Newsletter
Issue n° 155 - 29 November 2013

Mobility and transport

In the spotlight

eu and ukraine flags

EU and Ukraine skies to join forces

The European Union and Ukraine have initialled a comprehensive air services agreement at the margins of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. This agreement opens the way towards a "Common Aviation Area" between the EU and Ukraine, based on common and reliable standards in important areas such as aviation safety and air traffic management. It will foster market access and offer new opportunities for consumers and airlines on both sides.

Read the full article


The European Union and Ukraine have initialled a comprehensive air services agreement at the margins of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. This agreement opens the way towards a "Common Aviation Area" between the EU and Ukraine, based on common and reliable standards in important areas such as aviation safety and air traffic management. It will foster market access and offer new opportunities for consumers and airlines on both sides.

Vice-President Siim Kallas, EU commissioner for mobility and transport, said: " The agreement reached in Vilnius today will allow the EU and Ukraine to become partners in aviation through gradual market integration. It is an important stepping stone for our strategy to achieve closer cooperation between the EU and its neighbours, particularly in the context of the Eastern Partnership . "

Air transport for passengers as well as for cargo between Ukraine and the EU has been growing steadily in recent years. The agreement aims to gradually open the respective aviation markets and integrate Ukraine into a wider European common aviation area. To attain these objectives, Ukraine will have to align its legislation with EU aviation standards and enforce EU requirements in areas such as aviation safety, air traffic management, security, environment, economic regulation, competition, consumer protection and social aspects.

Today's agreement is expected to offer further transport opportunities, more direct connections and economic benefits on both sides:

  • New investment opportunities in airlines will open up by allowing reciprocal majority ownership. This will facilitate the development of airlines and the consolidation of the sector.

  • As from IATA summer season 2015, all EU airlines will be able to operate direct flights to Ukraine from anywhere in the EU. The same will apply for Ukrainian airlines.

  • All limitations to weekly flights between Ukraine and the EU will be removed, and free and fair competition will help the establishing of market prices for all flights.

On a parallel track, the two sides committed to cooperate in order to achieve convergence of the Ukrainian aircraft certification system with the EU relevant prerequisites.

This agreement will promote free movement of persons and goods and expand commercial opportunities. As a consequence, it will be a valuable instrument for facilitating the application of the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and in particular the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.

Background

The European Commission received a mandate for negotiating a "Common Aviation Area" agreement with Ukraine in December 2006. Both sides will soon start their respective internal procedures for the signature of the agreement and its entry into force. On the EU side, the agreement will be forwarded to the Council and the European Parliament. Following the signature, the ratification process will begin.

Similar comprehensive air transport agreements have been signed with other neighbouring countries, namely the Western Balkans, Morocco, Georgia, Jordan, Moldova and Israel.

Further information:

More information on international aviation relations of the EU at:

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/air_portal/international/index_en.htm

MEMO/13/1065



More news

Making Europe's cities smarter


Brussels, 26 November 2013

At a conference hosted by the European Commission, city leaders, CEOs and civil society leaders discussed the actions outlined in the " Smart Cities Strategic Implementation Plan " and how to put them into practice. The Commission announced that it will launch an 'Invitation for Smart City and Community Commitments' in spring 2014 to mobilise work on the action plan's priorities. The plan is part of Europe's fifth "Innovation Partnership".

Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, in charge of transport, said: "I am very pleased to see transport operators, telecoms companies, vehicle manufacturers, city planners, energy companies and researchers all gathered in one room to discuss the future of our cities. The Smart Cities initiative is a great opportunity to make changes happen for less congestion and better business opportunities in our cities. We need to keep up the momentum and move from plan to action now."

Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes, responsible for the Digital Agenda, said: "The future of infrastructure and city planning will be based on integrating ICT systems and using big data to make our cities better places to live and work. We need to base those new systems on open standards for hardware, software, data and services which this European Innovation Partnership will develop."

