Full text 
Procedure : 2011/2096(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0425/2011

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 14/12/2011 - 16
CRE 14/12/2011 - 16

Votes :

PV 15/12/2011 - 9.6
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

Wednesday, 14 December 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

16. Single European transport area (debate)
Video of the speeches

  President. – The next item is the report by Mathieu Grosch, on behalf of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, on the Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource-efficient transport system (2011/2096(INI)) (A7-0425/2011).




  Mathieu Grosch, rapporteur.(DE) Mr President, Mr Kallas, in the Committee on Transport and Tourism, we took the debate on the White Paper on transport for the next few decades very seriously. Following an initial report, we refined the focus of our opinion by making 413 amendments. However, we have found a good basis for setting priorities for the future, in particular, by means of 32 compromises. This was possible due to the readiness of my colleagues in committee to enter into dialogue. I would like to thank them very much for this, as well as all the members of staff who helped to make this report into something really unified.

It is worth it because when we talk about transport, we are talking about over 10 million workers in Europe, more than 5% of GDP and, ultimately, something that affects the day-to-day lives of almost all citizens. Thus, this really is a key competence of European policy. The White Paper puts the emphasis in the right places. The emphasis is on economic, environmental and safety aspects, where energy and CO2 remain the priorities, of course.

First of all, however, we wanted to send a clear message to the Council. We want a swift and clear transposal of EU directives, but we see that this is not always the case in the Council and that the borders between Member States that we want to abolish are very often reconstructed as a result of transposal in the Council.

In the debate, we agreed on many words and concepts relating to efficient co-modality. For me, however, what is important is the fact that this efficiency includes the aspect of economic efficiency just as much as it does the aspects of environmental protection, safety and the right working conditions. All of this will give us an efficient transport policy.

We have initially limited ourselves to the next 10 years and have put forward 31 clear proposals in this regard, primarily with regard to safety, particularly in connection with road transport. We are still seeing more than 40 000 deaths and more than 400 000 serious injuries a year. We want clear measures for the next 10 years up to 2020 in order to reduce these figures by 50%.

Of course, CO2 is, and remains, a priority for us, too. In this regard, we are setting a target of 20% less than the 1990 levels for the next 10 years. It is possible for us to achieve that, among other things using an energy mix – not only electro-mobility, we want an energy mix. However, we also want a better modal distribution and we do not want to underestimate urban transport, either – with respect for subsidiarity. After all, 80% of citizens will be living in urban centres in future and, for example, environmentally friendly modes of transport right down to pedestrians and bicycles, Mr Cramer, create alternatives that will make this transport much more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Where CO2 is concerned, however, we are also considering airspace. Why are we waiting so long to implement this when we know that, with simple decisions and without investing any money, we could, at the end of the day, save 20%?

We also share your view of the single European transport area. We want to abolish the frontier effects. We want to open up the markets. We also want to make transport much more efficient. However, for the future – and I am thinking in particular of road transport here – we also do not want to have the cheapest transport at the expense of health and the environment, but we want the right prices under the right conditions for the environment and also for the people who work in this sector.

All of this will, of course, also result in us in Europe, together with the Commission, calling for a coherent European transport network. However, we want to set points of focus there, too. Bottlenecks that we have been aware of for years must be eradicated. Frontier effects must also be eliminated. The money is not simply there for the Member States to do with what they will. We want to create European added value here and accordingly also guarantee the funding.

These are just a few examples of how we see the future. In any case, Commissioner, we would like to discuss these specific measures with the Commission in future and also implement them.


  Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the Commission. – Mr President, the Commission White Paper ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area’, adopted on 28 March 2011, defines a vision for a competitive and resource-efficient transport system and a policy agenda for the coming years.

I would like sincerely to thank the rapporteur, Mathieu Grosch, and the members of the Committee on Transport and Tourism for the input given to the Commission throughout this exercise. It all started with the report on the 2009 communication on a sustainable future for transport.

I believe there is wide agreement on the importance of preserving an efficient and competitive transport sector. Transport is an essential support for the internal market and the economic integration of all regions of Europe in the global economy. Transport is also an important economic sector itself, with 10 million jobs in transport services and another 8 million in the manufacture of transport vehicles. Transport is also essential for social and territorial cohesion.

