At the start of my new job as Director-General of the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) I would like to thank you for your interest in our newsletter. I am convinced that it is of the highest importance for the Commission to share timely and high quality information with all stakeholders, be they representatives from the Member States or third countries, industry, associations and other organisations affected by European transport policy. Equally important is it to listen to you and I am looking forward to our work together.
For a start, here is an insight into my first two weeks in DG MOVE:
Transport Council in Luxembourg
- The last Transport Council in Luxembourg provided the opportunity for a fruitful exchange of views with the European Transport Ministers on a number of important policy files and marked a critical step forward for rail transport in Europe: Ministers unanimously agreed on a General Approach on the two market pillar proposals of the 4th Railway Package. The package, which we hope to see adopted by the co-legislator as soon as possible in 2016, is our flag policy initiative to continue the opening of rail markets, cut red tape and ensure a fair treatment for all.
- Investment in Europe for more jobs and growth remains at the core of our policies. At the Transport Council Vice-President Katainen, Commissioner Bulc and EIB Vice-President van Ballekom called on Ministers to ensure that high quality proposals will be submitted to the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) and offered technical assistance through the EIB Investment Hub. Furthermore, I am happy to already announce to you that we intend to launch the second call for proposals of the Connecting Europe Facility in November to push forward the work on trans-European transport networks and promoting cross-border transport connections and we encourage our stakeholders to submit high quality proposals.
On my agenda
- EU traffic in aviation is increasing. The number of passenger growth was 4.3% in 2014, totalling 878 million passengers. With such a trend, we could well be above 950 million in 2016 and 1 billion in 2017, doubling the traffic since 1998. Therefore, we are trying to tackle the upcoming capacity crunch in our skies and airports with policies such as the Single European Sky. Moreover, as part of the 2015 Commission work programme we are expected to release a new Aviation Strategy in December. Its proposals will aim to improve connectivity, sustainability, and competitiveness of the sector, including by asking several mandates to negotiate new international aviation agreements with third countries – an important potential for growth and consumer benefits based on open and fair competition.
- Almost 90% of the EU external freight trade is transported by sea. The sector is very much linked to other economies in the world, and can suffer important trading partners' slowdown in terms of growth. We are going take a closer look at safety, less polluting fuels, and decreasing the administrative burden to make shipping operations more efficient.
- Within the 28 Member States road freight transport accounts for around 45% of freight moved. However, the sector suffers from a negative image to the extent that it is more and more difficult to recruit young drivers. We have to make sure that competition in the market is not distorted and we need to protect the drivers from unfair social practices. We have the tools to ensure this and now need to utilise them to their full potential.
This list is by no means comprehensive but I hope it has given you a glimpse of some of the topics that are keeping me busy. For more information about myself and the mission of DG MOVE, please also take a look at our website .
I am looking forward to the exchanges with you.
DG Mobility and Transport