Günther H. Oettinger, EU Commissioner for energy, said: "The European Innovation Partnership for Smart Cities and Communities is about making investments in sustainable development in as many cities as possible. Creating equal partnerships between cities and companies based on synergies between ICT, energy and mobility will lead to projects that make a real difference in our everyday lives."

The Commission intends to make available approximately EUR 200 million for Smart Cities and communities in the 2014-2015 budgets of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, to accelerate progress and enlarge the scale of roll-out of smart cities solutions. There will also be possibilities to access the European Structural and Investment Funds.

The European Innovation Partnership (EIP) in Smart cities and communities focuses on those areas where ICT, energy and mobility overlap, and identifies the most effective, common approaches and solutions. European cities and regions are different from each other, but they also have many similar needs that can be tackled best through a common approach. This is where the Partnership can provide its added value.

The Partnership brings together city leaders, businesses and community representatives and it provides these actors with a forum in which they can identify, develop and deploy innovative solutions and make them a reality. The EIP on Smart cities and communities will focus on Sustainable Urban Mobility, Sustainable Districts and Built Environment and Integrated Infrastructures and processes across Energy, ICT and Transport. The Partnership has also identified work to be done related to citizen focus and citizen insight, as well as the development of new business and funding models that will help to deliver the rapid roll out of Smart City solutions on a large scale.

The "invitation for commitments" which the Commission announced today will give added value to the committing parties by increased European visibility, a great opportunity to work with others on similar topics and to create large scale investment programmes that will push scale and speed in innovation in cities.

Any city, company, association, government or research body is invited to follow the recommendations in the Strategic Implementation Plan by developing own initiatives and taking on commitments on smart cities by investments, new forms of cooperation and sharing resources.

For more information:

http://ec.europa.eu/eip/smartcities/

see MEMO/13/1049



EU experts warn on airport capacity crunch and invite the Commission to take action on intermodality


Brussels, 27 November 2013

The European Observatory on Airport Capacity held a plenary meeting at which it fully endorsed the findings on network congestion and climate change and resilience of "Challenges of Growth 2013 ", a comprehensive study carried out by Eurocontrol highlighting the likely problems resulting from a shortage of airport capacity in Europe. By 2035 it is predicted that there will be more than 20 Heathrow-like airports by 2035 (airports running at 80% or more of capacity for 6 hours/day) - they were just three in 2012 -, the average delay to each flight caused by a lack of capacity will be between 5 and 6 minutes and that airlines and airports will be unable to accommodate 12% of the demand for air travel due to a lack of airport capacity. The Observatory also adopted concrete policy recommendations on intermodality at European airports and reviewed the work undertaken during the Observatory's first mandate since 2007.

For more information:

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/air/airports/observatory_en.htm



Alternative fuels for transport: Parliament committee vote supports roll-out of refuelling infrastructure


Brussels, 26 November 2013

The European Commission has welcomed the vote of the European Parliament's Transport Committee on measures to build-up alternative fuel stations across Europe to break the oil dependency of transport. Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, in charge of transport, said: "I am very pleased with the positive vote. It strengthens our proposal, especially as regards the minimum infrastructure coverage, information for consumers and innovation aspects. I am confident that ambitious measures will be adopted soon for the benefit of EU citizens and industry".

In January 2013, the European Commission proposed a Directive to ensure the roll-out of alternative fuels stations across the EU, with common standards to ensure EU wide mobility. The proposal aims at solving a "chicken and egg" problem: refuelling stations for alternative fuels are not built because there are not enough vehicles while consumers do not buy the vehicles because there are no stations. Hence the proposal foresees a minimum coverage of refuelling infrastructure for Electricity, Hydrogen and Natural Gas for road and sea transport, and their corresponding standards.

