Issue n° 166 - 07 March 2014

Mobility and transport

In the spotlight

pilots in a cockpit

New European rules for airports safety

On 6 March new rules providing for the first time common standards for safe design, operation and maintenance in over 700 of the largest EU and EEA airports have become applicable.

Read the full article

6 March 2014

On 6 March new rules providing for the first time common standards for safe design, operation and maintenance in over 700 of the largest EU and EEA airports have become applicable.

Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said "Safety is the paramount objective of the EU aviation policy. With the application of these new rules airports will be safer, and so will be the airline operators and the passengers using those airports."

The new rules put in place a European legal framework for national aviation authorities to certify airports' compliance with technical and operational requirements, as well as for the oversight of certified airports. They allow for the necessary flexibility in case of deviations from the airports design rules in case of already existing infrastructure. They also outline the necessary steps for the conversion of existing national airports' certificates, based on national rules, to new certificates based on the European rules.

Commission Regulation (EU) No 139/2014 ensures continuity with international aviation safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). With its coming into force, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued a package of accompanying material to the Regulation which will assist Member States in their application of the rules and provide for harmonised implementation across the EU.

More news

Transport infrastructure: Member States agree to the first 12 billion € for projects in the transport sector

5 March 2014

Today Member States agreed to make the first 12 billion € tranche available for projects of the trans-European transport network. The budget will boost key projects of the nine core network corridors and help advancing transport policy objectives such as the achievement of interoperability, the promotion of inter-modality and the stimulation of innovation. It is vital for bridging the gap between the East and the West of the Union.

Vice-President Siim Kallas, Commissioner for Mobility and Transport, said "I am convinced that this major financial boost will bring the expected benefits to improve transport connections and that the value added by investing in genuinely European infrastructure will become plainly visible to investors, transport users and citizens".

The "Connecting Europe Facility" (CEF), which governs EU funding for infrastructure projects in the fields of transport, telecommunication and energy during the period 2014 – 2020, foresees an allocation of 26 billion € for transport infrastructure out of which 11.3 billion € are earmarked for projects in Member States which are eligible for funding from the Cohesion Fund. Funding will be concentrated on priorities which have been set out in the Union Guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network  and further specified in the CEF Regulation .

Member States have today endorsed the Commission's proposals for the first work programmes within this framework: a Multi-Annual Work Programme covering projects of larger size and longer duration comprising a total budget of 11 billion € and an Annual Work Programme for 2014 addressing projects of smaller size and complexity with a budget of one billion €. The funding priorities set out in these programmes include:

  • The closing of missing links at border-crossing points between Member States and the removal of major bottlenecks, in particular along the nine corridors of the TEN-T core network;
  • The promotion of interoperability to overcome technological barriers at national borders, notably in the rail sector;
  • The strengthening of multi-modality in order to facilitate seamless transport chains for passengers and freight (including freight transport services), as well as the full integration of urban nodes into the network and notably in the core network corridors;
  • The stimulation of innovative approaches in line with future technological trends (also covering the indispensable "communication" between infrastructure and vehicles, between hardware and software);
  • The strong emphasis on EU transport policy and legislation, in fields such as railway policy or maritime policy, "clean power for transport", urban mobility, safety and  telematics applications for all transport modes;
  • The opening of funding possibilities for third countries, notably for cross-border projects and participation in major European projects such as SESAR, Intelligent Transport Services, River Information Services or Motorways of the Sea.

On the basis of these work programmes, calls for project proposals will be published by 1 September 2014.

More details can be found on:

TEN-T: ERTMS upgrade for locomotives and track in Italy

4 March 2014

Two projects to upgrade Italian infrastructure and rolling stock in terms of European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) will be supported by the European Union to the tune of almost €4.5 million from the TEN-T Programme. The projects will improve the safety of rail transport whilst at the same time making the sector more competitive.

The two projects were selected under the 2012 TEN-T Multi-Annual Call, which gave priority to ERTMS, a major European industrial initiative to make rail transport safer and more competitive. Its goal is to substitute more than 20 different train control-command systems which are currently in use in Europe with a single harmonised system.

The first, receiving a grant of just over €1.4 million, involves upgrading the ERTMS software and hardware of the onboard units of 12 high speed locomotives in order to ensure their compliance with the latest consolidated version of this system. The locomotives will then be able to circulate in all other EU Member States which have implemented the same system.

