Issue n° 161 - 31 January 2014

Mobility and transport

In the spotlight

air-traffic controller

Statement Vice-President Kallas on air traffic disruption

"The Commission strongly regrets this strike action which will result in delays and disruption for passengers. This is a strike against improvements in safety, against improved performance and against cost efficiency to deliver cheaper airfares by lowering air traffic control costs."

Siim Kallas

Read the full statement


The Commission strongly regrets this strike action which will result in delays and disruption for passengers.

This is a strike against improvements in safety, against improved performance and against cost efficiency to deliver cheaper airfares by lowering air traffic control costs. It is passengers, businesses and freight handlers who will all suffer because of this action. The unions, like all other stakeholders, are of course entitled to make their voice heard. And the Commission has consistently been ready to listen and take account of their views. But dialogue is the way forward.

The modernisation of Europe's air traffic control is urgent and it is long overdue. The reality is that that Europe's skies and airports risk saturation. Flights are forecast to increase by 50% over the next 10-20 years. The European airspace remains fragmented. And the cost of Air Traffic Control services remains unacceptably high. 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. We need a system which is not permanently under strain as traffic continues to grow.

That is why the Single Sky reforms aim to modernise Europe's fragmented air traffic control. They date back to the 1990's - but progress has been far too slow. We missed significant deadlines in December 2013, and we cannot afford to continue this way. That's why the Commission put new proposals on the table in June 2013 – to accelerate the reforms and deliver a European Single Sky which will:

  • improve safety tenfold,
  • triple airspace capacity,
  • reduce air traffic management costs by 50%,
  • reduce the environmental impact by 10%.

The Single Sky project as a whole is strongly supported in both the Council and Parliament. As Transport Commissioner my job is to deliver on the Single Sky – to ensure that our citizens actually have the freedom they deserve to move around the Single Market. I think that is a freedom worth defending and working for.

More news

First step towards easing liquid restrictions at EU airports

EU and Brazil to re-launch negotiations on air transport agreement


Officials from the EU and Brazil will meet on 30 and 31 January 2014 in Brazil to resume talks on an ambitious air transport agreement that would open up the EU–Brazil air transport market. The two sides will seek to finalise the agreement in time for the next EU–Brazil summit, to be held on 27 February 2014 in Brussels.

Siim Kallas, European Commission Vice-President, responsible for mobility and transport, said: "Brazil is a strategically important and fast-growing market and I am very pleased that there is now a clear prospect and a common will to finalise this important agreement. This will generate significant benefits for the travelling public as well as new opportunities for industry."

The agreement will aim at opening market access for airlines, achieving a high level of regulatory convergence in areas such as security, safety, environment, consumer protection and fair competition, and resolving "doing business" issues for airlines. It will also be an important cornerstone in the EU's external aviation policy adopted in 2012. An agreement with Brazil could generate up to €460 million consumer benefits a year. The potential for traffic growth is estimated at 335,000 additional passengers in the first year. Finalising an agreement is all the more important when considering that Brazil will host the FIFA World Cup this summer and the Olympic Games in 2016.


Following a mandate granted to the European Commission in October 2010 by the European Union transport ministers, the EU and Brazil negotiated an ambitious air transport agreement aimed at opening up the markets. Negotiations were finalised in March 2011 and the draft agreement was initialled by the two sides subject to final authorisation to sign the agreement. The agreement should have been signed later in 2011, but the Brazilian side requested a review of certain provisions that had been agreed during the negotiations. The Brazilian demands were later clarified. At the EU–Brazil summit in January 2013, the leaders of both sides confirmed their mutual interest in concluding the negotiations as soon as possible, in view of the significant economic benefits that an agreement will generate for both the EU and Brazil. The European Commission obtained an extension of the negotiating mandate by the EU Transport Council in December 2013.

The EU has already comprehensive air transport agreements in place with the United States, Canada, Morocco, the Western Balkan countries, Jordan, Georgia, Moldova and Israel and an agreement is expected to be signed in March 2014 with Ukraine. Negotiations are ongoing with Azerbaijan, Tunisia and Lebanon.

In the course of 2014, the Commission will be making further proposals for implementing the new road-map for the EU's external aviation policy.

EU support to help German motorway works between Frankfurt and Nürnberg

14 January 2014

The European Union will co-finance with just over €6 million from the TEN-T Programme a project to expand and upgrade the A3 motorway in Germany.

