Issue n° 167 - 14 March 2014

Mobility and transport

In the spotlight


European Parliament gives boost to the Single European Sky

The Commission welcomed the vote in the European Parliament to support, strengthen and push forward the Single European Sky 2+ (SES2+) initiative as a key move to accelerate the implementation of Single European Sky.

Read the full article

12 March 2014

Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "The Single European Sky initiative is crucial to boost competitiveness in the aviation sector, create jobs, and contribute to the European economy's growth. Today's vote in the Parliament gives a boost to the entire project. It is now up to the Member States to take this important issue forward, and deliver a truly efficient air traffic system in Europe".

The SES2+ initiative looks to head off a capacity crunch as the number of flights is forecast to increase by 50% over the next 20 years. Inefficiencies in Europe's fragmented airspace bring extra costs of close to 5 billion Euros each year to airlines and their customers. They add 42 kilometres to the distance of an average flight forcing aircraft to burn more fuel, generate more emissions, pay more in costly user charges and suffer greater delays. The United States controls the same amount of airspace, with more traffic, at almost half the cost.

With full implementation of the SES potential annual savings are calculated to be in the order of €2.9 billion per year for airlines, with a reduction of emissions by 2.4 million tonnes of CO2. This will boost competitiveness and growth in the sector.

With the SES2+ the Commission proposed to update the four regulations creating the Single European Sky (SES), and amend rules governing the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Key elements of the proposal include:

  • Better safety and oversight: Safety remains the first priority for aviation. EASA audits have shown great deficiencies in the oversight of air traffic control organisations in the Member States. The Commission proposed full organisational and budgetary separation of national supervisory authorities from the air traffic control organisations whom they oversee, while at the same time ensuring sufficient resources are given to the National Supervisory Authorities to do their tasks.
  • Better Air Traffic Management Performance: The reform of Europe's air traffic management system is driven by four key performance targets: safety, cost-efficiency, capacity and environment. These targets go to the heart of the reform process as they require air traffic control organisations to change and provide better services at lower cost. The Commission proposed to set targets in a more independent manner.
  • New business opportunities in support services: The Commission proposed to open up new business opportunities for companies to provide support services to air traffic control organisations.
  • Enabling industrial partnerships: Functional Airspace blocks (FABs) are intended to replace the current patchwork of 27 national air traffic blocks with a network of larger, regional blocks to gain efficiency, cut costs and reduce emissions. The Commission proposed to build upon industry's initiatives to support the creation of FABs.

Next steps

Member States will have to agree on their positions vis-à-vis the Commission proposal and the Parliament amendments.

More news

Road safety: new rules adopted for technical testing of vehicles

12 March 2014

The European Parliament adopted with a clear majority the roadworthiness package, a set of measures to toughen up vehicle checks and to widen their scope. The three directives that constitute the roadworthiness package concern periodic roadworthiness tests, technical roadside inspections for commercial vehicles and vehicle registration documents. The new directives replace existing EU rules setting minimum standards for vehicle checks that date back to 1977, with only minor updates. These new rules aim to avoid more than 36,000 accidents a year linked to technical failure. For further information on the roadworthiness package please see IP/12/780 , MEMO/12/555 , MEMO/13/637  

Commission appoints eleven European coordinators for the new transport infrastructure policy

12 March 2014

The European Commission appointed European coordinators for each of the nine core network corridors of the trans-European transport network (or TEN-T), as well as for the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) and for Motorways of the Sea. The core TEN-T transport network creates two North–South corridors, three East–West corridors; and four 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 coordinators will be responsible for coordinating priority transport projects and reporting back to the Commission.

Vice-President Siim Kallas said: "The appointment of these coordinators marks further progress in implementing the core TEN-T network. Their role will be essential to make the corridors a success and start a new era of participation. The new EU transport infrastructure is off to a good start."

Most of the coordinators have already gained wide experience of EU transport policy implementation over the last eight years working on the TEN-T priority projects:

  • Pavel Telicka (North Sea–Baltic corridor)
  • Pat Cox (Scandinavian–Mediterranean corridor)
  • Carlo Secchi (Atlantic Corridor),
  • Péter Balázs (North Sea–Mediterranean corridor)
  • Laurens Jan Brinkhorst (Mediterranean corridor)
  • Karel Vinck (ERTMS)
  • Karla Peijs (Rhine–Danube corridor)

have been reappointed for a period of four years.

There are also four new coordinators who will bring wide political experience to the tasks ahead:

  • Former Spanish Foreign Minister Ana de Palacio will be responsible for the Rhine–Alpine corridor
  • Former German Minister for Transport Kurt Bodewig takes on the Baltic–Adriatic corridor.
  • MEP Brian Simpson (Motorways of the Sea) and
  • MEP Mathieu Grosch (Orient/East–Med corridor)

are experienced transport politicians and will take up their duty as TEN-T Coordinators in July 2014 after the current European Parliament mandate ends.

