EU Transport Commissioner, Siim Kallas, welcomed today the agreement - in trialogue negotiations between the European Parliament and Council - to back proposals for tougher vehicle testing rules to save lives. Vehicle checks are fundamental to road safety. More than 5 people die on Europe's roads every day in accidents linked to technical failure. The agreement reached will be submitted for final approval to vote in both institutions.
The European Commission is stepping up its support to towns and cities in a new "urban mobility package" adopted today. The Commission will reinforce the exchange of best practice, provide targeted financial support and invest in research and development. In addition, it is encouraging the development of "sustainable urban mobility plans" to stimulate a shift towards cleaner and more sustainable transport in urban areas.
The European Commission today adopted "Shift2Rail", a new public-private partnership to invest just under €1 billion in research and innovation to get more passengers and freight onto Europe's railways. Rail is amongst the most efficient and climate-friendly forms of transport, but currently it only carries about only 10% of European cargo and 6% of passengers each year.
Eurobarometer: Half of all Europeans are satisfied with their railways, but more needs to be done to improve the service offer
According to a Eurobarometer survey published today, 58% of Europeans are satisfied with rail services in their country. However, comparatively few Europeans take the train. In some countries, the number of users who consider it overly complicated to buy tickets is worryingly high. And some 19% of Europeans do not use the train because of accessibility issues. Persons with reduced mobility complained in particular about bad accessibility of train carriages and platforms and a lack of information on accessibility when they are planning their journey.
The European Commission launched today Calls for proposals worth €350 million to finance European transport infrastructure (TEN-T), for projects in all EU Member States and for all transport modes: air, rail, road, maritime and inland waterways.
The EU's Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has today updated its guidance on the use of portable electronic devices on board (PED), including smartphones, tablets and e-readers. It confirms that these devices may be kept switched on in "Flight Mode" (non-transmitting mode) throughout the journey (including taxiing, take-off and landing) without a risk to safety. EU Transport Commissioner, Vice President Siim Kallas has asked EASA to accelerate its safety review of the use of electronic devices on board in transmitting mode, with new guidance expected to be published early in 2014.
EU experts warn on airport capacity crunch and invite the Commission to take action on intermodality
The European Observatory on Airport Capacity held a plenary meeting at which it fully endorsed the findings on network congestion and climate change and resilience of "Challenges of Growth 2013", a comprehensive study carried out by Eurocontrol highlighting the likely problems resulting from a shortage of airport capacity in Europe.
As part of the EU/China Urban Partnership the EU and China are working together to improve urban mobility. Today, Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, in charge of transport, addressed the 2nd EU China Urban Forum in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing. The annual Forum brings together hundreds of EU and Chinese city Mayors as well as academics and business representatives with an interest in the future of urbanisation in order to share ideas and identify future co-operation activities.
In the most radical overhaul of EU infrastructure policy since its inception in the 1980s, the European Parliament has today given final approval to new maps showing the nine major corridors which will act as a backbone for transportation in Europe's single market and revolutionise East–West connections. To match this level of ambition, Parliament also voted to triple EU financing for transport infrastructure for the period 2014–2020 to €26.3 billion.
Transport ministers from 43 countries of the Euro-Mediterranean area and confirmed their commitment to boost cooperation. The aim is to establish a well-connected area for aviation, rail, maritime and road transport. Regional integration in transport will strengthen economic exchanges and create business opportunities in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
In the most radical overhaul of EU infrastructure policy since its inception in the 1980s, the Commission has today published new maps showing the nine major corridors which will act as a backbone for transportation in Europe's single market and revolutionise East–West connections. To match this level of ambition, EU financing for transport infrastructure will triple for the period 2014–2020 to €26 billion.
The European Commission has selected a total of 172 projects that will benefit from almost €1.6 billion in EU co-financing from the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) Programme for improving transport infrastructure across Europe. 89 projects selected from the 2012 Multi-Annual Call and 83 from the 2012 Annual Call will use this financial support to help realise TEN-T network development – ranging from preliminary studies for new projects to top-up grants aimed to help assist on-going construction initiatives, in all transport modes.