Today's vote overall supports and strengthens the initial Commission proposal in the following key areas:

  • It requests Member States to set national targets that are at least in line with the minimum requirements set by the Commission;

  • It adds to the content of the national policy framework that each Member State must develop with amongst others provisions related to the reduction of urban congestion and the deployment of electrified public transport;

  • It introduces provisions for the use of electricity at airports and for the recharging of electric vehicles during off-peak times when consumption and prices are lower;

  • It supports the Commission's provisions regarding standards while introducing the notion of wireless recharging technologies;

  • It strengthens the provisions related to information to consumers through an easily comparable indication of the prices of fuels offered and the harmonisation of the colour of hoses and nozzles;

  • It confirms the possibility to implement the Directive in a cost-neutral way , but also details the financial means available at EU level .

There are a few points however for which the Parliament is less ambitious, and which the Commission deplores:

For LNG in the maritime and inland-waterways sectors , the requirements are less stringent than original proposed by the Commission. This could lead to market fragmentation, continue the "chicken and egg" spiral of lack of demand because of lack of infrastructure and put at risk Member States’ chances of meeting the requirements on sulphur content of marine fuels.

For recharging points not accessible to the public , where most people will charge their electric cars, the lack of clear national targets could hinder the market development of electric vehicles by reducing the confidence of consumers.

Next steps:

The Council is expected to adopt a General Approach at the Transport Council on 5 December. A first reading agreement could be found before the end of this Parliament.

For more info:

IP/13/40

 



TEN-T project: EU to co-fund pilot action on methanol for maritime transport


The European Union will support with €11.2 million from the TEN-T Programme a study followed by real life trials to look at the use of methanol as a possible maritime fuel of the future. The initiative also contributes to the realisation of the “Motorways of the Sea” (TEN-T Priority Project 21) concept.

The study, selected for funding under the 2012 TEN-T Multi-Annual Programme, will investigate how methanol could become a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution for the maritime sector. This latter aspect is especially important as the industry must comply with the ambitious International Maritime Organisation and EU sulphur emission reduction targets.

Germany, Sweden and Finland will be taking part in the project, which involves the installation and testing of methanol on an existing passenger vessel operating on the short sea route between Gothenburg, Sweden and Kiel, Germany. In addition to retrofitting the vessel, the test phase will also create the appropriate port infrastructure for the supply of methanol for bunkering. A bunker vessel and a storage tank will be built in both ports.

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

Want to know more about the new TEN-T Projects selected under the 2012 Call?

The TEN-T Executive Agency is releasing the information now and in the coming weeks.

Follow it on or have a look at the !

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



TEN-T project: Multimodal transport link between Sweden and Finland to be strengthened thanks to EU co-funding


The European Union will support with just over €6.1 million from the TEN-T Programme a project to upgrade the transport link between northern Sweden and western Finland, including land and waterborne transport systems. It will also contribute to the realisation of the “Motorways of the Sea” (TEN-T Priority Project 21) concept.

The project, selected for funding under the 2012 TEN-T Multi-Annual Programme, will design, takes place on what is commonly referred to as the “Bothnian Corridor” and will construct and improve the transport links through new transport patterns, multimodal logistics and cost efficient solutions. Infrastructure investments will be made in both countries in order to improve port logistics, rail connections and port intermodality.

The project will also conduct an analysis of traffic management and the organisational aspects of the transport link, as well as the development of a new transport concept and the necessary paperwork ahead of the procurement of a ferry.

It will have, once completed, a positive impact on the cohesion of the entire Baltic Sea region and it will improve the environmental performance of the sea connection and the accessibility of this peripheral region.

The initiative 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

 

Want to know more about the new TEN-T Projects selected under the 2012 Call?

The TEN-T Executive Agency is releasing the information now and in the coming weeks. 

Follow it on or have a look at the !


 



Commissioner' s corner

Speech - Developing safe, efficient and connected mobility

Last year, some 28, 000 people died on European roads. This is still far too many, but it's also much fewer than ten years ago.

 

Siim Kallas

Read the full speech


Brussels, 27 November 2013

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

Road transport has seen some amazing developments - from when the internal combustion engine was invented in the late 19th century to today's cars which can almost drive themselves.

