Dear Prime Minister dr. Miro Cerar, dear VP Maros Sefcovic, dear Commissioner Corina Cretu, dear Ministers, dear Members of the European Parliament, especially the Chair of the TRAN committee and dear friend Karima, dear VP of EIB Vazil Hudak, dear Mayors, investors, start-up community, TEN-T coordinators, CEOs and fantastic friends of transport including the devoted organisers of TEN-T days.
The moment has come when we can officially say....TEN-T days are open and are here to serve the needs of the EU, its neighbours and the people that want to engage, cooperate and enjoy the benefits of smart, inclusive, clean and safe transport mobility.
Welcome to my home city, welcome to Ljubljana. Thank you Miro, thank you Zoran, the PM and the Mayor of Ljubljana for providing such great hospitality to all of us and creating an opportunity to extend our love to this graceful city that holds in its name such beautiful energy. The name Ljubljana could be translated into the “loved one”.
More than 2300 participants, over 100 stands, all MS with 17 Ministers from the EU and 9 Ministers from the neighbouring countries; all of you are a perfect representation of a powerful EU mobility ecosystem, moving towards a true Transport Union. This is our strength, this is where sustainable, inclusive ideas emerge and are deployed to the benefit of all.
Let me now tell you the story that we co-created together and which is there to guide us and to keep us on the right track. This is the story that we follow when deciding on investments, R&I and R&D, when setting the priorities and inspiring people. The story starts with our core objectives.
These are: Improved efficiency (of our logistic networks, passenger services, and investments), improved connectivity (within the EU and our neighbourhood), and reduced negative externalities. Our aspirational Vision Zero consists of: zero-fatalities on European roads, zero-emissions from Transport and zero paper by 2050, along with fully integrated ticketing and integrated logistics systems. But reaching the objectives is not enough – it also matters how we reach them.
This is why we:
Focus on decarbonisation, ensuring funding for deployment and research in the field of alternative energies, infrastructure, clean vehicles, vessels, and aviation, and above all better organisation of mobility (on core corridors, in cities, towns and villages). However, the most challenging task is to create awareness among people for green mobility and to ensure a behaviour change that will move us all together towards a circular economy. Our vision is very clear: “0 pollution” from transport by 2050.
I know that your first thought is probably: this is too ambitious. My reply is: it is all about priorities and the right investments: recyclable, dual stream batteries, energy storage, new clean fuels and energies, new propulsion systems, new materials... weak signals are already out there, we just need to tap into them and focus on efficiency that will bring additional economic sense to decarbonisation.
This is why we also:
Put our focus on digitalisation. Digitalisation often walks hand in hand with decarbonisation, focusing on higher levels of cooperative, connected, automated and autonomous mobility, bringing back public transport in a more integrated and accessible way in combination with sharing and collaborative solutions, leading towards integrated passenger services/ticketing and integrated/multimodal logistic solutions (do not forget that this year is a year of multimodality). For that we are creating a seamless digital/data layer, decoupled from infrastructure and a service layer. I hope we will be able to keep data as open as possible to fully engage with a broad number of stakeholders, including start-ups. Here we also have a very motivating goal: 0 paper in mobility networks, and even stronger, a drive towards 0 fatalities and serious injuries on EU roads by 2050, removing step-by-step unpredictable human behavior and black spots from EU transport. I sincerely hope that with the help of intelligent mobility solutions we will remove this silent killer from our society for good.
That is why we:
Focus so much on investments. Under the current multi-annual financial framework for 2014-2020, funding and financing possibilities for transport were split across different programmes and instruments. We can be proud of the results and the delivery of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and the success of the Cohesion funds. The CEF model has proved its efficiency and ability to generate European added-value. CEF approved €22.3bn grants for 641 projects worth more than €50bn. In addition, EFSI proved to be an important complementary tool in financing Transport needs and mobilizing the private sector, with 57 projects approved so far, receiving €7.7bn EFSI financing of total investment value of €23.6bn. In addition, fresh, new, unexpected funding of two Green Shipping Guarantee schemes has been pre-approved with the potential to mobilise additional €3.5bn.
