Vice-President Siim Kallas website

European Commission Mobility and Transport website

Dear Readers,

This is the last newsletter of the year. The next one will be sent on 13 January 2011. In the meantime, we wish you happy holidays and the best travels in 2011!

Mobility and Transport newsletter



Practical Information

Less freight transport through the Alps in 2009

Freight transport through the Alps declined by 14.9% in 2009, compared with 2008, according to a new report by the Alpine Traffic Observatory. The decline, due to the economic crisis, affected both road and rail freight transport, though in absolute terms rail was less affected. The report is the third of its kind and shows that trans-Alpine transport flows rose on average by a modest 8.6% over the period 1999–2009, with a strong increase of 29.5% between 1999 and 2007, followed then by a sharp decrease of 16.1% between 2007 and 2009 (down 14.9% between 2008 and 2009).

The average modal share between rail and road in trans-Alpine transport has been rather steady over the last ten years. The Brenner is the most important Alpine transport corridor accounting for almost 25% of all trans-Alpine transport both on road and rail.

Facts and figures in 2009:

  • A total of 175.3 million tonnes were carried through the Alps, with the dominant share (67.7%) being by road.
  • Tonnages transported by road are higher than those transported by rail in France and Austria; in Switzerland, on the other hand, the share of rail is 61.1%.
  • The Brenner Pass in Austria is the most important Alpine road corridor, with 26.2 million tonnes transported, carrying 25.7% of the total trans-Alpine tonnage.
  • The most important rail corridors in terms of transport volume is also the Brenner Pass(13.1 million tonnes and a market share of 23.2% of rail transport), followed by the Gotthard in Switzerland (11.6 million tonnes and 20.5% of total freight traffic).
  • 9.2 million "heavy goods vehicles" (HGV trucks) movements across the Alps (on the arc from Ventimiglia to Wechsel) were recorded, of which 2.5 million between France and Italy, 1.2 million across Switzerland and 5.5 million across Austria.

[The full report of the Alpine Traffic Observatory]

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New rail bridge between Strasbourg and Kehl operational thanks to EU funding

European coordinator Péter Balázs attended on 10 December 2010 the ceremony for the opening of the Kehl Bridge on behalf of the European Commission. The new rail bridge, which has been made possible thanks to funding from the European Union, spans the river Rhine to connect Strasbourg and Kehl and in doing so makes a new section along the corridor from Paris to Bratislava operational.

[Mr Balázs' latest annual report]

[More on TEN-T]

[Full text]

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EU and Jordan sign air transport agreement

The European Union and Jordan have signed a comprehensive air services agreement which will open up and integrate their respective markets, strengthen cooperation and offer new opportunities for consumers and operators. The agreement will establish a "Euro Mediterranean Aviation Area" between Jordan and the EU based on common rules and a liberalisation of the air markets. The signing reflects the substantial deepening of the EU–Jordan relationship, which has now culminated in an "advanced status partnership" and a new ENP Action Plan. It coincides with King Abdullah II of Jordan's visit to the President of the Commission José Manuel Barroso and High Representative Catherine Ashton on 15 and 16 December.

Vice-President Siim Kallas, Commissioner responsible for transport, said: "Today's agreement will boost trade and tourism in Jordan and the EU. It will allow Jordan to become a full partner of the EU in aviation and pave the way towards a wider Euro Mediterranean Aviation Area. This is a very important step in our strategy of closer integration between the EU and its Mediterranean partners. I want to thank the Jordanian Authorities for their commitment to bringing Jordan and the EU closer together in the field of air transport during over the past few years."

The agreement will open the respective markets and integrate Jordan into a Common Aviation Area with the EU. As a result of the agreement, Jordan will harmonise its legislation with European standards and implement EU aviation rules in areas such as aviation safety, security, environment, consumer protection, air traffic management, competition issues and social aspects.

The agreement will enable all EU airlines to operate direct flights to Jordan from anywhere in the EU and vice-versa for Jordanian carriers. The cross-investments between Jordan and Europe will be encouraged allowing any EU carriers to set up a subsidiary in Jordan and vice-versa. The agreement will remove all restrictions on prices, routes and quotas of flights between Jordan and the EU.

This agreement will pave the way for the creation of a wider Euro Mediterranean Aviation Area with the various Mediterranean partners. A similar agreement has already been concluded between the EU and Morocco in 2006 and negotiations are ongoing with Israel, Tunisia and Lebanon.

[More on international aviation relations of the EU]

[Full text]

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