Newsletter
Issue n° 154 - 22 November 2013

Mobility and transport

In the spotlight

EU-China Summit

EU and China working together to improve urban mobility

As part of the EU/China Urban Partnership the EU and China are working together to improve urban mobility. On the 21st of November 2013, Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, in charge of transport, addressed the 2nd EU China Urban Forum in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing. The annual Forum brings together hundreds of EU and Chinese city Mayors as well as academics and business representatives with an interest in the future of urbanisation in order to share ideas and identify future co-operation activities.

Read the full article


As part of the EU/China Urban Partnership the EU and China are working together to improve urban mobility.

On the 21 November, Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, in charge of transport, addressed the 2nd EU China Urban Forum in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing.

The annual Forum brings together hundreds of EU and Chinese city Mayors as well as academics and business representatives with an interest in the future of urbanisation in order to share ideas and identify future co-operation activities.

Mr Kallas said: "Cities are and always will be places of exchange: exchange of goods and ideas. Cities will be the drivers of economic growth in the 21st Century – but there is a risk that the quality of life in cities deteriorates making them unattractive, inefficient and socially divisive. Together Europe and China can lead the way towards sustainable urbanisation and create a win-win situation for our citizens, business and the environment.”

Improving urban mobility so as to increase the accessibility and attractiveness of urban areas is a major challenge in both Europe and China. Solutions to the problems of air pollution, road congestion, safety and energy demand are being explored together.

Europe is widely regarded as having excellent urban mobility expertise and technologies; China with its large and rapidly expanding cities is the world's largest market for urban mobility goods and services.
Over the last year European and Chinese experts have worked together to prepare urban mobility policy recommendations that will be presented to the Chinese leadership in November 2013. The purpose of the recommendations is to help the Chinese State Council set the right course for urban mobility in China.
The European Commission (in consultation with the EU Chamber of Commerce in China) has agreed with the Chinese government to focus on co-operation activities in the following areas: Public transport operations and management, congestion management, sustainable urban mobility planning and urban road safety.

Background
The EU/China Urban Partnership was signed by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso on behalf of the European Union and its Member States in May 2012. It is a broad co-operation agreement stimulating exchange and joint activities between experts, companies, politicians and public administrations.
On the occasion of 2013 EU/China Summit in Beijing, EU companies are participating in the EU China Exhibition on Urban Development (20 – 23 November 2013) that was opened by Commission Vice-President Kallas on 20 November 2013.

For more information:
http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/china/eu_china/sustainable_urbanisation/sustainable_urbanisation.htm



  - Read the Memo 

More news

European Parliament backs new EU infrastructure policy


In the most radical overhaul of EU infrastructure policy since its inception in the 1980s, the European Parliament has today given final approval to new maps showing the nine major corridors which will act as a backbone for transportation in Europe's single market and revolutionise East–West connections. To match this level of ambition, Parliament also voted to triple EU financing for transport infrastructure for the period 2014–2020 to €26.3 billion.

Taken as a whole, the new EU infrastructure policy will transform the existing patchwork of European roads, railways, airports and canals into a unified trans-European transport network (TEN-T).

European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "Transport is vital to the European economy. Without good connections Europe will not grow or prosper. This new EU infrastructure policy will put in place a powerful European transport network across 28 Member States to promote growth and competitiveness. It will connect East with West and replace today’s transport patchwork with a network that is genuinely European."

The new EU infrastructure policy

The new policy establishes, for the first time, a core transport network built on nine major corridors: 2 North–South corridors, 3 East–West corridors; and 4 diagonal corridors. The core network will transform East–West connections, remove bottlenecks, upgrade infrastructure and streamline cross-border transport operations for passengers and businesses throughout the EU. It will improve connections between different modes of transport and contribute to the EU's climate change objectives. The core network is to be completed by 2030.

Financing for transport infrastructure will triple for the period 2014–2020 to €26.3 billion. This EU funding will be tightly focused on the core transport network where there is most EU added value. To prioritise East–West connections, almost half the total EC transport infrastructure funding (€11.3 billion from the "Connecting Europe Facility", or CEF) will be ring-fenced only for cohesion countries.

The new core transport network will be supported by a comprehensive network of routes, feeding into the core network at regional and national level. The comprehensive network, will ensure full coverage of the EU and accessibility of all regions. The aim is to ensure that progressively, and by 2050, the great majority of Europe's citizens and businesses will be no more than 30 minutes' travel time from this comprehensive network.

Taken as a whole, the new transport network will deliver:

  • safer and less congested travel
  • smoother and quicker journeys.

The €26.3 billion (current prices) allocated to transport under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) of the MFF (multi-annual financial framework) will effectively act as "seed capital" to stimulate further investment by Member States to complete difficult cross-border connections and links which might not otherwise get built. It is estimated that the cost of implementing the first financing phase for the core network for 2014–2020 (see attached list of projects) will cost €250 billion. The core network is to be completed by 2030.

The new core network – the figures

The core network will connect:

  • 94 main European ports with rail and road links
  • 38 key airports with rail connections into major cities
  • 15,000 km of railway line upgraded to high speed
  • 35 cross-border projects to reduce bottlenecks

This will be the economic lifeblood of the single market, allowing a real free flow of goods and people around the EU.

For more information:

European Commission and Member States to assess barriers restricting access to regulated professions [MEMO/13/897]

One trillion euro to invest in Europe's future – the EU's budge [IP/13/1096]

A map of the core TEN-T (Trans-European Transport Network) and the nine major corridors



Brussels Ring Road studies to receive EU support


20 November 2013

Brussels Ring Road studies to receive EU support

The European Union will co-finance with €1 million from the TEN-T Programme a study to optimise the Brussels Ring Road and improve its traffic flow and safety.

The study, which was selected for funding under the 2012 TEN-T Annual Programme, will analyse solutions to improve the traffic flow as well as the road safety of the Brussels Ring Road. The main aim is to try and separate local and transit traffic, without extending the existing road infrastructure.
More specifically, the EU co-funded study includes an Environmental Impact Assessment and the pre-design for the Brussels Ring Roads East and West, as well as an examination of the possibility to set up a public-private partnership (PPP) for the future works.
The study will be monitored by the Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency (TEN-T EA) and is set to be completed by December 2015.

For more information, e-mail: TENEA-COMMUNICATION@ec.europa.eu

 



Studies and works to make Spain’s rail network interoperable helped by over €72 million in EU co-financing


19 November 2013

Studies and works to make Spain’s rail network interoperable helped by over €72 million in EU co-financing

The European Union will co-finance with a combined total amount of over €72 million from the TEN-T Programme two projects to plan and implement rail track changeover to improve the interoperability of an important stretch of Mediterranean rail corridor in Spain. The projects, once finalised, will contribute to the realisation of the “High-speed rail interoperability in the Iberian Peninsula” (TEN-T Priority Project 19)
The first project, selected for just over €4.8 million of funding under the 2012 TEN-T Multi-Annual Call, concerns first phase studies. Spanish railways use the broader Iberian gauge (the distance between railway tracks) which means that Spanish convoys cannot directly connect to France and the rest of Europe where the standard European UIC gauge is used. Converting the Spanish railway network to the more widely used gauge is hence of the utmost importance.

These will address the final design for the implementation of UIC gauge on the rail section between the Castellbisbal Hub (located northwest of Barcelona) and Murcia. The section, which is part of Priority Project 19, will ultimately have 340 km of double track and 230 km of single track.
The outcome of the studies will serve as the basis for the actual works to start.
The second project, also supported by the TEN-T Multi-Annual Programme to the tune of €68.1 million, consists of works to implement UIC gauge on a portion of the rail network. The concerned section, also part of PP19, is located between Castellbisbal and Nud de Vilaseca near Tarragona. The works cover the necessary adaptations on the installations and line elements for the operation of 750 m long trains in mixed Iberian/UIC gauge. They will be carried out along 90 km of double track and 7 km of single track, allowing the access to the Port of Tarragona in UIC gauge.

The project will contribute to fostering interoperability and intermodality in the Spanish rail network, ultimately making rail transport more economically viable for commercial operators.
Both initiatives will be monitored by the Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency (TEN-T EA) and are set to be completed by 2014 and 2015 respectively.

For more information, e-mail: TENEA-COMMUNICATION@ec.europa.eu

 


 



EU and USA exchange best practices on rail


4-8 November 2013

EU and USA exchange best practices on rail

A delegation of EU Commission officials and representatives of the European Railway Agency have joined the Association of the European Rail Industry (UNIFE) on a recent visit to Washington DC. At a Round Table organised by the US House of Representatives Transport and Infrastructure Committee Staff on “Best Passenger Rail Practices from Around the Globe”, participants showed great interest in the EU's approach. A technical meeting between EU representatives and the US Federal Railroad Administration showed the many similarities in the challenges to railway safety and interoperability, and an interest in each other's research activities. It was agreed to exchange as much information as possible.

The signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between UNIFE and the American Public Transportation Association APTA was celebrated with a reception at the EU Delegation, opened by Ambassador João Vale de Almeidal. He said: "Rail transport is a perfect illustration of how Europeans and Americans secretly admire and wonder about each other. Americans traveling through Europe love the fast and comfortable Passenger High-Speed Rail Network - which after three decades is still far from being complete - that is bringing Europe closer together. Europeans stand in wonder when they hear that American freight trains carry more than 40% of intercity cargo and have invested almost half a trillion dollars of private money since their deregulation in 1980. We can learn a lot from each other, both on the technical and on the regulatory side."


 


 



Commission takes Germany to Court for failure to separate financial flows between train operators and rail track managers


Brussels, 20 November 2013

The European Commission has decided to take Germany to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failure to comply with EU rules on financial transparency in the rail sector. The current arrangements in Germany do not exclude that public funds can be used to cross subsidise passenger and freight train services open to competition.

Background:

The Commission considers that Germany has failed to comply with key provisions of the 2001 First Railway Package on financial transparency (Directives 91/440/EEC and 2001/14/EC now replaced by the Rail Recast 2012/34/EU).

1) by failing to ensure that the accounts for the two areas infrastructure and transport operation are kept in a way which reflects the prohibition to transfer public funds for the infrastructure to transport activities.

2) by failing to ensure that track access charges for the use of infrastructure may only be used to fund the business of the infrastructure manager.

3) by failing to ensure that public funds paid for the provision of passenger transport services, under PSO (public service obligations) are shown separately in the relevant accounts.

Overall, the current arrangements in Germany do not exclude the possibility to use public funds, intended for infrastructure and public services under (PSO) public service obligations, to cross subsidise passenger and freight trains services open to competition. This could distort competition, potentially giving an unfair competitive advantage to those receiving the public subsidies. This is contrary to existing EU rules, which aim at establishing an efficient, non-distorted and competitive EU internal market for rail.

For more information:

On the November infringement package decisions, see MEMO/13/1005

On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12



Air transport: Commission refers Portugal to the Court of Justice for failing to guarantee independence of airport slot coordinator


Brussels, 20 November 2013

The European Commission has decided to refer Portugal to the EU's Court of Justice for failure to comply with EU common rules on the allocation of airport slots. At congested airports in the EU, the airport slot coordinator is in charge of allocating landing and take-off slots in a non-discriminatory, neutral and transparent manner, one of the essential pillars of a system that allows fair competition and best possible allocation of scarce slots to competing airlines. Under EU law, Member States are responsible for providing a legal framework that separates the functions of the slot coordinator with those of any interested party. Moreover, the coordinator’s financing system must guarantee its financial independence. The current Portuguese slot coordinator is part of Aeroportos de Portugal S.A. (or ANA), the airport's managing body. The slot coordination personnel is employed by ANA and the coordinator’s budget is approved by the ANA Board of Administration. Under these circumstances, the Commission considers that the slot coordinator cannot function independently and autonomously from ANA. Furthermore, up to now ANA has covered all the slot coordinator’s costs. Consequently the Commission considers that the slot coordinator is not financially independent from ANA and that this may prejudice fair competition.

Background:

The European Commission sent a reasoned opinion to Portugal in January 2013 (see MEMO/13/22). In the absence of Portugal adopting the needed legislative measures, the European Commission has decided to refer the case to the Court of Justice.