We also pioneered the blending approach last year with the very successful CEF Blending call which mobilised with 1bn of grants contribution, another €4.5bn investment. If we also add the rest of the investments from EIB, national promotional banks and from commercial banks, we can talk about €200bn (+) of investments in EU core networks. The good news is that investments happened in all MS according to their level of absorption capacity.
The new excitement to EU mobility brings innovation. You probably have sensed already many of the core topics of innovation opportunities in the last two days: innovation in products, materials, services, business models, behaviour, social structures.
But still, let me wrap up this attractive driver of EU transport with some exciting advancements that are really transforming mobility not only in the EU but globally. Blockchains are bringing a similar evolution shift in the system structures as relational databases did in the 90s. That is why it is a special pleasure for me to see the global blockchain guru Mr Vinay Gupta as an active participant of this TEN-T days. We are only at the beginning of sensing the potential of blockchains. Yet, they are already part of our daily business bringing on board Pier2Pier transport solutions in combination with energy and digital means. I am very proud that the Slovenian blockchain community is becoming recognised as a global hot spot.
Lower aviation space, so called U-space is the next new frontier bringing on board EU mobility solutions in a safe and secured way, like drones and flying cars. That is why I am so happy to also have with us Professor Tomás Saraceno and his team who are using futuristic concepts based on science and art, to move us towards the EU transport of imagination. At this point it is also worth mentioning hyperloop which is yet to deliver a reliable solution, but at the same time is really exciting users with its potential. When we think about modern transport, we usually think about corridors and smart cities.
So, I feel I need to bring to your attention the emerging concept of smart villages which is presenting fresh opportunities to rural areas, creating jobs and keeping EU diversity well integrated in modern business and social models. I could continue with the potentials that space exploration is bringing for the future of transport, and the properties of graphite layers, and the new bio computers or emergence of new global eco civilisation. I am sure we will explore all these and more in the future.
After hearing the explanation of these four core drivers, I hope that our legislative proposals and initiatives make more sense to you: from Aviation strategy and its implementing rules, to the 4th railway package, investment priorities, and military mobility, from the road safety and maritime declarations, to the 1st, 2nd and forthcoming 3rd mobility package, from our agencies and joint undertakings to close cooperation with other portfolios led by my fellow Commissioners.
All is part of our system approach, co-created with participatory tools by you, us, the entire ecosystem. Yet, nothing that I said so far, would make any sense without putting people in the middle of our model. Everything that we do in transport, is not for cars, airports and trains, but for people, and people mean nature, too: those that work in the transport sector, those that use transport and those that are setting up the frameworks for the ecosystem to function well.
That is why mobility as a service is leading the way of the demand-driven mobility transformation. However, being the strongest and most sustainable economy in the world, the EU has a high responsibility globally as well. There our focus is on joining forces with progressive nations to reach global commitments and partnerships that help us to sustain this beautiful planet.
Yet in 2017 and 2018 we were able to reach international global agreement for decarbonisation of aviation and maritime, bringing them under the COP21 umbrella. All of that and even more you will be able to see here, at TEN-T days. Please walk around with an open heart and mind - be inspired and inspire others. This is a place where you/we can recognise fresh opportunities to create new projects, partnerships, platforms and encourage the necessary changes to maintain transport as an enabler of growth, prosperity and inspiration.
The EU needs to have appropriate means to continue evolving democracy, to remain an open, inclusive and safe part of the world, dedicated to peace and prosperity for all. In this confusing world – the EU and EU transport bring political stability and create opportunities based on synergies, and valuing creation. But, allow me to invite you also to advocate love, compassion and humility, and the same world will all of a sudden look much happier.
My dear friends, as our President Juncker says “the wind is back to EU sails”. It is simply a privilege to be the EU Transport Commissioner in these dynamic times. Thank you for your trust, your engagement.