The new coordinators will now enter into contact with Member States authorities and ministers to discuss the framework for cooperation and implementation of their mandates.

The Member States and the European Parliament have been fully involved in the process of nominating the coordinators.

Details of the new European TEN-T coordinators can be found on:

TEN-T project: Liquid natural gas hub in Galicia gets an EU funding boost

12 March 2014

The European Union will co-finance with a little over €600,000 from the TEN-T Programme a series of studies to develop a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) hub in the Port of Ferrol, located near the city of La Coruña in the northwest of Spain.

The studies, which were selected for funding under the 2012 TEN-T Annual Programme's priority on new technologies for transport infrastructure, focus on the design of the necessary facilities, infrastructure and procedures in order to supply LNG as fuel along the entire port logistics chain: from the port services to ships.

LNG is rapidly emerging as a more environmentally friendly fuel for the shipping sector and its uptake is encouraged by the European Union.

The studies contribute to climate change mitigation and to the reduction of the impact of transport on the environment. The results will be disseminated among stakeholders and the project can be used as an example for the promotion and for policy making in the field of sustainable transport.

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

Commissioner's corner

Speech - Europe’s urban environment: using transport to make our cities work

"Successful and beautiful cities don't happen by accident. You get what you plan for. If you plan for attractive, clean, efficient and socially integrated cities – that is what you should get. But without proper long-term planning and attention, you end up with a sprawling traffic-choked urban jungle."

Siim Kallas

Read the full speech

Brussels, 13 March 2014

Ladies and gentlemen,

Urban transport has become something of a symbol for me.

It was the theme of an informal meeting of EU transport ministers in Spain when I started my mandate almost exactly four years ago.

And since my mandate as European Transport Commissioner is soon coming to an end, it looks like we have come full circle.

Cities are, and always will be, places of exchange: of goods and of ideas. At their best, they are exiting, attractive and dynamic places to live and work.

In Europe we have some of the world’s most successful and attractive cities – with 8 of the top 20 most visited last year.

More than 70% of European Union citizens live in urban areas. With their concentration of trade, business and "people expertise", cities generate 85% of the EU’s gross domestic product. They are the drivers of economic growth.

But they are also where many of transport’s negative impacts are felt the most.

We know that urbanisation is a growing trend. By 2050, that share of European city-dwellers will have risen to 85%.

Many European towns and cities already suffer from severe congestion and substandard air quality. They account for roughly a quarter of all CO 2 emissions from transport. Put together, the annual cost of health problems and traffic delays runs into many billions of euros.

It is also a big public concern.

A large majority – more than 70% - of those interviewed in a recent Eurobarometer survey said they viewed congestion, air quality and accidents as serious problems in European cities.

Even more worrying is that only 24% of people think that the situation will improve in the future. More think that it will just get worse.

Successful and beautiful cities don't happen by accident. You get what you plan for. If you plan for attractive, clean, efficient and socially integrated cities – that is what you should get. But without proper long-term planning and attention, you end up with a sprawling traffic-choked urban jungle.

Fortunately, Europe hasn’t yet slid into that level of city chaos.

However, it is this city – Brussels – that has been named as the most congested in Europe. Not something to be proud of. E specially since there are several alternatives to cars for getting around Brussels: train, tram, bus, and metro, as well as cycling and walking.

I do know there are ideas and projects that aim to reduce the pressure of car traffic by 20% by 2018, for example, and a plan to turn Brussels into an exemplary pedestrian city by 2040. This shows that Brussels is developing a long-term strategy to develop its urban area and transport system.

But 2040 is a long way away.

Since I am on the subject of Brussels, I would briefly like to mention the Rue de la Loi project, for which an international competition to redesign a large part of the European Quarter was held in 2008 when I was Commissioner for Administrative Affairs and Building Policy.

This street next to my office is a drab monotonous corridor of heavy traffic. You could call it an avenue … but it still looks more like a slow-moving motorway.

The original idea was to transform it into an open animated street with much less traffic, laying the foundations for a future “eco-district”. This was one of the key factors for improving the quality of life in the area.

Unfortunately, some of these ambitious objectives have been cancelled, particularly regarding transport. I sincerely hope that Belgium will continue to invest in better public transport in and around Brussels and that an initiative will be taken soon to tackle traffic issues on Rue de la Loi.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Since most trips originate or end in urban areas, cities are important nodes of the European transport network. It is essential to link them together properly, especially across borders – by rail, road or waterborne transport.

The new policy for the Trans-European Transport Network, especially its concept of corridors that combine different means of travel, will do just this. It will be the future of EU transport. To make sure it becomes a reality, it is backed up by hard cash: dedicated infrastructure financing, in the form of the Connecting Europe Facility.