This is why I am convinced that curbing mobility is not a sensible alternative in order to make transport sustainable. But I am also convinced that, without finding ways of using less and cleaner energy and of better exploiting infrastructure, we will be forced into such a detrimental alternative.

The White Paper sets a target for a 60% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 with respect to 1990 and ten goals that will benchmark progress until that date. There are 40 concrete initiatives which the Commission intends to take within the current mandate in order to address transport challenges. We are fully committed to this agenda. The Commission will, in 2011, deliver about 20% of the initiatives listed in the White Paper – and not the least important ones.

I will continue, based on the wide support given in your report to several key proposals, such as the internalisation of external costs of transport; the Single European Sky; the maritime Blue Belt; urban sustainable mobility plans and, in general, the completion of the internal market in transport.

As the Commission announced in its work programme, I intend to put forward very ambitious proposals next year. Concerning rail, the programme should include measures to develop the European single railway area. New legislation should also contribute to the development of clean fuel vehicles and priorities set for innovation and technological development. We will also make further steps towards the full internalisation of all externalities and for the elimination of tax distortions.

I hope I can count on Parliament’s continued support to make the vision outlined in the White Paper a reality.


  Bogusław Sonik, rapporteur of the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. (PL) Mr President, transport is the foundation of our economy and society. It contributes to economic growth and job creation. However, the development of this economic sector must be sustainable and take place in the context of international cooperation. European infrastructure management and transport systems should aim to increase the competitiveness and attractiveness of the entire European Union, and this can only be achieved by eliminating the effects which restrict the free flow of transport between Member States.

In my opinion on the creation of a Single European Transport Area, I, above all, stress the need to switch to technologies based on lower emission non-fossil fuels, the need to reduce energy and fuel consumption by promoting environmentally friendly vehicles or fuel-efficient technologies, and support for research to accelerate the introduction of eco-innovations and new technologies in transport. A very important aspect is also the development of infrastructure, including road infrastructure, in new Member States, which should be taken into account in multiannual financial plans.


  Krišjānis Kariņš, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. (LV) Mr President, in the European Union as a whole, one third of energy consumption is attributable to the transport sector. Mostly, they are petroleum products, and Europe as a whole imports 80% of its petroleum products. It is therefore clear that we are not only dependent on imports, but that with respect to energy in the transport sector, we are excessively dependent on imports. Our purpose consequently should be to reduce our dependence on imported energy in the transport sector. How then can this be done? There are three main ways. First, we have to use existing fuels more efficiently. Second, we have to expand the use of biofuels; and third, we have to use hybrid and electric car technologies better. Ladies and gentlemen, I support this report because in general, it will contribute to the reduction of our dependence on energy imports in the transport sector. I urge everyone else to support it, too.

Thank you for your attention.


  Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, on behalf of the PPE Group.(DE) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, transport is, for many people, still a burden, a nuisance, that unfortunately consumes resources and produces noise and environmental damage, but at the same time, mobility is more essential today than it has ever been before. It is necessary for the functioning of our societies, both internally and in dealings between our societies. It is the basis of our prosperity and a symbol of individual freedom. It is a basic requirement that I would like to see developed further into a basic right for everyone, particularly for older people and people with disabilities.

I would therefore like to thank and praise the Commission for its visions in the White Paper, even though I do not agree with all the details in every case. The fundamental concern of making transport more efficient, cleaner and safer and not restricting it arbitrarily or shifting modes at any price is something that I support wholeheartedly.

I would like to express my particular appreciation to our rapporteur, Mr Grosch. He has succeeded in picking out the added value in transport policy and drawing up coherent, specific objectives without calling technological openness into question. The aim of having EU-wide standards for safety, passengers and goods, transport chains, information and communications systems, energy and the environment, but also for working and social conditions, is something that I very much welcome.

However, I very much regret the lack of courage to take a position with regard to road trains, which I rightly call eco-liners. Although the reference to subsidiarity sounds good, it is nevertheless merely a way of yielding to the critics of these vehicles. With regard to the use of eco-liners in particular, I would call for shared competence. That is a lot better. With the text in the report, we are missing an opportunity to develop minimum standards, specifications and framework conditions that the Member States could apply when conducting their approval procedures according to the principle of subsidiarity. Thus, I fear that a European patchwork of approval and application criteria will emerge that we will later have to eliminate with a great deal of expense and bureaucracy. We are also missing an opportunity for a new vehicle design. Such vehicles must be fitted with the most important environmental protection and safety-related vehicle assistance systems.