The European Commission welcomes the "general approach" agreement reached at today's Transport Council on a recast of the rail safety directive. This recast is the second part of the so-called – proposed in January 2013 – with the aim of eliminating existing administrative and technical barriers by developing further the Single European Rail Area, thereby contributing to the competitiveness of the rail sector versus other means of transport.
Following the European Parliament's vote in plenary today, Vice-President Kallas said: "I am pleased with this vote which opens the way for new stricter EU-wide rules on pilot fatigue. It will bring better protection of passengers and safer working conditions for crew. This is a victory for common sense."
EU transport commissioner Siim Kallas addressed today the opening session of the Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), ahead of crucial negotiations. The ICAO Assembly must address challenges that should not be underestimated — in aviation safety, security, air navigation, fair competition and market access, and of course the environment (aviation emissions).
European Mobility Week: Vice-President Kallas calls for innovation to make hydrogen cars cost-competitive
Zero-emission cars are no longer a distant vision. As part of European Mobility Week, Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas is today participating in a debate about hydrogen and fuel cell powered cars.
The European Commission today announced new measures to get more freight onto Europe's rivers and canals. Barges are amongst the most climate-friendly and energy efficient forms of transport but currently they only carry about 6% of European cargo each year. The new proposals intend to realise the unused potential of Europe's 37,000 km of inland waterways. They will enable freight to move more easily and lead to further greening of the sector, as well as encouraging innovation and improving job opportunities.
Maritime Transport: More rights and protection at work for more than 1.2 million seafarers – a corner stone for maritime safety
The European Commission welcomes the entry into force today of the International Maritime Labour Convention establishing the minimum working and living conditions for more than 1,2 million persons working at sea and ensuring fair competition for the maritime industry globally. Recognising the importance of this International Convention, the Union has adopted several legislative instruments to ensure the consistent and effective implementation by all its Member States.
Con grande sgomento e tristezza sono stato informato del tragico incidente, che ha coinvolto un autobus carico di passeggeri nella tarda serata di ieri nei pressi di Avellino.
Lo sgomento e' ancora più grande nell'apprendere che alcune delle vittime sono bambini.
Il mio pensiero va alle vittime della tragedia ed ai loro familiari. Desidero esprimere, a nome della Commissione Europea, il mio più profondo cordoglio alle famiglie e agli amici delle vittime.
Voglia gradire la manifestazione del mio profondo rispetto.
Letter sent to Mr LUPI [38 KB]
Estimada Sra. Ministra,
Recibo con profunda tristeza la noticia del trágico accidente ferroviario acontecido en la tarde de ayer en las inmediaciones de Santiago de Compostela.
Deseo presentarle mis más sinceras condolencias y nuestro más sentido pésame para los familiares de las víctimas del accidente.
La Comisión Europea y la Agencia Ferroviaria Europea seguirán con toda atención la investigación del accidente que conducirán las autoridades españolas.
Le ruego acepte, Sra. Ministra, la expresión de mi más alta consideración.
Letter sent to Ms PASTOR JULIÁN [39 KB]
The European Commission has today announced €600 million of new funding to unblock congestion in Europe's airspace. The Commission is looking to head off a capacity crunch as the number of flights is forecast to increase by 50% over the next 10-20 years. The goal is to develop the new technology needed to deliver Europe's Single Sky – the ambitious project to reform Europe's airspace, doubling capacity and halving air traffic management costs.
The European Commission has updated today for the 21st time the European list of airlines subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union, better known as "the EU air safety list". Following improvements in the safety situation in the Philippines, Philippine Airlines is the first airline from this country allowed back into European skies since 2010. The same is true for the Venezuelan airline Conviasa, which was banned in 2012. Progress was also noted in Libya but the Libyan authorities agreed that Libyan airlines would not be allowed to operate in Europe until they are fully recertified to the satisfaction of the European Union.
