European Mobility Week: Vice-President Kallas calls for innovation to make hydrogen cars cost-competitive
Zero-emission cars are no longer a distant vision. As part of European Mobility Week , Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas is today participating in a debate about hydrogen and fuel cell powered cars.
These cars offer the same benefits as battery electric cars: high energy efficiency, zero tail-pipe emissions and quiet operation. But their range is much longer, and refuelling quick, which makes them a perfect solution for both urban and long-distance trips. However, the sector is still maturing and needs substantial research and development effort to become cost-competitive.
This is why the Commission is proposing a budget of €700 million for centralised research, as part of the Horizon 2020 programme. Vice-President Kallas said: "If Europe does not want to be left behind in the race to materializing a low-carbon future, it must innovate. With Horizon 2020, we have a chance to turn brilliant ideas into viable products."
The "Drive 'n' Ride" debate is taking place today from 12:45 to 15:00 on the European Parliament's Esplanade in Brussels.
European Commission invests €600 million in new research to unblock congestion in Europe's airspace
Brussels, 10 July 2013
The European Commission has today announced €600 million of new funding to unblock congestion in Eu
The Commission is looking to head off a capacity crunch as the number of flights is forecast to increase by 50% over the next 10-20 years. The goal is to develop the new technology needed to deliver Europe's Single Sky – the ambitious project to reform Europe's airspace, doubling capacity and halving air traffic management costs.
EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said, "Europe's skies and airports risk saturation. If we leave things as they are, we will be confronted with heavy congestion and chaos in our airspace. On the ground, airports will be so crowded that there will be 2 million flights unable to take off or land. Increased congestion brings with it increased safety risk- as well as delays and real economic costs. This vital research funding holds the keys to unlocking the technology needed to deliver a cleaner, more efficient, European airspace fit for the 21
Inefficiencies in Europe's fragmented airspace bring extra costs of close to 5 billion Euros each year to airlines and their customers. They add 42 kilometres to the distance of an average flight forcing aircraft to burn more fuel, generate more emissions, pay more in costly user charges and suffer greater delays. The United States controls the same amount of airspace, with more traffic, at almost half the cost.
This research is critical to delivering t
he Single European Sky, the flagship project to create a single European airspace – tripling capacity and halving air traffic costs. It will
continue to be managed by the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking (JU) - whose mandate will be prolonged for a further 8 years, until 2024.
The research aims to make flying cleaner, cheaper and safer. The new funding will focus on
developing means to allow airlines to fly their preferred (and more direct) routes, using new technologies for data exchange between air and ground;
integrating new types of aircraft, such as drones, in the air traffic management system;
optimising traffic management, in particular on the ground; for example to make the access to and exit from the runways more efficient and safer in all weather conditions.
The project involves more than 2500 experts covering the full range of air traffic management (ATM) expertise.
Their work on
coordinated ATM related research will continue, as well as development and validation activities, including large scale demonstrations.
The extension of the SESAR JU shows the Commission's strong commitment to the Single European Sky project (see IP 13/523) and recognises the importance of the results that the SESAR JU has already achieved to date.
The SESAR JU will continue to be co-financed by Eurocontrol and the aviation industry. The EU's share of the funding for the extension, amounting to a maximum of 600 million Euros, will come from the Horizon 2020 programme, as part of the EU's new Multi-Annual Financial Framework. This is part of an estimated total budget covering the new work programme of the extended SESAR JU of €1.6 billion. Indicatively, this budget will support ATM exploratory research (6%), applied research (47%), pre-industrial development (28%) and large scale demonstration projects (9%).
is a unique public-private partnership that aims to develop a new generation of air traffic management (ATM) system capable of coping with growing air traffic, under the safest, most cost-efficient and environmentally friendly conditions. It is also the “guardian” of the European ATM Master Plan, the roadmap for all SESAR JU’s activities and their future deployment.
The SESAR JU was established in 2007 to coordinate all the ATM related research and development activities in the EU under the 2007-2013 financial perspectives, which limited the duration of the Joint Undertaking to 31 December 2016.
The 2 founding members of the SESAR JU, (the EU and Eurocontrol) and its other 15 members, which include public and private entities such as aircraft manufacturer Airbus, major national air navigation service providers and airports and equipment manufacturers, such as Thales, Indra, Alenia Aermacchi, Frequentis, Selex SI and Honeywell, have already confirmed their commitment to continue their work in SESAR.