  Olga Sehnalová, on behalf of the S&D Group. (CS) Mr President, the European Commission’s vision for 2050 is an important document in terms of setting the future directions of European transport policy. We therefore see it not only as material for discussion, but particularly as a framework in which there will be specific objectives and steps over the short and medium term. In the report, we therefore call on the Commission specifically to set out these objectives up to 2020. It is also important to take the current situation as the point of departure. European transport policy must clearly build on previous documents, while also reflecting the initial state of the infrastructure in all Member States. In the resulting proposal, we therefore call on the Commission to submit an analysis of the current situation as soon as possible, and no later than 2013. The instruments of cohesion policy must therefore continue to support a more rapid convergence of infrastructure levels in the Member States, with an emphasis on sustainable and safe transport. The resulting compromise also deals with the very important area of transport workers’ conditions. The sector employs about 10 million people, and this must form an important component of our thinking on transport, whether in terms of job quality, work safety, training or education.

Transport cannot work without people. Their work conditions must therefore be in keeping with this demanding and responsible profession, and must have a direct impact on transport safety. Effective cooperation between the different forms of transport constitutes an important component both of future transport policy and of the EU’s long-term emissions reduction targets. I therefore consider it important for us to agree in the final compromise on a demand to support sustainable forms of transport, and to do so for all distances. At the same time, I agree with Commission’s view that we should approach long-distance transport systematically at a pan-European level.

I would like to end by thanking the rapporteur for his great effort in negotiating acceptable compromises. I hope we will approve the resulting proposal tomorrow by a large majority.


  Gesine Meissner, on behalf of the ALDE Group.(DE) Mr President, Commissioner, Mr Grosch, the work that has been done here is truly excellent. There were 413 amendments, and we genuinely all supported the majority of the 32 compromises. It shows that we all know that it is important to take as united an approach as possible with regard to the subject of transport. Of course, we have different ideas in the various groups about the details of individual matters, but by and large, we all said that transport is important. It really is the backbone of the internal market. It is a foundation of European policy that we say that we want free movement of people, goods and services. For this, we clearly need to make various improvements, which we will continue to do in subsequent reports.

We can truly say that it has just become clear – and it is also clear in this report – that we need all modes of transport. Naturally, we want transport to be more efficient, more environmentally friendly and safer. That is something that we all need to take into consideration. However, in order to be able to continue to take the internal market forward, we really need all modes of transport, even if one area might produce higher emissions than another. That has become very clear in this case.

There are essentially very few points on which we do not agree. One of them concerns road trains. This is currently very elegantly worded. I know that not all parties will agree, but in this regard, it is the case that we need a European modular system. In other words, we wanted an option to have a larger volume or perhaps also a bit more length and a bit more weight in the lorries. Not everyone thinks that is a good idea. However, in some areas of Europe, that has already been put into practice – and successfully. This system cannot be used everywhere.

On behalf of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, I would like to refer to an amendment that we tabled after the vote. I think it is more correct, and should also meet with much approval, to say that it is not a question of us asking the Commission to submit something relating to the railway package describing the relationship between the network and operators, but rather that it should actually be about the separation of the network and operators, which we also addressed in the recast of the railway package. That is a correction, so I would imagine that everyone would be able to go along with it. Thank you once again. I look forward to tomorrow’s vote.


  Michael Cramer, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. (DE) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I would particularly like to thank Mr Grosch, who organised an excellent collaboration. We have also achieved good results.

Without changing our mobility, we will not be able to combat climate change and then our children and their children will have no prospects when it comes to living here. Why is that? Since 1990, we have achieved a reduction in CO2 emissions of 34% in industry, 17% in the energy sector and 14% in households. Over the same period, emissions from transport have increased by 30%. Thus, we can say that all the savings made in other sectors using billions of euro of our tax revenues are being eaten up twice and three times over by the transport sector. That is why we need to change our transport system.