For more information:

On the November infringement package decisions, see MEMO/13/1005

On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12



Commissioner' s corner

Speech - Opening the Urban Mobility Sub-Forum

Mobile technologies are opening new ways for cities and citizens to interact. They offer new ways for citizens to be informed about what is happening in their city, and new ways to influence behaviour on new ideas. While these rapid changes present a lot of challenges I’m convinced that this is a positive trend. Great cities, despite their size, have a human dimension – citizens' views and concerns must be taken into account.

Siim Kallas

Read the full speech


Beijing Jiaotong University/Beijing

21 November 2013

 

Dear Vice-Minister for Transport, Mr Weng Mengyong, Dear President of the Beijing Jiaotong University, Mr Ning Bin, dear Director General of NDRC, Mr Huang Min, Dear Dear Mayors, Dear Colleagues,

As the European Commissioner responsible for transport and mobility it is a great pleasure for me to be here today at the opening of this Urban Mobility Sub-Forum. Cities are and always will be places of exchange: exchange of goods and ideas. The challenge of urban mobility is to maximise the exchanges of goods and ideas – while maintaining the attractiveness of city life.

But cities are where many of transport’s negative impacts are of the greatest concern. This is why urban transport lies at the heart of the European Commission’s plans for sustainable smart growth and the transition to a resource-efficient economy.

85% of the European GDP is already generated in cities – and cities will be the drivers of economic growth in the EU and China. We must work to ensure they are safe, clean and efficient.

There are many similarities and many differences in urban mobility in China and Europe. Europe’s cities limits are largely fixed; Chinese cities are still expanding. We have low levels of walking and cycling and are working hard to increase them; you have high levels of walking and cycling – but they are falling fast. We have high and stable levels of motorisation; you have low and rapidly rising car ownership and use. You have innovative car ownership management measures (I’m thinking of the number plate auction and lotteries you have in some of the biggest cities); we have innovative car sharing solutions. You have high levels of e-bikes; while they are just taking off in Europe.

Throughout the 28 European Union Member States we have implemented innovation-conducive policies through open, transparent and non-discriminatory trade policies creating a level playing for economic operators regardless of their nationality. China has much to gain from implementing such an approach which stimulates innovation and reduces costs. Both Europe and China have problems with air quality and congestion. With the resulting illness and delays with a huge direct economic impact.

We can gain a lot by working on policy and technological solutions to these problems together.

I’m pleased that EU and Chinese experts have already been working together this year to identify urban mobility policy recommendations for the State Council – that we presented to the Chinese leadership last week. A copy of these recommendations is available for you and will be presented to you briefly today.

In Europe we have some great examples of urban mobility, and some bad ones. A key lesson from our experience is that sustainable mobility does not happen by accident. You get what you plan for. If you plan for attractive, clean, efficient and fair mobility – that is what you get. This is easy to say – but very difficult to do.

Successful urban mobility requires careful attention, expertise, resources and effort over many, many years. If politicians at the national and local level set the right policies – and the city managers deliver – then you can achieve great results. But without consistent, long-term attention and effort – you will get the kind of chaotic, congested and inefficient cities we see in some other countries.

National leaders often neglect urban mobility. To ensure the success of our cities Chinese and European leaders must provide the necessary policy direction, guidelines and resources. Only then can local mayors deliver.

Improving urban mobility also requires a long-term vision – in our European transport policy we have set the objective of ‘phasing out the use of conventionally fuelled cars in cities by 2050’. This will help us achieve our air quality, climate change and energy security objectives.

I look forward to hearing about China’s long term vision and targets for urban mobility. It’s principally the job of city governments to guide urban development according to local needs and circumstances. But city governments can’t do it alone – they need to co- operate – with national government, with the private sector, with research institutions and, importantly, with their citizens.

Mobile technologies are opening new ways for cities and citizens to interact. They offer new ways for citizens to be informed about what is happening in their city, and new ways to influence behaviour on new ideas. While these rapid changes present a lot of challenges I’m convinced that this is a positive trend. Great cities, despite their size, have a human dimension – citizens' views and concerns must be taken into account.

Let me give just a few examples.

New smartphone-based solutions allow us to:

- find the quickest way of travelling by public transport, check when the next bus will arrive and then pay for my trip with ease,

- share a car,

- see exactly which routes cyclists and pedestrians use – so cities can improve them,

- find out where the nearest rental bike is,

- even directly report a damaged bus stop to the responsible authorities.