The SESAR JU has a critical role to play in developing the technology to
he Single European Sky, the flagship project to create a single European airspace:
Cutting ATM-related expenses for airspace users in half
Reducing by 10% the effects flights have on the environment
Delivering a 3-fold increase in capacity which will also reduce delays both on the ground and in the air
Improving safety by a factor of 10.
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Aviation safety: Member States support the revision of aircrew fatigue rules
The Member States voted today strongly in support of a draft proposal made by the Commission aimed at revising the current EU safety rules governing the fatigue of aircrew, commonly called "flight and duty limitations and rest requirements" (or "flying time limitations"- FTL). The revision aims at consolidating, clarifying, complementing - and making more stringent – the current rules, taking into consideration the available scientific, operational and international information.
Siim Kallas, Commission Vice-President responsible for transport, said: "The travelling public needs reassurance that the public authorities are doing everything possible to ensure safety in the skies, including the sensitive and complicated question of aircrew fatigue. We are determined to see stronger, safer rules applying across Europe, whether in relation to night time flying or on rest periods. So I am delighted at this strong support from Member States for this important proposal. This will bring about major improvements across Europe for the safety of our citizens and flight crew."
Member States today voted strongly in support of the Commission proposal to amend the EU rules on flight time limitation
The current FTL rules are contained in Subpart Q of Annex III to Council Regulation (EEC) No 3922/91, which applies since July 2007.
As for all aviation safety fields, Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 requires the Commission to adopt an implementing regulation to transfer the current FTL rules to the legislative and institutional framework of this Regulation, and to revise the existing rules in line with the latest scientific evidence and technical developments. The aim is to ensure a coherent safety regulatory system at EU level.
These objectives were well attained by the technical proposals made by EASA to the Commission in October 2012
. The EASA Opinion was the result of a careful and comprehensive consultation and assessment processes, involving all stakeholders concerned.
A thorough assessment of the EASA Opinion and consultation of all stakeholders was conducted before the Commission felt satisfied that it had a sufficient basis for proposing the new regulation. It was clear from the consultation that certain issues needed to be refined, and the Commission therefore proposed amendments to address issues identified by aircrew unions, by airlines, by the European Parliament, and by Member States. Improvements touched, among others, the important issues of possible derogations from the EU rules, the relationship with social legislation, airport duty, reserve, delayed reporting, in-flight rest for cabin crew, night flights and standby.
In discussion in the EASA Committee, Member States highlighted the high quality of the proposed rules, the fair balance found and the clear safety improvements achieved. They also stressed their agreement with the Commission that there should be a continuous and ongoing assessment of the FTL regime, based on real operational data, to ensure that the system is effective and ensuring a proper level of safety protection.
During the discussions which took place today, Member States discussed several options for regulating night flight duties and standby outside the airport. The majority found that the proposals presented by the Commission and by EASA to regulate these areas were sufficiently protective.
In the case of night duties, Member States welcome the Commission proposal to reduce the maximum night time duties from the current 11 hours 45 minutes to 11 hours, and supported the proposed requirement to manage actively duty rosters including night duties longer than 10 hours using fatigue management principles, which should ensure safe air operations in the most proportionate manner.
On standby, Member States were satisfied with the reassurances from EASA which offer further protection.
It was also made clear that the FTL safety rules are without prejudice to the applicable EU and national social legislation, including rules concerning working time, health and safety at work or the existing collective labour agreements (CLAs). In addition, the relation between safety and social rules is based on the principle that the most protective rule applies.
This positive vote now triggers a 3 month scrutiny of the Regulation by the European Parliament and the Council, which should start by the end of this month.
The Commission thanked the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the Member States and stakeholders for the work done and for the support provided to allow the modernization of this important piece of EU legislation.
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Passenger Rights: Meglena Kuneva launches new information campaign in Riga
Riga, 4 September 2013
Meglena Kuneva, former European Commissioner for consumer protection and now special adviser on passenger rights to Vice-President Siim Kallas, will be in Riga as ambassador for the promotion of passenger rights on 5 September 2013. During the visit she will meet the authorities in charge of enforcing maritime, bus, air and rail passenger rights and will participate in several meetings with transport and consumer associations. This visit to Latvia marks the beginning of a wider European tour in the context of the Commission's new awareness campaign on Passenger Rights.
