Vice-President Siim Kallas website

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Investing today for growth tomorrow


The Commission tabled on 29 June its proposal for a multi-annual budget for 2014-2020 , addressing today's concerns and tomorrow's needs. The European Union has a small budget, but with a big impact for Europe's citizens. It focuses on priority funding at the EU level that provides true added value. It proposed, for instance, a Connecting Europe Facility that funds cross-border projects in energy, transport and information technology to strengthen the backbone of our internal market and significantly more money for Research and Innovation to invest in our competitiveness; . At the same time, this innovative EU budget remains focused: The overall amount proposed for the next seven years is €1,025 billion in commitments (1.05% of the EU GNI) and €972.2 billion (1% of EU GNI) in payments.

For transport a new fund, the Connecting Europe Facility, aims to boost the pan European value of infrastructure projects. With €40 billion at its disposal, and another €10 billion from the Cohesion Fund, it includes a preliminary list of transport, energy and ICT projects that bring more interconnectivity across Europe. These growth enhancing connections will provide better access to the internal market and terminate the isolation of certain economic "islands". The Connecting Europe Facility offers opportunities for using innovative financing tools to speed up and secure greater investment than could be achieved only through public funding. The Commission will promote the use of EU project bonds to bring forward the realisation of these important projects.


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Reducing greenhouse gases from ships: time is ticking away

Siim Kallas

European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas and Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard met with the shipping industry, Member States and the European Parliament on 28 June to discuss how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping in the short, medium and long term. In particular, they  looked at how international negotiations can be moved forward.


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Commission makes €180 million available for key infrastructure projects

trains with containers

The European Commission has launched  three calls for proposals under the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) multi-annual programme, making €180 million available to finance European transport infrastructure projects in the fields of European Rail Traffic Management Systems (ERTMS), Motorways of the Sea (MoS) and River Information Services (RIS). This will help to make travel and transport by rail and water more safe and secure, as well as more attractive compared to other transport modes.


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Road freight transport: Commission asks a group of "wise men" to review the state of the internal market

transport ship

Siim Kallas, the Commissioner responsible for transport, has set up a High-Level Group to review the state of the European Union's internal market in road freight transport. The High Level Group, which met for the first time on 27 June, will assess the level of harmonisation of the rules in the fields of social and safety legislation, enforcement and road user charges in order to advise the Commission before any decision on further opening of domestic road transport markets, including further liberalisation of cabotage.


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EU and Indonesia sign deal that will boost air transport

seats in an airplane

The EU and the Republic of Indonesia signed on 29 June 2011 in Brussels an aviation agreement which will restore a sound legal basis for developing future aviation relations between Indonesia and EU Member States. This "horizontal agreement" will place several provisions in the bilateral air services agreements between 19 EU Member States and Indonesia on a sound legal footing by ensuring compliance with EU legislation. Most importantly, it will remove nationality restrictions in bilateral air services agreements between EU Member States and Indonesia. It will thereby allow any EU airline to operate flights between Indonesia and any EU Member State in which it is established, where a bilateral agreement between the EU Member State concerned and Indonesia already exists and traffic rights are available.


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Connecting Europe: Transport

EU Transport Policy is there to put in place the transport infrastructure and interconnections to underpin the Single Market, to ensure the free-flow of goods and people and to support growth, jobs and EU competitiveness. In the past, transport systems in Europe developed largely along national lines. This led to poor or lacking transport interconnections at the borders, or along key corridors. Weak transport interconnections hamper economic growth. On the other hand, every million we spend though the TEN-T fund at European level generates 5 million in investment from Member State Governments. And every million generates 20 million from the private sector. It is estimated that removing 20-25 major bottlenecks to create a core European transport network over the period 2014-2020 would have a very significant impact on economic growth, potentially generating up to 2.9 million jobs. Already today, Another challenge is interoperability. Simply put, the national hardware (rail track widths, safety certification systems, electrification systems, rail signalling etc.) does not join up. Planes have to contact different air traffic controllers in every country they cross. These technical barriers result in duplication and delays. These are also hugely costly and inefficient. Since the 1970s, European transport policy has been working to create key connections and remove the many bottlenecks and barriers blocking the free-flow of goods and people. The results have been very significant.