Let me give you just one local example of how we are building essential cross-border connections: the Diabolo project, which will link Brussels Airport by rail to the eastwards Brussels-Leuven line and the new northwards Brussels-Antwerp line.

This will allow future high-speed services running between London, Paris, Amsterdam and Cologne to call at the airport – and turn it finally into a truly international rail station.

This key rail link will link Brussels to two core European transport corridors.

Urban transport has been high on the EU political agenda for a long time – and there are many EU-supported projects showing that it is possible to make the transition to sustainable urban transport.

Take the CIVITAS programme, which promotes city initiatives for low-emission vehicles, improved safety and reduced congestion.

Just a few among the hundreds of its success stories would be the public transport ticketing system in Estonia’s capital Tallinn; or Stockholm, which has replaced its public buses with clean vehicles running on biogas and ethanol; and the new traffic control system for Bologna in Italy.

As we plan for necessary long-term changes to Europe’s urban environments, we keep long-term policy objectives in mind. One of these is to halve the use of conventionally-fuelled cars in urban areas by 2030 and phase them out by 2050. City logistics should be essentially CO2-free in major urban centres by 2030.

The Commission is supporting EU countries to develop and implement sustainable urban mobility plans.

These span many different policy areas and sectors: transport, land-use and spatial planning, environment, economic development, social policy, health and road safety. They work across different levels of government and administration.

The idea is to promote cleaner local transport, especially public transport. This is a very efficient way to use road space and reduce congestion and pollution.

Another EU initiative for reducing city pollution is to promote more use of alternative fuels. Cities are a showcase of what we can achieve on a wider scale for large-scale deployment of such fuels to reduce Europe’s dependence on oil.

However, their use is being held back by the high cost of vehicles, a low level of consumer acceptance, and lack of recharging and refuelling stations. Even though several cities are already investing in recharging infrastructure, it is far from enough. Europe needs a proper supply network for alternative fuels.

So I have proposed that Member States build minimum infrastructure for fuels such as electricity, hydrogen and natural gas – to go hand-in-hand with common EU standards for the equipment needed.

This ambition will be underpinned by technological advance, so I am pleased to see a good deal more EU funding for transport research and development in the Horizon 2020 programme. Here, urban transport, logistics, green vehicles and infrastructures are priority areas.

With its positive impact on the urban environment, innovation will help to solve city transport problems with newer, safer vehicles and systems - and keep Europe a world leader in manufacturing transport equipment.

We are looking closely at intelligent transport systems, city logistics, access restrictions and green zones, and will continue to help Member States to develop these in cities.

But technology on its own is not enough. It also has to be deployed on the ground . We can help that to happen by identifying and removing barriers that prevent full-scale implementation of innovative technologies.

It is one of the main aims of our Smart Cities initiative, which will build on the success of existing projects like CIVITAS.

This is not an EU funding programme, but a partnership that brings together people, business and organisations to integrate different aspects of innovative technology across the transport, energy and ICT sectors. There is a great deal of unexploited potential to connect these three sectors better, to improve the urban environment and increase the efficiency of how a modern city functions.

Smart Cities will operate via annual calls for projects to cover the areas where the three sectors are closely linked. The aim is to produce commercial-scale results and help companies which find it too risky to move towards quick deployment of innovative technologies. I encourage you to look at the ongoing calls for Smart Cities and the Invitation for Commitments of the European Innovation Partnership on the Smart Cities Platform. There are plenty of opportunities.

Ladies and gentlemen,

For Europe to remain home to some of the world’s most successful and attractive cities, we should plan and act now so that our cities can cope with the challenges and demands that rising urbanisation will inevitably bring.

The various EU initiatives and activities I have just outlined will help to do this. They are also the topics I would like to see debated in the Business Summit I am organising on the 27 March, driving transport in the future and in the urban realities of the future is essential for all our partners.

We want to create significant opportunities for innovative European businesses in the global marketplace, make our cities more attractive places to live and help Europe to deliver on its wider climate agenda.

I believe they also fit in well with your own development themes.

Transport is "part and parcel" of the urban environment. It’s why we have designed European transport policy to play a key part in the longer-term thinking for our cities, so they will stay clean, smart, sustainable and attractive.

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 Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE)

(22 January 2014)

Subject:  Unexplained delays in clearing ‘bottlenecks’ in Europe

Following the approval of the general state budget in Spain it has been confirmed that the government of this Member State has allocated only 5.75% of the investment envisaged in this financial year (3 032 million euros) to the zone of the Atlantic Corridor known as the ‘Basque Y’. In terms of the specifications approved by the European Parliament for the TEN-T (trans-European transport network), the Basque Y has priority status. This stretch of infrastructure forms the basis for improving one of the two rail connections between Spain and France, and it fulfils all the conditions for promoting interoperability and intermodality, which characterise the works to be carried out all across Europe in the near future.