The second project, which will receive €3 million in EU co-financing, consists of deploying ERTMS trackside equipment along the Torino-Napoli high speed line, more specifically on the 230 km long Roma-Napoli section, which is part of ERTMS Corridor B, which stretches in a north to south direction from Stockholm in Sweden to Naples in Italy. The project will ensure the full interoperability of the line.


TEN-T project: Innovation and Networks Executive Agency celebrates its official inauguration

7 March 2014

The Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) was officially inaugurated yesterday with an event to recognise its new mandate and the ongoing successes in project implementation. European Commission Vice-Presidents Siim Kallas (Transport) and Neelie Kroes (Digital Agenda) as well as Robert-Jan Smits (Director-General of DG RTD), Matthias Ruete (Director-General of DG MOVE and Chairman of INEA’s Steering Committee), Fabrizio Barbaso (Deputy Director-General of DG ENER), and Dirk Beckers (INEA Executive Director) delivered short welcome addresses to commemorate the new Agency, which is responsible for implementing parts of the Connecting Europe Facility and Horizon 2020 programmes on behalf of the Commission.

Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, stated: "I am confident that INEA will be the ideal environment to find and promote synergies so that Europe’s energy, transport and ICT networks can be successfully developed together in the years ahead. […] As policymakers, we have planned a vision for the future. It will be INEA that will make it happen."

Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes echoed Mr Kallas’ comments, adding: "This is not just about handling this or that project, or managing this or that call for proposals. It is about investing in our future economy and in our future society through the power of digital tools. I know that INEA is up to the challenge."

The welcome words by the two Vice-Presidents were followed by brief statements by high-level representatives of the Commission Directorate-Generals which will work with INEA in the years to come.

Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General of DG RTD, noted: "I firmly believe that INEA will help us keep our promise in delivering fully on our commitments for Horizon 2020 and I call on your commitment to apply the same implementation procedures as all other agencies."

Fabrizio Barbaso, Deputy Director-General of DG ENER, stated that the importance of INEA was key as the Agency is "…best placed to understand the market needs and whether the EU policies are helping to deliver the EU objectives of delivering secure, sustainable and competitive energy to EU citizens and industry."

Matthias Ruete, Director-General of DG MOVE and Chairman of the INEA Steering Committee noted that he "…was content that the new INEA is now up and running following several months of cost-benefit study, consultations and other preparatory work. Of the six EU Executive Agencies, INEA will manage the biggest MFF 2014-2020 budget - around €37 billion."

The short official ceremony was concluded by INEA Executive Director Dirk Beckers, who thanked all speakers and guests, amongst whom were members of INEA staff, Commission parent DGs and other Agencies (EASME, REA, ACER) which will closely cooperate with INEA under its new mandate. He commented: "Our key role will continue to be bridging the gap between policy and implementation, covering the whole lifecycle of the projects we manage. […]It is INEA’s firm intention to live up to the expectation of the Commission that the Agency will continue to perform well. […] May we all enjoy many years of successful project implementation, effective programmes and a very fruitful partnership."

INEA is the successor of the Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency (TEN-T EA), which was created by the European Commission in 2006 to manage the technical and financial implementation of its TEN-T programme supporting European transport infrastructure projects.

INEA officially started its activities on 1 January 2014 in order to implement the following EU programmes:

  • Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) – transport, energy and digital
  • Parts of Horizon 2020 – Smart, green, and integrated transport + Secure, clean and efficient energy
  • Legacy programmes - TEN-T and Marco Polo (2007-2013)

INEA’s main objective is to increase the efficiency of the technical and financial management of the programmes it manages.

Commissioner's corner

Speech - Aviation in Europe: contributor to growth and competitiveness?

"The Single Sky project needs to succeed and be implemented - as soon as possible. It will allow us to shorten flights, reduce delays and emissions, and save about 3 billion euros each year, out of a total annual cost of 8 billion euros."

Siim Kallas

Read the full speech.

Brussels, 6 March 2014

Ladies and gentlemen

It is hard to overstate the importance of aviation in today’s globalised environment. By bringing the citizens of the world together, it creates prosperity and jobs.

Fifty years ago, it was relatively rare for people to fly between continents. Today it is completely normal. With more people in the world, bigger cities, more wealth, first-time flyers and a growing middle class in emerging economies, billions of people increasingly want to take planes.

By 2017, IATA forecasts that world passenger numbers will rise by 31% from the 2.98 billion that airlines carried in 2012.

That means 930 million more passengers over five years.

Aircraft manufacturers are also riding the surge in air travel. Last year, world airliner production reached a new high: Airbus and Boeing shattered their own delivery and sales records with an unprecedented level of orders between them.

