level representatives of the different branches of the aviation sector gave their input in order to prepare the High Level Single European Sky (SES) Conference which will take place in Limassol on 11-12 October. During this meeting Tom Enders, CEO of EADS reported on the recent adoption of the ACARE Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda. The Members also discussed the Communication on the EU's external aviation policy adopted on 27th of September. The dinner following the platform was dedicated to an open discussion on ETS.

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Joint Statement by Vice-President of the European Commission Siim Kallas and EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard: MRV is the necessary starting point to address maritime emissions

02/10/2012

"Shipping is a global industry and needs global solutions to address its environmental footprint. As a result, we are all working towards an internationally agreed global solution to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from ships. The International Maritime Organisation made a significant and highly welcome step forward in July 2011 with the Energy Efficiency Design Index. But this measure alone – which is applied only to new ships from 2015 – will not be enough to ensure shipping emissions are reduced fast enough. Discussions about further global measures are on-going at IMO level, but we need intermediary steps to quickly deliver emissions reductions, such as energy efficiency measures also for existing ships.

At EU level, we consider several options, including market-based mechanisms. A simple, robust and globally-feasible approach towards setting a system for monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions based on fuel consumption is the necessary starting point. This will help make progress at global level and feed into the IMO process. It's therefore our joint intention to pursue such a monitoring, reporting and verification system in early 2013. At the same time, we will continue the debate with stakeholders on which measure can successfully address the EU's greenhouse gas reduction objectives.
 
The shipping industry itself is best placed to take the lead in delivering fast and effective greenhouse gas emission reductions – thereby cutting cost and making the sector fit for the future. The Commission is ready to play its part, in the EU and at IMO level."

[MRV stands for Monitoring, Reporting and Verification]

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