Specifications for a new generation of digital tachographs for trucks and buses were agreed informally by Irish presidency and Parliament negotiators on Tuesday. Innovations include devices that can read on-board recording devices from a distance, will make it easier to enforce driving and rest times.
The need to agree on how to separate track from train operators and to balance growth, quality of service and working conditions were the main points raised by transport and tourism MEPs and experts at a hearing on the 4th railway package on Tuesday. Uniform rules on safety certification and interoperability will be key to creating a single EU rail area, MEPs agreed.
Most of the new rules tabled by the Commission on truck weights and sizes were welcomed in a debate with Commissioner Siim Kallas on Tuesday. MEPs said these rules would help cut fuel consumption and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. But they remained divided over whether member states should be permitted to allow the use of longer and heavier vehicles (LHVs) in cross-border transport. At Parliament's request, conditions for using LHVs across borders are included in the new rules.
Euroopa Parlament toetas teisipäevasel hääletusel muudatusi, mis suurendavad hooldus-, tankimis- ja pagasikäitlusteenuse ning teiste maapealse käitlemise teenuse pakkujate arvu kahelt kolmele suuremates EL lennujaamades. Parlament lisas teenuse kvaliteedi standardid, millest teenusepakkujad peavad kinni pidama ja eeskirjad töötajate töökindluse kohta teenusepakkujate vahetumise korral.
EU visa applications should be further facilitated to help the EU tourism industry to drive growth and create jobs, said Transport and Tourism Committee MEPs in a discussion with European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani on Wednesday. Tourism accounts for 10% of GDP and 12% of total employment in the EU.
Transport MEPs welcomed the proposal to update air passengers' rights tabled by the Commission on 13 March but insisted that it include rules on hand luggage and solutions for passengers stranded if an airline goes bankrupt, in their first discussion of the proposal on Tuesday. Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas paid tribute to Parliament's preparatory work in 2012.
MEPs quizzed European Commission Aviation Director Matthew Baldwin on Tuesday about the new rules on flight and duty times for flight crews recommended by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The Commission has yet to table a proposal to put these rules into effect, but some MEPs said they would exercise their right of veto if they do not guarantee that working conditions and passenger safety outweigh commercial considerations.
New rules to make groundhandling services at large EU airports more competitive were narrowly approved in a Transport and Tourism Committee vote on Tuesday. MEPs inserted service quality standards and staff provisions to prevent any deterioration of working conditions. Parliament will have the final say in a plenary vote in April.
The European Commission is proposing to open domestic rail passenger markets to competition by 2019 to complete the European railway market. Views differ amongst transport committee MEPs, with fears that unprofitable lines will be closed down.
MEPs welcomed the Commission's "Railway package" proposals tabled on Wednesday. These are designed to complete the Single European Railway market, open up domestic passenger traffic to more competition and ensure full interoperability on a truly European network overseen by independent regulators. Here are some preliminary reactions.