Issue n° 165 - 28 February 2014

Mobility and transport

In the spotlight

pilots in a cockpit

European Parliament adopts equivocal first reading position on fourth railway package

The European Commission expressed its disappointment about the European Parliament's plenary vote on the six legislative proposals forming the fourth railway package. The package was presented by the Commission in January 2013 to deliver better quality and more choice in railway services in Europe, thereby contributing to the competitiveness of the rail sector. However, the amendments adopted by the European Parliament today will limit effective competition in the rail sector.

Read the full article

25 February 2014

The European Commission expressed its disappointment about the European Parliament's plenary vote on the six legislative proposals forming the fourth railway package . The package was presented by the Commission in January 2013 to deliver better quality and more choice in railway services in Europe, thereby contributing to the competitiveness of the rail sector. However, the amendments adopted by the European Parliament today will limit effective competition in the rail sector.

Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for mobility and transport, said: "This is not the strong signal that European rail needs and expects to increase its attractiveness. While the EP opens the way for reducing technical obstacles, today's plenary vote is yet another demonstration of the tenacity of the vested national interests that proved more appealing to MEPs than the balanced and well-reasoned compromises reached in December by the Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN)."

On the so-called "technical pillar" of the package (recasts of the safety and interoperability directives and a new regulation on the European Railway Agency), the European Parliament confirmed the need to remove existing administrative and technical barriers. MEPs have empowered the European Railway Agency (ERA) with new tasks, such as the issuing of safety certificates and vehicle authorisations valid throughout the EU. This will contribute to increasing economies of scale and to decreasing administrative costs and procedures for railway undertakings.

However, on the so-called "market pillar" of the package (directives on governance and market opening, and regulation on public service obligations), MEPs disregarded the Commission's proposals and the work of the Transport and Tourism committee (TRAN) by adopting an unambitious stance that could put at risk the development of a Single European Rail Area.

While the European Parliament endorsed the introduction of a right for European railway undertakings to offer commercial domestic passenger services in all Member States as from 2019, competitive tendering procedures for public service contracts have been postponed to 2023 and are subject to very significant exceptions. Amendments adopted by the European Parliament today also fail to ensure an effective independence of the infrastructure manager and financial transparency within vertically integrated structures which are essential to ensure an equal and non-discriminatory access to the network.

Next steps

With this vote, the European Parliament has adopted its first reading position on the six legislative proposals of the package. It is now up to the Council to adopt its own position. The Council has so far examined the proposals in a sequential manner and is close to finalising its position on the technical pillar. The examination of the market pillar is expected to start under the ongoing Greek presidency. The Commission can alter or withdraw its proposals as long as the Council has not acted.

More news

Commission welcomes European Parliament's vote for improved aviation safety

The European Parliament has adopted new rules to help prevent aircraft accidents. With the Regulation on the reporting, analysis and follow up of occurrences, information on aviation safety incidents will flow more efficiently and faster, allowing for a thorough analysis and adoption of necessary action to help prevent similar incidents from happening again.


Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "Most aircraft accidents result from a combination of smaller errors or malfunctions which, taken together, cause an accident. By gathering more information about isolated safety incidents, and taking action to address them, we will help to prevent future accidents. With the expected increase in air traffic in the next two decades, we need to deliver such a system, and make sure that the EU remains the leading region in the world for aviation safety. I am glad the European Parliament shares our vision and fully supported our proposal."

The system involves all actors in the aviation sector – airlines, manufacturers, air traffic controllers, aircrew, mechanics, national authorities and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); they must gather and exchange incident information, and ensure that action is taken where it is most effective. A European network of safety analysts will be hosted by the EASA. It will be charged with detecting trends and safety issues of pan-European significance and with recommending appropriate action.

The new system is a cornerstone of a modern approach to safety policy that seeks to improve safety further by learning not only from accidents but also from small incidents and occurrences even if they have not had serious consequences in themselves.