The initiative, which was selected for funding under the 2012 TEN-T Annual Call, involves the upgrade of nearly 8 km of the A3 Frankfurt-Nürnberg motorway to three lanes in each direction - from east of the Kauppen Bridge to west of junction 64 (at Rohrbrunn). Presently the motorway has two lanes in each direction of traffic and a standard width of 30 metres. In the future, the A3 will have a six-lane cross-section with an expanded width of 36 metres.

Once finalised, the project is expected to raise the safety and capacity of a key German and European east-west road link. The project will be monitored by the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) and is set to be completed by the end of 2015.

Commissioner' s corner

Speech - The future of European rail: combining policy with innovation

"Travelling by train should be as quick and easy as getting the car out of the garage. Until things improve, rail will continue to find it difficult to challenge the dominance of road transport."

Siim Kallas

Read the full speech.

Brussels, 28 January 2014

Ladies and gentlemen

Many thanks for inviting me to this important award ceremony.

I would also like to congratulate this year's laureates – Giorgio Diana, who receives the technical award for his contribution to rail vehicle dynamics; and one of my predecessors, Jacques Barrot, for the political award.

Jacques’ achievements as European Transport Commissioner have given us a good stepping-stone for tackling the many challenges that rail still faces today.

During his tenure, Europe’s railway market saw some important changes. Hopefully, it has done so during mine as well. I think we are now in the end-game as far as the much-needed reform of Europe’s railways is concerned.

To be honest, it has been long overdue. In many areas, we have allowed ourselves to languish in the 19th century. Rail deserves better – and so do European citizens.

There have been several factors driving my philosophy for railway reform. But the underlying principles are, I think, the same ones that you share.

These are for our railways to achieve their full growth potential, to make them better and easier to use – faster, more punctual, efficient and reliable; attractive to both business and passengers.

We all know the statistics. Only 6% of passenger journeys made in Europe every year are by rail. That hasn’t really changed since 2000. Although it represents more than 8 billion people who are not adding to city traffic jams or to wider road congestion, I believe that number can be raised.

I was dismayed to see a recent Eurobarometer survey showing that only a quarter of travellers in the EU regularly go by train. Given that rail ranks among the most efficient and climate-friendly forms of transport, this is not enough. Passenger satisfaction with rail services should really be much higher.

I was also worried by the high proportion of people in some EU countries who think that it’s just too complicated to buy train tickets - so they don’t.

Travelling by train should be as quick and easy as getting the car out of the garage. Until things improve, rail will continue to find it difficult to challenge the dominance of road transport.

Roads are likely to remain competitive in freight and passenger transport in the medium term. Rail has to be made competitive as well.

Ladies and gentlemen

It was in 2011 that I set out my long-term vision for the future of European transport in a White Paper. It responds to challenges faced by the sector such as rising congestion and traffic demand, and the need to build sustainable transport links to fuel European economic growth.

Specifically, there are targets for road freight and passenger transport to shift to other forms of transport such as rail.

Most importantly, it sets out the idea of creating a Single European Railway Area to achieve a more competitive and resource-efficient European transport system.

We have made a good start towards this with the agreement on the rail recast, which Member States have to put into their national legislations next year.

It will stimulate investment, improve market access conditions and strengthen the role of national rail regulators.

While this is good news, Europe still has an inadequate legal environment for rail that is not suited for coping with all the challenges. The recast has paved the way for the various major proposals that together form the 4th Railway Package, without which the European single market will not – and cannot - be complete.

You are all familiar with their details. They aim to remove the administrative, technical and regulatory obstacles that are holding back the rail sector in terms of market opening and interoperability.

They also address the structure of Europe’s railways, which must be organised in a way that allows non-discriminatory access.

There has already been significant progress made on the technical pillar during the Irish and Lithuanian Presidencies. The negotiations are continuing and I don’t expect them to be easy. We will clearly face conservatism in the discussions on market opening, for example.

However, I was delighted to hear Minister Chrisochoidis say in his recent statement to the European Parliament that he is committed to pushing the 4th Railway Package forward as a priority during the Greek Presidency.

This is why I rely on the CER and UNIFE memberships to make sure our shared vision of a sustainable and efficient rail transport system becomes reality.

Ladies and gentlemen

The 4th Package goes hand in hand with our work to revitalise Europe’s railways by making more use of research and innovation. This will help rail to provide better and more efficient services so that customers have an attractive choice.

I’m happy to say that we are now in a position to move closer to those goals, with the new public-private partnership Shift2Rail, which triples our funding for research and innovation in rail. Over the next 7 years, almost €1 billion of public and private funds will be invested, reflecting the Commission’s strong commitment to rail.

Shift2Rail will help to develop technological advances that will be critical for the completion of the Single European Railway Area.