Aviation could be defined as ‘connectivity on a global scale’.

Improving connectivity leads to more productivity, which in turn attracts more investment into a national or regional economy. Connectivity is an effective engine for increasing both competitiveness and economic growth.

That is particularly true in Europe, where we rely on aviation to provide the international transport links that make us a global hub of social and economic connectivity, and to compete on the world stage.

Before Europe moved to an open single aviation market, travellers would have been lucky to have a choice of two flag carriers to fly between two European capitals. Capacity and fares were tightly controlled, based on bilateral agreements between Member States. This has now changed dramatically. Since 1992, the number of flights within the EU has more than doubled. Flights operated by more than two airlines have quadrupled. And passengers are happy: over that time, their numbers have gone up by 300%.

Low-cost carriers have boomed as a result. Starting with a tiny 1% share of the market, they now account for almost half. That said, there are clearly some serious challenges and issues raised with the rise of the low-cost carriers.

Today, aviation supports 5.1 million jobs, directly and indirectly. It contributes one billion euros of European GDP every day, driving trade and tourism.

But there are also many challenges that we need to address urgently.

International aviation is going through a period of unprecedented change. It is unbelievably dramatic and rapid. And it shows no signs of slowing down.

Worldwide, it is clear that there are good prospects of more demand for air travel. But at the same time, there is a clear shift of growth towards Asia, and particularly to the new Middle East hubs like Abu Dhabi, Doha and Dubai.

Half of the world's new traffic added during the next 20 years is likely to be to, from, or within the Asia-Pacific region – increasingly serviced by the Gulf hubs. By 2017, according to IATA, the Asia-Pacific will be the world’s largest regional market for air passenger transport with one third of global passengers.

What is not good news is the fact that due to their below-average growth rates, EU carriers operating internationally will be losing market share to non-EU airlines in most regions.

They face low profitability and growth in a market with increasingly fierce competition – based on low profit margins squeezed from high fixed costs.

In 2003, EU carriers had a market share of 29% of all inter-continental capacity in the world. By 2025, this share is expected to fall to 20%. If we do nothing, this trend means that the profitability of EU airlines will be eroded. That will threaten their ability to generate growth for the European economy.

So what can Europe do to counter this?

European airlines must have the chance to get access to new markets and business opportunities. If we do not act and adapt quickly to stay at the forefront of world aviation, then in a few years' time it may be too late.

Europe needs to maintain a strong and competitive aviation industry, with EU-based carriers right at the centre of the global network that connects the EU with the rest of the world.

We also need EU airports to remain at the heart of world traffic flows, and avoid becoming restricted destinations with only limited onward connections.

As I just said, connectivity is key to competitiveness.

Continuing to invest in research will help us to remain at the cutting edge of new technologies. Research, after all, leads to innovation. In addition, Europe will not manage to keep up with future competition and demand without maintaining its traditionally high safety, security and environmental records.

But this is not only about increasing flight traffic and cutting costs.

It also concerns routes, products, air traffic management: in fact, the entire value chain that aviation represents.

There are areas where Europe can act to help itself. We are already doing so.

Take congestion, which will be a huge problem if we do not plan for the future.

Europe’s airports are congested and will become more so. Air traffic in Europe will nearly double by 2030 and on current trends, 19 major European airports will by then be at saturation point.

We should avoid a situation where a significant share of the extra flights expected for the future cannot be accommodated. This is why I proposed a legal package for better airports. It addresses three main areas of concern: slots, ground-handling and noise, aiming to raise both capacity and quality of service. It is now being discussed in the European Parliament.

And the Single Sky project needs to succeed and be implemented - as soon as possible. It will allow us to shorten flights, reduce delays and emissions, and save about 3 billion euros each year, out of a total annual cost of 8 billion euros.

Progress here has been less than hoped – but I believe that we can still do this.

That’s why I proposed SES 2+ with some changes to speed up implementation, because this project is too important to be allowed to fail.

We are also upgrading Europe’s airspace architecture by introducing modern technologies through SESAR, Europe’s modernisation programme of air traffic control infrastructure.

Our air traffic management systems should be as cutting-edge and optimised as possible, which is what we are working towards.

As I speak, a major international conference on ATM is being held in Madrid to address these and other challenges.

In fact, given that internal restructuring is the main challenge for European aviation, our overarching aim is to modernise its entire value chain, across the system, so that this sector is ‘fit for purpose’ - and fit for the future.