I am very pleased that we have succeeded in finding a compromise, that we want to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020, and that this is based on the figures from 1990 and not those from 2008 as the Commission wanted – as well as it only wanting to achieve the target by 2030. We have set higher targets. I call on the Commission to also accept this decision. We have no time to lose. We need to act quickly.

I approve of the fact that we have set out the internalisation of external costs for all modes of transport. After all, air transport is subsidised by European taxpayers to the tune of EUR 30 billion a year because it is exempt from kerosene tax and VAT, whereas rail transport has to pay everything. We have a mandatory rail toll for every locomotive. Road tolls are a voluntary matter for the Member States to decide on and only apply to motorways. Therefore, we need to change this.

We are pleased that the EuroVelo routes have been integrated into the trans-European network. As regards gigaliners, all I can say is: anyone who acquires these – 52% of goods transport is being shifted from the railways to the roads – and anyone who still calls these eco-liners really has not understood what is important in this world!


  Philip Bradbourn, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, I would like to start by thanking Mathieu Grosch for his tremendous work on this report. Unfortunately, however, this does not change the uncomfortable foundations for the report – that is to say, the Commission’s White Paper on which it is based. Now I want to be fair to the Commission document; it does make some positive suggestions about the need for a fully functioning multimodal network and the importance of modernising our air traffic management system via SESAR.

However, the report has a major flaw in my opinion. Yet again, the Commission believes more regulation and more EU intervention are the answer. Indeed, at a time when confidence is one of the most important factors for our businesses across the EU, the last message we should be sending is one of stifling growth. As such, the proposals in this report to harmonise work and social conditions and various other measures in that sector are beyond reason. What we should be doing is repealing punitive legislation, not adding to it. Moreover, the suggestions in the report for increased taxation on certain transport modes send a damaging message to industry. The report also calls for an increase in road charging. I must ask how the Commission believes this could possibly not be a contradiction of their stated aim not to curb mobility.

The same applies to the idea of banishing vehicles with traditional combustion engines from city centres. It is as unachievable as it is undesirable, especially in these times of economic difficulty. The report is interventionist to its core and holds no regard for the principle of subsidiarity. Here we have the opportunity to send out a positive message to business that we will boost the internal market and support growth. Instead, we have a document which is punitive to business, our economy and therefore our citizens.


  Georgios Toussas, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group.(EL) Mr President, the policy to liberalise and integrate the internal transport market in the European Union is a highly anti-grassroots policy. Public transport has been sold off to monopoly groups and we have seen mass redundancies, across-the-board application of flexible forms of work, drastic reductions in transport workers’ pay, increasing slavery of workers and a deterioration in safety rules, with a resultant increase in accidents. Ticket and freight prices have shot through the roof, there has been a drastic fall in the standard of transport services and remote continental and island areas have no transport links, with painful consequences on public health and the environment.

The abolition of cabotage and short-haul flights in Greece, alongside the insulting support for transport groups in the form of a State aid package, has resulted in the isolation of remote island areas and huge increases in ticket prices. Now that the Hellenic Railways Organisation has been sold off, entire areas now have no rail link and thousands of workers have been thrown on to the street. Galley conditions apply in air transport.

The conclusion drawn by the workers is that, as long as the criterion is the profitability of the monopolies, it will be impossible to satisfy modern grassroots requirements.


  Juozas Imbrasas, on behalf on the EFD Group. (LT) Mr President, I would like to begin by thanking Mathieu Grosch for this excellent report. The transport sector is not just important for the development of the European Union, its regions and towns; it is also important for European citizens because it provides jobs for many Europeans and serves the completion of the European internal market. Transport must make a significant contribution to the EU 2020 strategy, particularly with regard to employment, sustainable economic growth, research, energy, innovation and the environment.

I agree with the rapporteur’s opinion that some Member States underestimate the European added value of transport policy and obstruct it by implementing directives and the projects themselves incorrectly or late.

In these times of economic and financial crisis, investment in TEN-T projects is not being encouraged enough. We need to effectively link the transport networks of the new and old EU Member States and eliminate disparities between the levels of infrastructure development in the EU Member States. The creation of a competitive and resource efficient transport system is essential for Europe.


  Laurence J.A.J. Stassen (NI).(NL) Mr President, the message has apparently not reached Brussels yet that we are in the middle of a serious economic crisis. This report, a road map for a single European transport area, wants to spend more money on unprofitable European railway connections. It is not that I am against trains, Mr President, but throughout the report, the railways are given preferential treatment as compared to road or air travel.