Ms Kuneva said: "the EU is the only region in the world where passengers enjoy basic rights when travelling by air, train, ship and bus. However, only 34% of the travellers are aware of their rights. We need to make sure that consumers get to know these rules and how they can benefit from them”.
During the visit, Ms. Kuneva will participate in a stakeholder meeting with the following objectives:
- To increase awareness of passenger rights;
- To collect information on how EU rules on passenger rights for all transport modes are applied in Latvia;
- To further involve stakeholders in the EU Passenger Rights Campaign and in the correct implementation of EU rules on passenger rights.
Ms Kuneva will take this opportunity to meet the Latvian national authorities in charge of the enforcement of passenger rights legislation to discuss practical issues such as assistance to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility as well as cooperation on communicating passenger rights to the citizens.
Ms Kuneva will also participate in the 10th anniversary meeting of the Association of Pan-European Coach Terminals to explain the importance of bus and coach terminals in the implementation of the EU passenger rights Regulation. This meeting is jointly organised with the International Road Transport Union (IRU), the global industry federation with members in 73 countries worldwide which represents the interests of bus, coach, taxi and truck operators.
Yves Mannaerts, Vice President of the IRU, said: “The European bus and coach industry is ready and willing to shoulder its responsibilities under the new EU passengers’ rights legislation, applicable to buses and coaches since March this year. To do so, however, we also need appropriate infrastructure, and in particular terminals, to welcome our passengers in the safest and most convenient way. A free and unrestricted access to other modes’ terminals would also help bus and coach operators to offer higher quality services to their current and future customers.”
In the coming months Ms Kuneva will participate in similar events throughout the EU. During her visits she will personally meet Heads of National Enforcement Bodies (NEBs), passenger rights mediators, organisations of passengers and disabled persons as well as transport operators and tourism companies to discuss the application of the different EU regulations on passenger rights in Member States and how to raise awareness among citizens.
Riga International Airport accounted for nearly 5 million passengers in 2012, being the largest airport in the Baltic States with direct flights to over 80 destinations in 30 countries. Latvia has also a considerable number of passenger ferry connections across the Baltic Sea. Riga International Bus Stations is the biggest transport hub in the Baltic region with nearly 7 million passengers per year.
For more info
The campaign material and more information are available at "Your Passenger Rights At Hand" website.
Rail Passenger rights: good implementation but efforts still needed for protection of rail travellers
Brussels, September 2013
The European Commission has released today a report assessing how Member States authorities and the railway industry are applying rules for the protection of rail passengers. While the protection of rail passengers has improved since the Regulation is applicable, around 61% of all national long distance services and 83% of regional and suburban services are not yet applying the full range of rail passenger rights because Member States opted for transitional periods and exemptions. This practice could become an obstacle to the achievement of a complete rail passenger rights regime in the EU.
European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "Every year, almost 8 billion passengers use the train to go to work, for business trips or leisure. We need to make sure that all of them, notwithstanding the type and length of rail journey they undertake, are protected by European Passenger Rights legislation."
Regulation (EU) No 1371/2007, which entered into force on 3 December 2009, sets up minimum rights for rail travellers and imposes a number of obligations on rail companies concerning their responsibility towards their customers. The Regulation allows Member States to opt for transitional periods and exemptions from major provisions of the Regulation for the following rail services:
- domestic rail;
- urban, suburban and regional rail;
- services or journeys where a significant part of the service, including at least one scheduled station stop, is operated outside the EU.
Overall, both national authorities and rail companies have made good efforts to ensure the protection of rail passengers in the EU, notably on international services. Where services are not exempted or when Member States cannot opt out, the rules have been well applied and enforced. However, the Member Statess extensive use of exemptions risks creating an empty shell for national services.
It is contrary to the policy objectives of a single European Railway Area. Patchy application of the Regulation also means a lack of level playing field between railway companies, depending on the type of services they provide.
Some Member States also need to improve their enforcement activities. And a few railway companies need to ensure that their liabilities in case of accident are sufficiently covered.
The Commission considers that the extensive use of exemptions by some Member States is an obstacle for the fulfilment of the Regulation's objectives.
 Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on rail passengers’ rights and obligations, OJ L 315, 3.12.2007
2013 EU Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan