Check Against Delivery
Members of the TRAN Committee,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to be with you in this house once again. There are two main parts to my intervention today.
- Firstly I want to provide you with an overview on the implementation of the Commission Work Programme for 2017.
- Then I also want to look ahead as we begin to plan the work programme for 2018.
There are a lot of topics to cover, so let's get started!
2017: Mobility Package
The most important delivery for 2017 will be the Mobility Package. We will have an opportunity to debate this topic in the next plenary session. And I will come to present the details of the Commission proposals to your committee on 19 June. Therefore today I will give you a quick update on where we are at present.
What was born as a somewhat smaller package called the 'road package' has happily grown to contain many cross-cutting elements. This reflects the Commission's attempt to break down silos, and in transport, it reflects my vision to see a fully integrated system.
The mobility package will contain all the road initiatives, but in addition, other proposals such as CO2 standards for trucks. The first seven proposals should be ready for adoption in four weeks, on 31 May, with a second set of proposals planned for the end of the year.
I think you will find the mobility package is a carefully balanced one, with strong social, environmental, digital and internal market aspects that cuts down on red-tape, and strengthens enforcement. This is very much in line with the draft resolution on the same issue voted by your committee some weeks ago.
As you all know, these proposals are of high political importance. It will be important that we work closely together to see the proposals adopted in this term of the Parliament. I count on your support to deal with the proposals as a priority.
Whilst on the topic of road, a word on road safety: the results I presented in Valetta in March show that we are now beginning to turn a corner in reducing road deaths further, with a drop of 2% in the number of fatalities recorded. 25,500 people lost their lives on EU roads in 2016, 600 fewer than in 2015 and 6,000 fewer than in 2010. A further 135,000 people were seriously injured on the road according to the latest figures.
On 1 February, we adopted a proposal to amend the directive establishing training requirements for professional drivers. It will contribute to higher road safety standards for professional drivers. The Council has already gone through the proposal in first reading in a very positive and constructive manner which I welcome and we are ready to work with the EP and your rapporteur Mr Lundgren and all the shadow rapporteurs to finalise the adoption of the legislation. I am sure TRAN will give the necessary attention to road safety.
Moving off the road and into the sky, another legislative package on air connectivity is scheduled for take-off very soon, on the 7th June. This package will further implement our Aviation Strategy. It will include guidelines on Public Service Obligations and on Ownership and Control, as well as a legislative proposal on safeguarding competition in air transport (replacing regulation 868/2004).
This legislative proposal addresses a request from this Parliament to provide the EU with an efficient tool to act where EU airlines face unfair practices originating from third countries. There are diverging positions on the topic among and within member states. I call on your support to ensure an open debate in here in TRAN and to use your influence at national level as well.
A brief word on aviation safety (EASA): the new aviation safety regulation is an opportunity to make the European aviation safety system more effective and efficient. Whilst work on the file is moving forwards, I would call on you to go the extra mile and make sure that this legislation can be adopted as soon as possible.
Back on the tracks in rail, the priority for this year and next is the implementation of existing legislation. My services are currently laying the track for work on enforcement of the Recast Directive and the 4th Railway Package to complete the regulatory framework in time for the opening of the market in 2019. This includes for instance implementing acts to ensure that all operators can access rail service facilities such as passenger stations, and to protect the economic equilibrium of existing public service contracts. I know that those issues are of specific important for the TRAN committee.
Rail Passenger rights
Subject to the outcome of our impact assessment, I can inform you that the Commission is now planning to adopt its proposal on rail passengers rights before summer.
Following problems identified in the current Regulation particularly over patchy application, derogations and legal uncertainty, the Commission plans to further clarify existing rules.
Our idea is to better define the concept of through-tickets and linked obligations for railway undertakings and ticket vendors. We also plan to propose the introduction of a "force majeure" clause, to be consistent with other pieces of EU legislation.
2017 is our maritime year. My services are undertaking extensive consultations with stakeholders regarding the priorities for the sector, the challenges ahead of us and the necessary development of our policy framework. This could lead to some new legislative initiatives in 2018 – I will say few words about this in a minute. But already this year, we will be delivering on the revision of the Port Reception Facilities directive.