The Commission has today set out plans to ease custom formalities for ships – reducing red tape, cutting delays in ports and making the sector more competitive. Today, freight forwarders and exporters complain that if they chose to send goods across Europe by short sea shipping, the heavy administrative burden at ports causes additional costs and significant delays - ships can wait for hours and sometimes days in ports for customs clearance. These make the maritime sector less attractive compared to other forms of transport, especially road, unnecessarily bringing more trucks on our already congested roads. With today's new Commission proposals, shipping transport will face less administrative hurdles and therefore be able to be used to its full potential in the EU internal market and beyond.
Siim Kallas, Commission Vice-President responsible for transport, welcomes the agreement reached on 27 June between the Commission, the Council and the Parliament on the Connecting Europe Facility, a key proposal for achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the most innovative element of the next multiannual financial framework. This Facility will help to build the railways, inland waterways, ports, electricity grids and gas pipelines. It will also contribute to the Digital Single Market that is so important to our citizens and businesses. The financial envelope for the implementation of the Connecting Europe Facility for the period 2014 to 2020 has indicatively been agreed to be EUR 29 299 million including EUR 10 000 million that will be transferred from the Cohesion Fund.
The European Commission today took the first step towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions from the shipping industry. It proposed legislation which will require owners of large ships using EU ports to monitor and report the ships' annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The Commission also published a Communication setting out its strategy to address and reduce these emissions, preferably through measures at global level.
For the first time, millions of holiday-makers travelling in the EU this summer will be protected by comprehensive passenger rights – whether travelling by air or rail, and now also by ship, bus and coach. But research shows that two-thirds of passengers are not aware of their rights. For this reason, the Commission is launching a new campaign to inform the many people gearing up to travel this summer about their passenger rights, and how to claim them if needed.
From 25 to 28 June, launch events will take place in Brussels, Athens-Piraeus and Sofia and an air passenger rights information day will be held in Warsaw.
The European Commission has sent a formal request to France and the United Kingdom to comply with EU rules against excessive track access charges for passenger and freight trains in the Channel Tunnel. The Commission has also asked them to ensure a fully independent regulator and to end an agreement which currently reserves capacity for certain train operators in a restrictive way. The high track access charges get passed on to passengers in their ticket prices and rail freight companies complain that they cannot afford to send more freight through the Tunnel – it remains on the roads causing congestion and pollution.
The Commission is concerned that Germany is failing to implement European rules on the separation of accounts between infrastructure managers and railway undertakings, and on the use of track access charges. This procedure is part of a series of similar procedures against a number of Member States on account separation. The German system creates the possibility for cross-subsidising commercial transport activities from state funds for infrastructure and public-service passenger transport.
To help mitigate the consequences of serious road accidents across the EU, today the European Commission adopted two proposals to ensure that, by October 2015, cars will automatically call emergency services in case of a serious crash. The "eCall" system automatically dials 112 - Europe's single emergency number - in the event of a serious accident. It communicates the vehicle's location to emergency services, even if the driver is unconscious or unable to make a phone call. It is estimated that it could save up to 2500 lives a year (MEMO/13/547).
The European Commission has today acted to speed up the reform of Europe's air traffic control system. The Commission is looking to head off a capacity crunch as the number of flights is forecast to increase by 50% over the next 10-20 years. Inefficiencies in Europe's fragmented airspace bring extra costs of close to 5 billion Euros each year to airlines and their customers. They add 42 kilometres to the distance of an average flight forcing aircraft to burn more fuel, generate more emissions, pay more in costly user charges and suffer greater delays. The United States controls the same amount of airspace, with more traffic, at almost half the cost.
With the decision adopted today by the Council, the European Union ratified the Transport Protocol of the Alpine Convention, which consequently enters into force in the EU and becomes European law. This decision is part of the EU 'greening transport' approach and confirms that the Alpine region is an important issue in the European transports policy.
Siim Kallas, Commission Vice-President responsible for transport, today welcomed the agreement between the Commission, the Council and the Parliament on proposals to transform the existing patchwork of European roads, railways, airports and canals into a unified transport network (TEN-T).
Liberalisation of air transport in the context of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) [114 KB]
Transatlantic Policy Network (TPN) Roundtable on EU-US Cooperation on Transport Policy
The European Commission has today launched a new initiative to improve port operations and onward transport connections at 319 key seaports along Europe’s coastline. The guidelines and legal changes being proposed will help port operators upgrade their services and facilities as well as giving them more financial autonomy.