Next steps

Following the vote in the European Parliament, the Council is expected to endorse the text as adopted by the Parliament, in accordance with the informal agreement reached between the two institutions in December 2013. The new regulation is expected to enter into force in May 2014. It will apply in full 18 months later. In the meantime, preparations will be made to adopt the necessary implementing regulations and to develop necessary guidance material and IT applications for the recording, exchange and analysis of information.

More information

For more information on the Commission's proposal, and facts and figures on occurrence reporting, please see IP 12/1406 and Memo 12/1008 .

EU announces finalists for sustainable mobility awards

25 February 2014

The European Commission has announced the six finalists of two awards which honour the actions of European cities in developing and promoting sustainable approaches to urban mobility. European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, in charge of transport, and Commissioner for the Environment Janez Poto─Źnik will present the awards at a ceremony on 24 March in Brussels, Belgium.

With 75 % of Europe’s population expected to be living in urban areas by 2020, it is even more important that our transport choices do not negatively impact on the liveability of our cities. European cities are leading the way in integrating sustainability into their urban mobility plans and raising public awareness.

This year’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) award recognises cities with SUMPs illustrating the ‘integration of economic, social, and environmental policy criteria’, the theme of the 2013 awards. The award is presented to local authorities which demonstrate excellence in developing and implementing their sustainable urban mobility plans to address their city’s mobility challenges. An expert jury evaluates the applications on their achievements and selects a winning city to receive the prize of EUR 10 000. Last year’s winner was Aberdeen City Council, this year’s winner will be revealed at the ceremony on 24 March. 21 applications from 11 EU countries have been submitted.

The finalists for the 2013 SUMP award are:

  • Rivas Vaciamadrid (Spain)
  • Strasbourg (France)
  • Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain)

A more detailed description of each finalist can be found here .

The European Mobility Week (EMW) award rewards the local authority which is most actively promoting sustainable travel and introducing new measures to encourage a shift towards sustainable urban transport. The cities of Budapest, Ljubljana, and Östersund have been selected as finalists for their ambitious and innovative campaign programmes and for the consistent manner in which they have linked their activities to the 2013 EMW theme of ‘Clean Air, It’s Your Move!’ Like Zagreb, which won the 2012 award, this year’s winning city will have the opportunity to work with a professional production company to create a three-minute promotional clip highlighting its achievements. Together with the other finalists and shortlisted cities, the winning city will also be promoted as an example of best practice. An independent panel of transport experts assesses all eligible applications before shortlisting the 10 best local authorities. The 2013 EMW award received 30 applications from 12 countries.

The shortlisted cities and finalists (in bold) for the 2013 EMW award are:

• Bologna (Italy) • Larnaka (Cyprus)
Budapest (Hungary) Ljubljana (Slovenia)
• Gdynia (Poland) Östersund (Sweden)
• Hudiksvall (Sweden) • Sofia (Bulgaria)
• Labin (Croatia) • Turku (Finland)

More details on each finalist can be found here .

TEN-T: EU to support “Green Danube port” in Romania

24 February 2014

The European Union has granted €400,000 from the TEN-T Programme to co-finance a series of studies to promote the development of an eco-efficient port engineering and operation system in the Romanian Port of Giurgiu. The studies contribute to the realisation of the “Waterway axis Rhine/Meuse-Main-Danube” (TEN-T Priority Project 18 ).

The studies, selected for funding under the 2012 TEN-T Multi-Annual Programme, are part of the larger global project which aims to convert the Port of Giurgiu into the first “Green Danube Port” based on integrated energy-efficiency concepts and comprehensive environmental measures for intermodal ports.

They will first take stock of the current situation by undertaking a technical and operational analysis, a market analysis and an environmental assessment, which will be followed be specific studies to support the introduction of innovative technology in the port. The ultimate objective is for the study to deliver the final design of the new Intermodal Port of Giurgiu and also define its business model.

For more information, please consult the project's page !