At the same time, that means maintaining open and fair competition for all operators, which is why we take the issue of state subsidies very seriously.

Finally, and more generally, I believe Europe could make more of the economic potential that international aviation offers. We need to be where the growth is, as well as export the full value chain of European aviation that I mentioned earlier.

This is not only about securing traffic rights or access to new markets. It also means our high standards of safety, successful approach to regional cooperation, airport management and logistics. These are all very exportable commodities.

What do I mean by that?

In aviation regulation generally, the European Union is recognised as a world leader. The legislation that set up the Single Sky, the creation of EASA to take responsibility for the safety of our skies, have put Europe at the centre of global aviation regulation. The latest European success story was what the industry knows as FTL, or flight time limitations, to keep pilots safe when they fly.

They are all examples of what Europe does best in aviation.

Examples for others to follow.

We recently developed a more ambitious external policy to match the serious challenges facing our aviation sector and unlock the full contribution that aviation can make to the European economy.

Our aim is to conclude EU air transport agreements with major and increasingly important partners such as China, the Gulf States, Japan and India.

There is huge potential for the consumer: the total economic benefits of all these agreements are estimated at €12 billion per year. With Morocco and the Western Balkans, for example, we have already seen 40% price falls on flights.

Last month, I was in Singapore for the EU-ASEAN Aviation Summit. I see enormous potential here for the EU to cooperate with ASEAN’s future single aviation market. In the future, I would hope that we might together conclude the world’s first comprehensive region-to-region aviation agreement.

Its potential economic benefits are estimated at up to €900 million a year. The Commission will be asking Member States for a mandate to regulate on this.

The EU’s aviation agreements are not only about developing market access but also about a convergence of essential rules that should apply on a global scale, given that aviation is such a highly regulated international activity.

They allow EU citizens more possibilities to be connected with the rest of the world and boost growth. We are now working to complete a larger integrated aviation area with our neighbours by 2015: an area that will ultimately cover 50 countries with a combined population of one billion people.

Ladies and gentlemen

It has certainly been a difficult few years. But there are significant prospects of growth for Europe’s aviation industry and market. If we are able to make the most of them, it will mean that our wider economy benefits as the sector raises its performance, efficiency and takes the opportunities offered by new markets.

There are many new challenges ahead. We are working hard to prepare for them with a broad concerted move to efficiency, whose natural effect is to save costs.

Modernisation and competitiveness are vital, as is the need to optimise what Europe already has in terms of its airspace and airports.

This, I believe, is how Europe can remain a vibrant and natural crossroads for global aviation.

Thank you for your attention.

Figure of the month

8 billion

26 Billion euro in funding will be provided by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to transform today’s patchwork of roads, railways, airports and canals into a unified trans-European transport network.

We were asked about...

Question asked by Patricia van der Kammen (NI)

(7January 2014)

Subject:  EUR 450 million for research and innovation in the European rail sector

On 16 December 2013, the Commission announced that it would be investing no less than EUR 450 million in rail research and innovation over the next seven years. The intention is to provide a new generation of high-capacity trains, better infrastructure and more efficient rail services and traffic management systems. The rail sector will also have to make a financial contribution to the scheme, according to the Commission.

Is it true that the Commission plans to spend EUR 450 million of taxpayers’ money on research and innovation for the European rail network?

Read the answer

Answer given by Mr Kallas on behalf of the Commission


In the context of the multi-annual financial framework agreed by the Council and the Parliament, the Commission indeed plans to allocate up to EUR 450 million from the Horizon 2020 Programme for research and innovation (R&I) activities in the rail sector in the next 7 years.

The impact assessment accompanying the H2020 proposal provides evidence of the added value of EU intervention in R&I in the rail sector.

While the fourth railway package does not foresee any EU co-funding, the Council and the Parliament have also adopted a new framework for infrastructure policy in the form of the TEN-T Guidelines and the Connecting Europe Facility. The TEN-T core network has been defined according to a thorough and commonly accepted methodology to focus on the highest European added value e.g. cross-border sections, bottlenecks or missing links.

On this basis, the CEF is expected to support several rail projects, notably the pre-identified projects on the TEN-T Core Network, rail interoperability, the deployment of ERTMS and actions to reduce rail freight noise.

Projects are supported by work programmes, discussed with the Parliament and approved by the Member States, and selected following the calls for proposals. The Commission does not impose on Member States projects which they do not intend to carry out.


Transport and You


27 March 2014

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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