However, despite these facts, the resources dedicated to this priority investment have been reduced by 50% with respect to the previous financial year. The progress of the works is being maintained thanks exclusively to the efforts of the Basque Government, which has taken over responsibility for the construction of part of this infrastructure. The decision has not been adopted as a result of any budget shortfall, since other stretches that do not involve the elimination of ‘bottlenecks’ have not seen their allocations of funds cut. The decisions that have been taken neither follow the criteria of the TEN-T nor are they in accord with the public declarations of the Spanish transport authorities or the terms of presumed memoranda of intentions signed at inter-state meetings.

In light of the foregoing:

1. Does the Commission consider that these decisions are consistent with the priorities laid down in the TEN-T?
2. Does the Commission consider that focusing short-term investment on solving the problems of so-called ‘bottlenecks’ between Member States is positive for the encouragement of inter-state cooperation?
3. Has the Commission received any official explanations from the Spanish Government regarding the grounds for these decisions?

Read the answer

Answer given by Mr Kallas on behalf of the Commission


Following the adoption of Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013 establishing the new Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network, the Y-Basque project, which was already included in the TEN-T Priority Project n°3, is now a key component of the Atlantic Corridor of the TEN-T Core Network.

Within this framework, a Corridor work plan will be defined in 2014 and a European Coordinator will be appointed to chair a Corridor Forum involving the Member States concerned with a view, inter alia, to fine-tune priorities and project development.

A larger amount of EU funding with higher co-financing rates as compared to the past, is available from 2014 under the new Regulation (EU) No 1316/2013 establishing the Connecting Europe Facility.

The Commission therefore:

  • reaffirms the importance of the Y-Basque project within the Atlantic Corridor;
  • awaits the submission of proposals concerning the Y-Basque project in the next calls for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility; 
  • expects the Corridor work plan to clarify the overall national planning vis-à-vis the Corridor needs.

Transport and You


3 April 2014

Workshop on trends and prospects of jobs and working conditions in transport

Workshop on

Trends and prospects of jobs and working conditions in transport

3 April 2014

Universitaire Stichting - Fondation Universitaire
Egmontstraat / Rue d'Egmont 11
1000 Brussels

In the framework of the initiatives foreseen in the Commission's 2011 Transport White Paper, DG Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission launched a study aimed at assessing the labour market situation in the transport sector at the light of the ageing of the working population. Part of this study is carried out by JRC, the other part by the research-based consultancy firm Panteia and the advisory firm PwC. This study, which is nearing completion, assesses the sufficiency of labour and skills supply in transport up to 2020. It evaluates in particular the risks of critical skill shortages and possible remedial action to avoid them. To do so it examines the influence of working conditions on labour and skills supply, as well as the availability of training facilities to meet these possible shortages.

This study will provide a very practical input to the strategic planning of transport firms and to the career decisions of current and future workers while offering updated information to their respective representatives at Member State and EU level. It will also provide elements of judgement for the Commission and Member State governments to consider whether any specific policy action is needed.

Preliminary results show (future) shortages in many professions. These seem to be caused by ageing, unattractive working conditions, insufficient training, changes to required competences, etc. The relatively unattractive working conditions are shown to be partly due to the characteristics of the sector, can to some extend be related to market opening processes and are perception rather than reality in some other cases.

Matching demand and supply for labour and skills at a fair level of job quality will not be an easy task. It is clear THE solution does not exist; multiple efforts by many jurisdictions and stakeholders are required!

The study so far entailed literature and data analysis, modelling, expert interviews, dedicated MS survey on training and a targeted stakeholder consultation. The study will finish with a workshop with experts from a wide range of stakeholders. The goal of the workshop is to present, discuss and validate the provisional results of the study and especially on possible solutions for the identified problems/risks. Via this e-mail we would invite you to join this workshop. A copy of the draft synthesis will be sent to those intending to participate in the workshop the 27th of March at the latest.

The workshop will take place on thursday the 3rd of April 2014. It will be held in English (no translations).

The workshop is aimed at the following types of organisations:

  • EU officials (JRC, DG MOVE, DG EMPL, Cedefop, OSHA)
  • EU Transport Agencies (ERA, EMSA, EASA)
  • Member State officials
  • Employer Organisations
  • Trade Unions
  • Relevant EU representative organisations employers/employees
  • Key companies in passenger and freight sectors
  • Scientists
  • Skills Councils

Representatives of organisations and firms or individual experts who wish to attend the workshop should inform Mr Paul Vroonhof, Team leader of the study on the trends and prospects of jobs and working conditions in transport, at the firm Panteia which is organising the event, by writing to the e-mail address:

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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