Vice-President Siim Kallas website

European Commission Mobility and Transport website

Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland sign agreement towards the Single European Sky

Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland have signed an agreement to create the "Functional Airspace Block –Europe Central" (FABEC), a key step in achieving the Single European Sky. The Single European Sky will see the establishment of several functional airspace blocks, or "FABs". They will put an end to the current fragmentation of European airspace and enable more efficient and shorter flights. This, in turn, will increase safety and reduce aviation's impact on the environment. This agreement represents the third functional airspace block, after the UK–Ireland FAB and the Denmark–Sweden FAB. The other European Union Member States are expected to sign similar agreements in the next two years.

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More rights for passengers travelling by bus and coach

The Commission welcomes the agreement reached by the European Parliament and Council, after a successful conciliation procedure, on the rights of passengers travelling by bus and coach. A set of basic rights including non-discrimination, adequate information to passengers, in particular those with reduced mobility will apply to all passengers. Additional rights (assistance, accommodation, compensation, etc.) will be granted to passengers travelling long distances (more than 250 km).

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Transport Council: Ministers consider cross-border traffic offences, air cargo security and progress towards a European rail traffic management system

On Thursday 2 December, the Transport Council considered key proposals, including an agreement on cross-border enforcement for traffic offences committed abroad and a new European action plan for air cargo. The Council was attended by European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, and (on space matters) Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship.

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The EU action plan on air cargo security

Vice-President Siim Kallas, meeting with the high-level group on air cargo security, set out a series of recommentations on the EU's response to the 30 October security alert, when viable explosive devices were found in cargo shipments originating from Yemen and transferring to US-bound flights at airports in Germany and the UK. The recommendations from the high-level group were agreed by Member States' experts meeting in the Civil Aviation Security Regulatory Committee and by Commission security experts in the Directorates-General responsible for Mobility and Transport; Justice; Home Affairs, Taxation and Customs Union, and the Joint Situation Centre, working closely with the Belgian Presidency. Industry representatives were also consulted.

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Road transport: Better enforcement of social legislation

The European Commission published its biennial report on the implementation of EU rules in Member States of working time, driving hours, breaks and rest periods of professional drivers of goods and passengers. The report covers the period 2007-2008 and underlines the importance of effective enforcement of the rules to make European roads safer and give professional drivers better working conditions. The report makes it clear that effective checks of drivers and transport undertakings have improved but challenges still remain.

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Vice-President Kallas discusses the future of road transport at a conference with the industry

Vice-President Siim Kallas attended a conference organised by the International Road Transport Union and the EU Presidency to discuss the future of the industry with ministers and transport and trade leaders from all 27 EU Member States. Mr Kallas highlighted the EU's crucial role in fostering an even more efficient, safe and sustainable road transport and for the common transport policy to prioritise the economic recovery, the fight against climate change and the effective completion of the internal market in particular. Attention was drawn to the European Commission's biennial report on how Member States implemented the Community rules on social provisions in the road transport sector during the period 2007-2008. The increased efficiency of controls is expected to lead to improved road safety.

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Background

Road safety: EU crackdown on drivers committing traffic offences abroad

Drivers will be punished for traffic offences they commit abroad, including the four "big killers" causing 75% of road fatalities - speeding, breaking traffic lights, failure to use seatbelts and drink driving - following an agreement by EU Transport Ministers meeting in Brussels today.

European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas, responsible for Transport said, "A foreign driver is three times more likely to commit an offence than a resident driver. Many people seem to think that when they go abroad the rules no longer apply to them. My message is that they do apply and now we are going to apply them."

EU figures suggest that foreign drivers account for 5% of traffic but around 15 % of speeding offences. Most go unpunished, with countries unable to pursue drivers once they return home.

The proposals

The proposal for a Directive on cross border enforcement in the field of road safety aim to remedy that situation. Ministers have reached an agreement on a text that targets traffic offences with a critical impact on road safety, including the four "big killers" causing 75% of road fatilities:

  1. Speeding
  2. Failing to stop at traffic light
  3. Failing to wear seatbelts
  4. Drink driving

As well as,

  1. Driving under influence of drugs
  2. Failing to wear safety helmets
  3. Illegal use of an emergency lane
  4. Illegal use of mobile phone while driving.

How will it work?

The proposals would enable EU drivers to be identified and thus prosecuted for offences committed in a Member State other than then one where their car is registered. In practical terms, the new rules will allow for an electronic data exchange network to be put in place to allow for the exchange of the necessary data between the country in which the offence was committed and the country in which the car was registered. Once the owner's name and address are known, an offence notification, for which a model is established by the proposed Directive, will be sent to him/her. It will be for the Member State of offence (where the offence was committed) to decide on the follow up for the traffic offence. The Directive does not harmonise either the nature of the offence nor the penalties for the offence. So it is the national rules in the Member State of offence, according to national law, which will continue to apply regarding both the nature of the offence and penalties.

What happens next?

The legislative proposals must be approved by MEPs in a vote in the European Paliament before becoming law. There is then a two year period for Member States to transpose EU legislation before it comes into force, possibly by 2013.

Background

The EU Road Safety Action Programme 2011-2020, which was launched in July 2010, aims to cut the number or road deaths by half by 2020. For more information on the detailed elements of the programme, as well as country by country statistics on road deaths see (IP/10/970 and MEMO/10/343).

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