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Procedure : 2008/2240(INI)
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Debates :

PV 10/03/2009 - 13
PV 10/03/2009 - 15
CRE 10/03/2009 - 13
CRE 10/03/2009 - 15

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PV 11/03/2009 - 5.19
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Tuesday, 10 March 2009 - Strasbourg OJ edition

13. The charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures - Greening of transport and internalisation of external costs (debate)
Video of the speeches

  Corien Wortmann-Kool, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group.(NL) Mr President, Commissioner, our rapporteur, my esteemed fellow member, Mr El Khadraoui, began with some reassuring words. No European charges are to be imposed. Instead, the rapporteur is concerned with ground rules for the internal market, aiming to facilitate sustainable transport in Europe. However, the position he adopts as rapporteur gives Member States a licence to impose very high charges, up to a few euros per kilometre, with the congestion charge and the mark-up on top. Mr President, in the Commissioner’s words, what we have here are not ground rules for the internal market but barriers to the internal market.

The Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats wishes to make its position here today clear. We are staunch supporters of investment in sustainable transport. Therefore, the internalisation of external costs for air and noise pollution can count on our approval, provided the revenues are invested in making road transport cleaner – something that enjoys broad support. However, the proposed congestion charging and mark-up are a bridge too far for the PPE-DE Group. Congestion charging has a very limited impact on the environment and does not solve the problem of congestion, and would also constitute an extra heavy burden in these times of economic crisis, an extra burden on SMEs, which is also bad for employment.

The rapporteur has reached a compromise with the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe by making a link with passenger transport, which was crucial to obtaining their support. The Council will not accept that – so much is already clear. This puts the rapporteur in a position he himself wants but the ALDE Group does not.

Therefore, I should like to end my speech on behalf of the PPE-DE Group with an old saying: we may lose the battle, but that does not mean we have lost the war.

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