Road safety: Vice-President Kallas welcomes deal on 112 eCall
19 March 2014
Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas welcomed the agreement today between the European Parliament and the Council on establishing emergency call response centres for the handling of 112 eCalls. The eCall system automatically dials 112 - Europe's single emergency number - in the event of a serious accident.
Vice-President Kallas said: "Today, we are starting the countdown for eCall, so that this service is not a privilege for a few, but will improve safety for all road users in the EU. eCall will be a major asset in our struggle to cut by half the number of road fatalities by 2020".
It is estimated that 112 eCall can speed up emergency response times by 40% in urban areas and 50% in the countryside and can reduce the number of fatalities by at least 4% and the number of severe injuries by 6%. eCall is a low-cost solution. Because it is only activated in the event of a serious accident, driver behaviour cannot be tracked during normal use of the car.
The agreement between Parliament and Council is an important step in the EU road safety strategy to reduce road fatalities and serious injuries. It ensures that once cars equipped with eCall will be on the road, the necessary infrastructure will be ready to handle the calls and to rescue drivers and passengers more quickly throughout the European Union. This agreement still needs to be approved by a vote in both institutions.
In June 2013, the Commission proposed as part of the eCall initiative a Decision to ensure the deployment of the necessary infrastructure for the proper receipt and handling of the 112 eCalls.
The agreement reached provides for
- the deployment, at least 6 months before the date of application of the Regulation concerning the mandatory fitting of the eCall device in vehicles (personal cars and commercial light vehicles), of the eCall infrastructure required for the handling of all eCalls on the EU territory, with a final deadline for the deployment set at October 1, 2017.
- the right of each Member State to organise its emergency services in the way most cost effective and appropriate to its needs, including the right to let private organisations recognised by the Member State deal with the receipt and handling of eCalls, in accordance with the specifications laid down by Delegated Regulation (EU) No 305/2013.
- 112 eCalls handling free of charge for the users.
TEN-T project: ERTMS upgrade for locomotives Austria and Slovenia thanks to EU support
17 March 2014
A project to upgrade Austrian and Slovenian locomotives in terms of European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) will be supported by the European Union with a little over €1.6 million from the TEN-T Programme. The project will improve the safety of rail transport whilst at the same time making the sector more competitive.
The project was 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.
It specifically concerns retrofitting 13 locomotives belonging to four private railway undertakings from Austria and Slovenia. The locomotives will then be able to operate on the ERTMS (level 1 and 2) lines of Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Switzerland.
By increasing the interoperability of the locomotives, the project will enhance the competitiveness of the rail freight sector.
The project will be monitored by the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) and is set to be completed by the end of 2015.
For more information, please consult the project's page: http://inea.ec.europa.eu/en/ten-t/ten-t_projects/ten-t_projects_by_country/multi_country/2012-eu-60033-p.htm
TEN-T project: EU to co-finance studies for new northern Greek motorway
19 March 2014
The European Union will co-finance to the tune of €1.5 million from the TEN-T Programme a series of studies which are necessary to prepare for the tendering of the works for the northern border section of the Ionian Highway in Greece.
The initiative, which was selected for funding under the 2012 TEN-T Annual Call, includes conducting preliminary and final design studies, geotechnical surveys, a cost-benefit analysis and the health and safety plan. They apply to a 46 km stretch of motorway between the Egnatia Odos-Ionian Highway interchange and Kakavia.
The studies and the subsequent works will contribute to:
- satisfying the increased demand for passengers and freight transport to and from Albania
- connecting northwest Greece with Italy, Slovenia and the other EU Member States through the sea corridors that pass from the ports of Igoumenitsa and Patra
- upgrading transport infrastructure in western and northern Greece, as well as reducing reduce travelling times and increasing road safety.
For more information, please consult the project's page: http://inea.ec.europa.eu/en/ten-t/ten-t_projects/ten-t_projects_by_country/greece/2012-el-91061-s.htm
Vice-President Kallas welcomes deal on alternative fuels infrastructure for transport
20 March 2014
European Transport Commissioner, Vice President Siim Kallas welcomed the agreement reached today on a far reaching package of measures to ensure the build-up of alternative fuel stations across Europe with common standards for their design and use.
European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas responsible for Transport said: "This agreement maps out a clear future for clean transport across Europe. It is a major innovation and a milestone towards meeting our commitment to reduce European transport's overdependence on oil and developing a transport system fit for the 21st century."
The Clean Power for Transport Package consists of a Communication on a European alternative fuels strategy, a Directive focusing on infrastructure and standards and an accompanying document describing an action plan for the development of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in shipping.
The main measures agreed are:
Minimum levels of infrastructure across the EU. A requirement on Member States to submit to the Commission national plans for minimum levels of infrastructure to be in place by 2020 for electric vehicles and for CNG in urban agglomeration, Hydrogen and LNG in maritime ports and for heavy duty vehicles is postponed to 2025 (all dates available in table below). The targets will be published by the Commission. There is a review clause in the Directive to allow the Commission to assess if national targets are sufficient to deliver a critical mass of infrastructure or if mandatory targets agreed at EU level – as had been originally proposed by the Commission - will be needed.
EU wide standards for the infrastructure. The agreement requires the development of EU wide standards for clean fuels. This will end the uncertainty that has been holding back business and consumers. It means standardised plugs for electric vehicles and standardised refuelling equipment – refuelling and recharging equipment - for hydrogen and natural gas as well as future standards for wireless recharging points, battery swapping technology and standardised plugs for buses and motorcycles.
Clear consumer information to facilitate use - including on the charging and refuelling points themselves, as well as comparison of prices for the different alternative and conventional fuels based on a methodology developed by the Commission.
The agreement was reached in "trilogue" negotiations between the European Parliament, Commission and representatives of Member States. It must be formally approved by the plenary of the European Parliament and Member States in Council.
Maritime port activity in the EU Rotterdam busiest port for goods handling in 2012 Dover for passengers
18 March 2014
For readability reasons, the EUROSTAT documents are only available in PDF and WORD formats: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STAT-14-42_en.htm