Europe has great urban expertise and equipment. China has the world’s largest ‘urban mobility’ market. I am convinced that this EU–China co-operation on urban mobility is a win-win solution for our citizens and companies. But we must also remember that the impact of our urbanisation efforts goes beyond European and Chinese domestic interests.

We need to ensure sustainable mobility in our cities not only for our citizens and our economies but because our cities have a global environmental and geo-political impact. The urban mobility choices we make have a massive impact on global resources use (in particular global oil demand) and greenhouse gas emissions.

Because of its rapid urbanisation and scale China has a special responsibility but also a unique opportunity – if China chooses the right path it can be a global leader in urbanisation and urban transport and can be a model for rapidly urbanising countries throughout the world.

These are the reasons why we are committed to the EU/China Urban Partnership signed by European Union and the Government of China last year. But this partnership is not just something between governments – its success depends on you.

This event today has been designed to provide a platform for contacts and exchange with your peers. All of you here whether you are an academic, politician, government official, technical expert or in business – should take the opportunity to exchange ideas and build new ideas, relationships and projects. In consultation with stakeholders we have identified four priority areas for co-operation that you will be focussing on today:

Sustainable urban mobility plans,

Public transport operations and management

Urban road safety and

Congestion management and road user charging.

We are asking you to discuss these four topics and identify the common interest and what we should do together. We will take the outcome of your discussions, and use it as input as we define the future of our EU/China urban mobility co-operation. By working together we can improve the lives of hundreds of millions of our citizens – and have a positive impact on the rest of the world.

At the European level we are doing our best to provide the support necessary to help you make this urban mobility co-operation a success. For example:

The EC-LINK initiative, to be launched later today, and run through the EU delegation in Beijing, is specifically designed to provide the necessary funding for practical EU/China low carbon city co-operation projects over the next 4 years. In our new European research programme "Horizon 2020" we will support a large scale joint EU/China urban mobility demonstration project that should be prepared next year and start in 2015.

In closing I’d like to thank the Beijing Jiaotong University for hosting us today, and to thank the EU Chamber of Commerce in China for their help in preparing the event and the experts who have travelled from Europe to be with us today. I look forward to seeing you at the end of today and hearing about the results of your discussions.

Good luck!



Figure of the month

9500 km

The distance that the average European travelled by car in 2010

More information

We were asked about...

Drop in EU transport infrastructure investment

Public investment in transport infrastructure has, on average, been falling since the late 1970s across the EU. In 1975 investments in inland transport stood at 1.5% of GDP across the EU. By 2008, the level of such investments had fallen below 0.8% — a record low.

Is the Commission concerned about this situation?

Read the answer


Question asked by: Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE)

Subject: Drop in EU transport infrastructure investment

Public investment in transport infrastructure has, on average, been falling since the late 1970s across the EU. In 1975 investments in inland transport stood at 1.5% of GDP across the EU. By 2008, the level of such investments had fallen below 0.8% — a record low. Is the Commission concerned about this situation?

Answer given by Mr Kallas on behalf of the European Commission
(19.11.2013)

The Commission shares the Honourable Member's concerns on the decrease of public investment in transport infrastructure in the EU.

In its proposals for the new TEN-T guidelines and on the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)the Commission noted that in the past decade infrastructure spending in the EU has been, on average, on a declining path. The Commission also felt that while this situation was partly due to the global economic downturn, the crisis has brought renewed interest in targeted infrastructure investments as an important part of stimulus recovery plans.

It is estimated that the completion of the TEN-T would require about EUR 500 billion by 2020, of which EUR 250 billion would be needed to complete missing links and remove bottlenecks in the core network.

While the national budgets are expected to play a major role in the financing of the required transport infrastructures, the EU budget will provide a significant contribution to ensure that EU infrastructure priorities are actually delivered. Under the upcoming 2014-2020 MFF, the transport component of the CEF will make available EUR 26.2 billion for projects of common interest, including EUR 11.3 billion transferred from the Cohesion Fund.

In order to optimise the impact of CEF funding the Commission will increase the recourse to financial instruments, building on the experience of e.g. the Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative. Such instruments produce a multiplier effect in so far as they attract other public and private financing which leverage the EU and national contributions.



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