It will help industry to produce new technologies for trains, infrastructure and traffic management systems that substantially reduce operational and infrastructure costs, and significantly improve the attractiveness and capacity of European railways. Shift2Rail will help to get them to market more quickly.

Of course, these new technologies will also have to be rolled out on the ground.

This is why the tripling of funds also applies to EU investments in infrastructure. This is thanks to the Connecting Europe Facility, where investments will rise from 8 billion euros in the last budget period to 26 billion for the next.

Put together with our revised TEN-T policy and its focus on core network corridors, the stage is set for a new era in European transport infrastructure.

This will be critical for the effective functioning of the European economy.

These goals reflect in essence what I have tried to achieve – or at least set firmly in motion – for European railways during my time as Transport Commissioner.

Throughout this time, my aim has been to find and deliver the best combination between policy and technical innovation: the two categories for the European Rail Awards. Today’s winners have helped the industry advance as a whole, so allow me congratulate you both again.

If European railways are to become more attractive and competitive, it is in both of these areas that we need to progress. It is why the 4th Railway Package and Shift2Rail programme work so well together.

This is how we can generate more rail traffic, more employment opportunities and better conditions.

That benefits everyone: the rail industry, freight businesses – and all passengers.

Thank you for your attention.

Figure of the month

820 million

Airline operators in EASA Member States performed 6 million commercial air transport flights in 2013.

More information

We were asked about...

Question asked by Dominique Riquet (PPE) 

(25 November 2013)

Subject:  Implementation of the European Air Traffic Management Master Plan and the role of EASA    

1. The European Railway Agency (ERA) is responsible for coordinating matters relating to the safety and interoperability of the railway network. Yet the role of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as regards the deployment of air infrastructure is limited to ‘safety aspects’. What is the reason for this difference of approach?

2. The Commission has emphasised that the industry should share some of the responsibility for rolling out the ATM Master Plan (the term ‘industry’ in this context refers to all entities providing services, from air control service providers through to manufacturers of technical systems). Yet the entity managing this roll-out will effectively be both involved in providing services and responsible for overall coordination. How can this potential conflict of interest be managed? How can it be ensured that ‘technical’ decisions guarantee fair access to infrastructure? Is the Commission planning to place EASA in the role of an independent technical expert monitoring the activities of the entity managing the roll-out, as is the case for ERA?

Read the answer

Answer given by Mr Kallas on behalf of the Commission

(29 January 2014)

1. Following the recent extension of its competence to issues regarding Air Traffic Management (ATM)/Air Navigation Services (ANS) (cf. in particular Articles 8a and 22a  of Regulation (EC) No 216/2008), EASA is in charge of assisting the Commission in the preparation of corresponding implementing measures and has own tasks in the areas of oversight and certification of ATM/ANS, for matters relating to safety and interoperability. Safety and interoperability are in fact so intertwined that the corresponding requirements should be simultaneously developed and adopted. In the context of its recent "SES II+" initiative, the Commission has proposed to change the name of EASA to "European Union Agency for Aviation".

2. By adopting Commission Implementation Regulation (EU) No 409/2013 , the Commission recently set up the governance for the rolling out of the ATM Master Plan, namely the deployment of SESAR. According to this Regulation, a deployement manager shall be established to implement all activities relating to the modernisation of the European ATM system identified in the ATM Master Plan (cf. in particular Article 9 of Commission implementation Regulation (EU) No 409/2013). The Commission will act, at the policy level, to ensure that participation of industry in the process of deploying ATM technologies through the deployment manager respects some basic principles, including transparency, openness to all stakeholders and absence of conflict of interest.



More on transport


11-12 February 2014, Singapore

EU-ASEAN Aviation Summit

3-6 March 2014

SESAR events at 2014 World ATM Congress, Madrid

27 March 2014

Save the date: Transport Business Summit 2014 - Transport – Driving Europe’s Economy

27 March 2014, Brussels, Belgium

Reduced cost, greater flexibility, better access to markets and more sustainable technologies: European transport policy has improved in many ways to create new opportunities for business. The second Transport Business Summit will bring together business leaders and decision-makers to discuss how transport can contribute to Europe’s goals for jobs and growth.

Hosted by the European Commission, Vice-President Siim Kallas and the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, the conference will feature Mario Monti, former Prime Minister of Italy as the keynote speaker as well as prominent transport industry panelists.

More information will come shortly, but be sure to block your agendas today!

We look forward to seeing you in Brussels. Further details, including conference registration instructions, will follow soon. Feel free to contact Cecoforma who is organising the Transport Business Summit on behalf of the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport at:


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