Making Europe’s roads safer: the way ahead
A speech from Vice-President Siim Kallas, 17 June 2013, at the ETSC Road Safety PIN Conference in Brussels
"One of our main aims is to do more to protect vulnerable road users - pedestrians, cyclists, children and the elderly. As Europe’s cities are growing, so are traffic volumes in towns and cities.
This is where a pedestrian runs the highest risk of being killed or seriously injured. Pedestrian safety is slowly improving, but it has not yet improved as much as that of car drivers.
And motorcyclists: as you know, motorbike and scooter riders, particularly the young, are the highest risk group of road users.
Here, we have tried to do something. The main problem is that there are simply too many vehicles with technical defects on the road.
So the Commission proposed toughening vehicle testing regimes and widening their scope to include motorbikes and scooters. Today’s rules date from 1977 and do not cover two- and three-wheeled vehicles.
What happened? This proposal has now been rejected twice, by EU ministers and the European Parliament’s transport committee. This is more than unfortunate – and it is yet another unnecessary political compromise."
SPEECH: Unleashing the potential of rail in the EU
A speech from Vice-President Siim Kallas, 17 June 2013, at CER 25th anniversary in Brussels
"In the early 19th century, the steam locomotive heralded the start of modern travel in Europe. Rail, with its speed and convenience, ushered in the industrial age. In the last century, rail transport developed mostly within national borders.
Each country tended to set up its own system with its own technical and operational standards. Today, we are still living with the consequences of that fragmented market. We have a collection of national railways that differ in track gauge, electrification, signalling and in many other technical areas. Rail is just not as competitive as it should be. It is not realising its full potential.
Together, we have achieved a lot in the last 25 years. It has been an uphill struggle. Looking to the next 25, there are still several obstacles – technical and administrative - that prevent us from completing a genuine single European railway area."