TEN-T: Modernisation to the Port of Dunkirk in France receives EU funding

25 February 2014

The European Union will co-finance with €1.3 million from the TEN-T Programme a project to better optimise the ro-ro (roll-on, roll-off) terminal in the French port of Dunkirk, in order to improve efficiency and ensure future growth.

The project, which was selected for funding under the 2012 TEN-T Annual Call, specifically concerns works to better optimise the space and traffic flow of the Port’s ro-ro terminal. The aim is to build a completely redesigned ro-ro terminal to improve efficiency, smoothen the traffic flow, reduce the stopover time of vessels and increase frequencies.

Due to the current terminal's design, the stopover time is two hours with 12 calls per day, which does not provide margin for development or growth. Reducing the stopover time will permit the number of calls per day to be extended to 13 or 14. This development is important to the Port, which the third largest French maritime port, handling around 7,000 ships a year.

To achieve this objective the Port of Dunkirk requires the reorganisation of the terminal platform layout, the relocation of facilities and the installation of technical facilities.

Since the Port plans to pursue ro-ro traffic growth, the works will help to alleviate the existing bottlenecks that slow down the traffic flow between the ro-ro terminal and the hinterland. Their completion is expected to also have a positive impact on maritime transport and the environment.

For more information, please consult the project's page !

Commissioner's corner

Tweet - Parliament vote on occurrence reporting in aviation

Solid step toward proactive and risk-based #safety system in #aviation

Siim Kallas

Figure of the month

8 billion

Around 8 billion passenger trips are made by rail each year.

We were asked about...

Question asked by Oreste Rossi (PPE)

(10 January 2014)

Subject: Pilot training

A recent study commissioned by the US Federal Aviation Administration determined that technology and the use of automatic steering systems are undermining the skills of flight commanders. It was concluded that they are not very reactive and unused to holding the joystick. They have also failed to master the latest on-board electronics.

The study describes how technology has made aircraft pilots unresponsive: captains seem to have become dependent upon the automatic systems with which new aircraft are extensively equipped, but nonetheless struggle to master the latest updates of those systems, resorting to manual controls essentially only for take-off and landing. This survey showed that the pilots are gradually forgetting how to fly a plane without the aid of technology. For example, they are often over-reliant on automated systems and may be reluctant to intervene or over-ride them in hazardous or exceptional situations, or do not have sufficient in-depth knowledge to control the trajectory of the aircraft. Among the main reasons for these shortcomings are training methods and the short amount of time spent on training.

Among the incidents examined, in nearly two-thirds of cases, pilots had problems with both the manual control of the aircraft and the use of on-board computers (as in the case of the tragedy of the Air France Airbus A330, which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on 9 June 2009) and for years the aviation industry itself has identified over-reliance on computers as a potential problem with very wide-ranging impact.

In light of the above, can the Commission answer the following questions:

1. Does it intend to examine the results of this study and does it intend to promote one of European relevance similar to the one discussed?
2. Does it believe it is appropriate to lay down new minimum standards in conjunction with EASA to implement current safety measures for training and retraining of commercial airline pilots?

Read the answer

Answer given by Mr Kallas on behalf of the Commission


1. The study by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), to which the Honourable Member refers, is well known to both the Commission and EASA. In fact, over the past years EASA has actively participated in several international working groups that have provided results relevant to the FAA on the issues highlighted by the study. EASA has issued several "Safety Information Bulletins" (SIB) on the same subject to make EU stakeholders aware of the issues at stake. For the moment, the Commission believes that the ongoing activities in this area are sufficient from the perspective of aviation safety in Europe and that there is no need for the kind of study referred to by the Honourable Member.

2. Together with Member States and industry experts, EASA is preparing new standards for intial and recurrent pilot training that will take into account the latest knowledge in this area. The concrete drafts for amending the current standards will be elaborated according to the normal procedures. The publication of these drafts is foreseen in the 2014-2015 framework, and the adoption and entry into force of the amendments may take place by late 2015.


Transport and You


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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