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Commission takes important step towards optimising the use of European airspace

The European Commission has adopted rules on how to manage the flow of air traffic in order to optimise available capacity in the use of airspace. This new regulation is an important step in implementing the EU network manager foreseen in the second package of measures of the Single European Sky.

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More: Single European Sky


Report evaluates air passenger rights regulation

A report has been published evaluating the application and enforcement of regulation 261/2004, which introduced new rules on compensation and assistance for air passengers in the event of denied boarding, cancellations, long delays and involuntary downgrading. The study was carried out by Steer Davies Gleave at the request of the European Commission. The report notes that while progress has been made, there is still room for further improvements.

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More: Passenger Rights


Meeting on Short Sea Shipping and Motorways of the Sea

The Directorate General for Mobility and Transport held 2010's first Short Sea Shipping (SSS) and Motorways of the Sea (MoS) Focal Points Meeting  on 18 and 19 March in Brussels. It was attended by representatives of 17 EU Member States, two candidate countries (the Republic of Turkey and Croatia Republic), as well as Norway and Iceland. The debate was structured around three main themes:

  1. Relevant EU policy issues, an overview of the major present and future policy initiatives at EU level was presented
  2. Greening of intra-EU maritime transport (low carbon shipping related issues, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) - the new fuel for SSS, and Annex VI of MARPOL Convention), as well as the E-Maritime initiative
  3. Motorways of the Sea

The meeting discussions form a solid basis for further developments and follow up actions by the Commission services in the area of "Green and Smart Short Sea Shipping". It confirmed the interest and commitment of the participants to go further and identify the best possible actions as to promote and ensure the development of sustainable SSS. The outcome of the meeting provides valuable input for further elaboration and development of future initiatives in this area.

More: Maritime Transport



ERTMS - European Rail Traffic Management System

ERTMS ("European Rail Traffic Management System") is a major industrial project being implemented by Europe, a project which will serve to make rail transport safer and more competitive. One component of ERTMS, the European Train Control System (ETCS), guarantees a common standard that enables trains to cross national borders and enhances safety.

 Following an intense ten year phase of research and development, validation of the ETCS standard was carried out from 2000 to 2007 with real scale projects underway in parallel. Since 2005, feedback from projects prompted the need to fine tune the specifications in order to move from local to global compatibility and ensure interoperability between all projects in Europe. The specification, as modified by a Commission Decision on 23 April 2008, now guarantees that Europe's trains equipped with ETCS can travel on any line equipped with ETCS. On 22 July 2009 the Commission adopted a European Deployment Plan for ERTMS which provides for the progressive deployment of ERTMS along the main European rail routes. This will reduce running costs and improve the system's efficiency on long cross-border distances.

In 2005 the European Commission and the rail industry (manufacturers, infrastructure managers and undertakings) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the deployment of ERTMS on a key part of the European network with an emphasis on six freight corridors. Under the auspices of the European Coordinator for ERTMS, Karel Vinck, a second MoU signed in July 2008 included new partners and set ambitious objectives for the deployment of ETCS across key freight corridors and high speed lines which will greatly improve the competitiveness of European railways.  

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More: Rail Safety



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