The European Commission today adopted two regulations to promote the roll-out of 'intelligent information services', such as real-time warnings about dangerous road conditions ahead and information on safe and secure parking places for truck drivers. They can be provided through different means such as variable road signs, the radio and mobile phone applications.
Under the European Commission's leadership, a high-profile group of mayors and industry representatives has started to work towards making Europe’s cities 'smarter'.
Statement by EC Spokesperson for Transport Helen Kearns on cabotage.
The European Commission adopted today revised implementing Regulations on performance and charging, setting the framework for the upcoming negotiations on targets for the second reference period (2015 to 2019) of the SES Performance Scheme.
The Commission has adopted today a new Regulation establishing governance and incentive mechanisms to facilitate the effective and timely deployment of SESAR, the Union's flagship project that aims at modernising the Air Traffic Management (ATM) system and enhancing its performance.
Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, is travelling to Washington on 17-19 April to reaffirm the strong EU-US transport partnership. Transport cooperation between the EU and the US is far advanced in transport modes that matter most to people travelling across the Atlantic and to the transport of goods. However, Vice-President Kallas will also discuss with the US administration how to take cooperation beyond aviation and maritime transport. In addition, he will discuss priorities for EU-US cooperation at a multilateral level, notably how to secure a successful outcome of the Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in September 2013.
The European Commission proposed today new rules to allow manufacturers to develop more aerodynamic lorries which will reduce fuel consumption by 7-10%, cut emissions of greenhouse gases, and also enhance the safety of vulnerable road users.
Road safety: EU reports lowest ever number of road deaths and takes first step towards an injuries strategy
Road fatalities across the EU have decreased by 9% in 2012. According to new figures published by the European Commission today, 2012 saw the lowest number of people killed in road traffic in EU countries since the first data were collected.
The European Commission today announced a package of measures to ensure that air passengers have new and better rights to information, care and re-routing when they are stranded at the airport. At the same time there will be better complaint procedures and enforcement measures so passengers can actually obtain the rights to which they are entitled.
Today, Regulation (EU) No 181/2011 on bus and coach passenger rights becomes applicable, providing bus and coach travellers throughout the EU with new rights. The regulation lays down travellers' basic rights, and imposes a number of obligations on bus and coach companies and terminal managers concerning their responsibility towards the passengers. Every year around 70 million passengers travel by buses and coaches in the EU.
Police officers from 28 countries across Europe took part in a large-scale motorway control operation in France and Belgium on Thursday 21 February 2013. The five-hour operation was prepared by the Belgian National Traffic Police, the French National Gendarmerie, French National Police and Dutch National Traffic Police. During this time, hundreds of cars, buses and trucks travelling across the border were stopped and checked. Police were joined by representatives of partner agencies including vehicle inspectorate, customs and revenue.
The European Commission today announced a comprehensive package of measures to deliver better quality and more choice in railway services in Europe. Rail is a vital part of EU transport, with a key role in addressing rising traffic demand, congestion, fuel security and decarbonisation. But many European rail markets are currently facing stagnation or decline.
The European Commission today announced an ambitious package of measures to ensure the build-up of alternative fuel stations across Europe with common standards for their design and use. Policy initiatives so far have mostly addressed the actual fuels and vehicles, without considering fuels distribution. Efforts to provide incentives have been un-co-ordinated and insufficient.
From January 19th 2013, all new driving licences issued across the EU will be in the form of a plastic "credit card," with a standard European format and tougher security protection. The new European licence will progressively replace the more than 100 different paper and plastic models currently in use by more than 300 million drivers across the EU. It is part of a broader package of measures (3rd EU Driving Licence Directive) coming into force designed to enhance free movement, tackle driving licence fraud and improve road safety across the EU.
The European Commission welcomes the entry into service of the high speed line between Barcelona and Figueres – last stage of Spain-Europe high-speed connection
The entry into service today of the high-speed section between Barcelona and Figueres represents the completion of a project, the high-speed line Madrid-Barcelona-French border, which has had a significant involvement and support of the European Union.