Technologies for driver comfort are improving. Roads are getting better and safer. Numbers of road deaths in Europe are falling. So there is plenty of cause to celebrate.

Last year, some 28, 000 people died on European roads. This is still far too many, but it's also much fewer than ten years ago.

Road safety is one of Europe’s big success stories. Both policy makers and road safety organisations have played a part in this.

And so, of course, has the vehicle industry itself – it is always looking to make improvements. For better safety systems, for smarter safety devices.

Today's cars are driven by human beings. There are many 5-star drivers on the roads. Unfortunately, none of us is perfect or immortal. There will always be new drivers who have not yet much experience. And even an excellent driver can make mistakes.

Technology can assist these drivers and help to prevent mistakes. Technology can be an excellent tool in driver training.

But it can also be a distraction. The answer is not to prohibit technology, but to discuss properly how to minimise any distractions.

How we can promote the good use of ITS while limiting the negative effects? I invite you all to reflect creatively on this together with the Commission.

Smart cars will also require smart and safe roads. In the future, roads will need to be able to "communicate" with vehicles.

Smart and safe infrastructure is therefore an important area for investment.

The Connecting Europe Facility will enable us to enhance our present support for new technologies and innovation as well as for telematics applications systems and services across transport modes, such as ITS for the road sector.

The challenge is clearly to move beyond the big TEN-T corridors.

Most fatal road crashes happen on secondary rural roads – which is where the next improvements are needed.

So I am pleased to see that many EU Member States already use the motorway safety management principles on their national roads as well.

The 5-star roads will also be a main topic for the informal transport Council in May.

In the meantime, let's all put on our “thinking caps” to come up with bright ideas and new safety inventions for the Transport Ministers to look at.

Finally, let's not forget a 5-star emergency response.

It is important to try to prevent road traffic crashes from happening at all. But if they do, the victims must be well and quickly cared for.

In June, the Commission made two proposals to ensure that, by October 2015, new type-approved cars will automatically call emergency services in the event of a serious crash and eCalls will be handled efficiently in the emergency call centres in all Member States.

This proposal is now being discussed by the European Parliament and Council.

Ladies and gentlemen

Today’s conference will touch upon several exciting issues. Some of you might be hesitant, some will be optimistic about the new ideas and innovations presented.

But remember that technology is neither good nor evil. It will be what we make out of it. The challenge is to foresee both the potential benefits and the potential risks. And then deal with them.

Where technical developments can clearly improve road safety, they should be promoted.

I am relying on everyone involved in road safety to contribute to this work. Because every death is one too many!

Thank you.



Figure of the month

9500 km

The distance that the average European travelled by car in 2010

More information

We were asked about...

Regulation of fuel surcharge pricing

Could the Commission indicate how the pricing of airline fuel surcharges is regulated and implemented in the internal market?

Read the answer


Question asked by: Phil Prendergast (S&D)

Subject: Regulation of fuel surcharge pricing

Could the Commission indicate how the pricing of airline fuel surcharges is regulated and implemented in the internal market?

Could the Commission further explain how discrepancies between fuel surcharge prices and fuel prices are monitored, whilst taking airline hedging positions into account, for the purposes of preventing abuses of this instrument to the detriment of consumers?

Answer given by Mr Kallas on behalf of the European Commission
(26.11.2013)

Air Services Regulation(EC) 1008/2008 in its Articles 22-23 makes clear that air carriers have pricing freedom and imposes an obligation on air carriers to include the applicable conditions and display all taxes, charges, fees and surcharges – whether on fuel, security or other matters – which are unavoidable and foreseeable at the time of publication. The Regulation does not restrict air carriers in setting price structure. 

Hedging of fuel is a business matter. The Commission does not intervene in the contractual relationship between airlines and fuel suppliers or airlines and passengers in this respect and does not monitor the alleged discrepancies. 

If a consumer has the view that such practice of air carriers is abusive, she/he is encouraged to contact the national enforcement bodies that have power to investigate the case.



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