We will also pursue our work on reviewing maritime transport legislation with the results of:
◦the evaluation of the Regulation on the liability of carriers of passengers by sea in the event of accidents;
◦the REFIT evaluation of legislation for the training and certification of seafarers;
◦the maritime Fitness Check covering Flag state responsibilities, port state control and coastal state requirements.
Just a brief word to congratulate you on the good progress that is being made on the Passenger Ship safety files and the reports which you adopted in April after finding compromises on some sensitive issues. The Commission now looks forward to working together with Parliament and the Council to start trilogue negotiations shortly.
A word now on decarbonisation. Transport is set to grow to meet demand, but it must develop more sustainably. We need an energy-efficient, decarbonised transport sector. The Commission's Low-Emission Mobility Strategy launched last year is very ambitious and will be implemented this year through various new measures:
(a) The Directive on Alternative Fuels will give confidence to industry, investors and consumers. I urge all Member States to ensure implementation of National Policy Frameworks.
(b) At the end of this year, as second part of the mobility package, the Commission will outline how to support the market uptake of alternatively fuelled vehicles, including electric buses, via the revision of the Clean Vehicles Public Procurement Directive. Public procurement can be a driver for creating markets for innovative products.
(c) Last but not least, a proposal on Combined Transport which will improve direct support for a modal shift from road freight to rail, inland waterways and short sea shipping.
2017/2018: MFF / Financing
In transport, financing is essential. Investment in infrastructure is one of President Juncker's political priorities, and it is also one of mine. While it was planned that the Commission would prepare the proposal for the next MFF and present it in 2017, it is likely that the detailed proposal will only be finalised in early 2018. The next big milestone is the Commission orientation debate on the EU finances by 2025 as a follow up to the White Paper, on 28th of June. It will important that we highlight and promote the excellent track record of CEF so far. In 2014-2016, €37.6 billion of total investment was mobilised with €20 billion of grants, contributing to EU's agenda of jobs and growth. We look forward to continuing support from Parliament for CEF 2.0 in what is likely to be a very tough negotiating environment. We estimate that €740 billion is needed to build the TEN-T Core Network and remove the main bottlenecks by 2030. Of course we will not get near that amount, but we must battle for all that we can. As you know, to bridge the gap, I have been focusing on innovative financing tools to compliment this funding. Transport is well represented in EFSI. To date, 36 operations triggering in total €15 billion in related investment. Finally on finance, a new CEF Transport Blending call has recently been launched to maximise leverage.
2018: Outlook for Work Programme
Although we are not yet halfway through this year's programme of work, I want to share with you some of the projects being planned for after this year.
Next year – 2018 – will see a focus on multimodality, improving the integration of all modes in the EU transport system.
We will present a number of maritime files resulting from the current Maritime Fitness Check, which as I said will be complete by the end of this year. On maritime, the most significant file will be the review of reporting formalities in which we would like to focus on the benefits that a European Single Window can offer on top of national single windows.
Other maritime files will concern flag and port state control, vessel traffic monitoring and the training of seafarers. These initiatives are being prepared in the context of President Juncker's REFIT and Better Regulation Agenda.
Just as we did with aviation, the Commission's priority is to reach international solutions when it comes to emissions. We fully support and encourage ambitious developments in addressing GHG emissions from shipping at IMO level. I expect the IMO to adopt an ambitious strategy in spring 2018 based on an appropriate emission reduction objective.
Other initiatives will be launched as well in relation to road safety. Following the Road Safety Conference in Malta in March, Commission services will start working on a new road safety policy framework for the decade after 2020 as mentioned in the Valetta declaration. I count on your support in this process.
Madame Chair, Dear members,
It is always a pleasure to be here with you. I hope to continue to count on your support for the forthcoming initiatives we have planned. I know that by working together, we can overcome mountains, (sometimes literally) to ensure that Europe stays connected for the good of our people, our businesses and to ensure we protect our planet.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to a lively debate.