EU air liberalisation truly changed the face of air transport. The emergence of low cost airlines would simply not have been possible without the EU starting to open up markets in the 1990s. The EU now has 20 low-cost carriers, representing 40.2% of the internal EU market. In 1990 there were none. Thanks to air liberalisation, millions of consumers have gained access to a much greater choice of air routes at far more competitive prices. Liberalisation dramatically boosted the number of air passengers and routes served. Scheduled passenger carriers have risen from 135 to 152, and the average number of routes inside the Union has increased by 140% from 1,680 to 4,000 between 1992 and 2010. At the same time, competition has intensified: routes with more than two competitors have increased by 415% from 93 to 479 (Source: Official Airline Guide). The number of intra-EU passengers has increased from 367 million in 2000 to 480 million in 2009.

Building the missing links, upgrading infrastructure: EU money has been used to partially finance – and stimulate significant investment from Member States – to build missing links and upgrade sections of key transport and corridors. These missing links would probably not be constructed by any one Member State acting on its own – they require European support and co-ordination, sometimes between several Member States.

Malmo – Copenhagen: The Øresund bridge is the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe. It opened to traffic on 1 July 2000. The project cost was €2.7 billion and there were no budget overruns. The EU budget contributed €127 million. Rail travel has developed quickly with a growth of 230% since 2001, with 11.2 million passengers in 2009. Also in that year, 7 million vehicles crossed the Øresund Bridge. Thanks to this interconnection an increasing number of businesses have activities on the other side of Øresund. The most successful examples of cooperation are the Øresund University and the Øresund Science Region. The Øresund fixed link demonstrates the extent to which infrastructure is essential for the functioning of the Internal Market.

The high-speed railway axis Paris – Brussels – Cologne – Amsterdam – London: The first European cross-border high-speed rail network linking Paris-Brussels-Cologne-Amsterdam-London was completed in 2007. It has brought substantial reductions in journey times between the five countries and provides passengers with a real alternative to air and road transport. Journey times were more than halved (e.g. from over 3 hours to 1h22 on the Paris-Brussels link and from over 5 hours to 1h50 on the London-Brussels link). In many cases, the new high speed rail line has completely taken over from traditional air routes. The project has resulted in a huge modal shift from air and road to rail. For example, the number of Eurostar and Thalys passengers increased from 6.5 million in 1995 to 15.3 million in 2009. Airlines no longer provide a service between Paris and Brussels, as taking the train is faster than flying. The EU TEN-T programme provided €720 million in funding while the EIB lent €1.8 billion on a total project cost of €17.3 billion.

The Single European Sky

European skies and airports risk saturation. Without substantial investment to support the deployment of Europe's air traffic management system (the Single European Sky), our airports will be jam-packed. Concretely, by 2030 19 airports will be operating at full capacity eight hours a day, every day of the year, affecting 50% of all flights on departure or arrival or both. In 2007 only 5 airports were operating at or near capacity, involving 17% of flights. But Europe would not only reject a large portion of potential demand. It would also be vulnerable to regular delays and flight cancellations on an unprecedented scale. If we continue with business as usual, congestion costs will increase around 50% by 2050. The main problem is that the air traffic management system is archaic; the basic technologies used date from the 1950s. The solution is European and has a name: SESAR, a joint initiative of the European Commission, EUROCONTROL and the aviation sector with the aim of a) tripling airspace capacity, b) improving safety tenfold, c) reducing environmental impact by 10%, d) reducing air traffic management costs by 50%; and e) shorten passengers' flight time by 10% and reduce cancellations by 50%.

Video on the future of flying

Electric cars are being developed and rolled out on the market. But we need to develop common basic standards for electric charging points across the EU - otherwise you will cross from France to Germany without being able to refuel. That work has started. 42 partners from industry, the energy sector, electric vehicles manufacturers, municipalities as well as universities and research institutions have joined forces to develop and to demonstrate a commonly accepted and user-friendly framework for the charging infrastructure. The project called 'Green emotion' has a total budget of €41.8 million and will be funded from the European Commission with €24.2 million. Green eMotion will connect ongoing regional and national electromobility initiatives leveraging on the results and comparing the different technology approaches to promote the best solutions for the European market.


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