The fact that the Brussels bureaucrats completely disregard the current economic reality is, unfortunately, no surprise when I read the report. It is full of references to the White Paper and the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. However, the main question is not asked: what is in this investment of billions for Europe’s citizens? The bias of the Brussels elite is going to cost the citizen billions, at a time when national railways are already kept going with enormous subsidies.

Despite these huge amounts of State aid, the railways’ share in terms of total transport demand has only fallen in recent years. Europeans are apparently opting to travel by car or by air. These losses must, of course, be paid for by somebody. Under the guise of climate targets, the efficient air and road transport sectors can simply be saddled with the railways’ losses.

Mr President, while the Brussels bureaucrats are striving to create a single transport area, railways are being favoured over road and air transport because of climate targets. Let us first put a stop to this preferential treatment of the railways. Only then will taxpayers’ money end up where it can most quickly contribute to prosperity in the countries of Europe.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))


  Michael Cramer (Verts/ALE), Blue-card question.(DE) Mr President, Ms Stassen, you said that railways are given preferential treatment. Do you know that railways have to pay for all their energy consumption, they have to pay for fuel for diesel locomotives and that air transport is exempt from this, amounting to EUR 30 billion every year? Do you know that on the railways, there is a mandatory rail toll for every locomotive for every kilometre of track that a train covers with no upper limit, whereas on the roads it is entirely up to the Member States whether any road toll is collected at all? This mostly applies only on motorways for lorries above 12 tonnes and it is also capped. Therefore, do you continue to maintain this? Who is subsidised here then? Why can pupils and students take intercity flights for the same price as a short taxi journey, but travelling by rail is two to three times more expensive, and the state pockets the VAT to boot? Could you say something about this and still maintain your assertion?


  Laurence J.A.J. Stassen (NI), Blue-card answer.(NL) Mr Cramer, I know that we think completely differently on this matter, but you cannot disregard the fact that railways are stuffed full with subsidies and that roads, road infrastructure and air transport have to foot the bill. You are always going on about equal treatment in Europe. Then let it also apply to the infrastructure sector.


  Hubert Pirker (PPE).(DE) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, with the White Paper on transport, the European Parliament discusses, among other things, regulation of the flow of traffic so that the economy in our European Union remains in motion or is set in motion and the environment is protected. As rapporteur, Mr Grosch has put forward excellent proposals, including for the optimal use of appropriate modes of transport and a mix of different modes of transport. In this regard, we see that not all modes of transport make sense and are suitable to be used in all regions and all countries. In this connection, I would refer to the so-called gigaliners. These are the heavy goods vehicles that are a third longer and twice as heavy as the heavy goods vehicles previously approved and used. For my country, Austria, the use of these huge lorries would be completely nonsensical from an economic point of view. For measures for converting the infrastructure that needs to be adapted, even if we only had to carry these out on transit routes, for example, on bridges or at emergency stopping places, motorway services or roundabouts, we would have to spend in the region of EUR 1 billion.

However, with the amendments that we have tabled in respect of paragraph 26, we have succeeded in ensuring that there will not be Europe-wide approval of these gigaliners. It will be the Member States who will be able to decide in future whether or not they will approve these lorries within their territory. What is good for Sweden’s timber transport and its timber and transport industry is a long way from being acceptable and sensible for crossing the Alps in Austria. I am therefore pleased that we have achieved this compromise and that the Member States are free to choose whether or not to approve this mode of transport on their roads.


  Saïd El Khadraoui (S&D).(NL) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, this report is important for this Parliament because it gives our work in the coming years direction. I would therefore like to thank the rapporteur for the way in which he has approached the matter. He has succeeded in proposing good compromises for the main issues. I will limit myself to three key points.

The first is the importance of the social dimension of transport. One cannot further open up and liberalise the transport market in the coming years without doing anything about the social aspect. The social bar must be set at the same level, and that is why it is vital to my group that the Commission should, by around 2013, issue a thorough analysis of the social conditions as well as the market and employment conditions for all means of transport. On that basis, proposals will have to be made with a view to creating a level playing field at a high level for all employees. This is important in order to guarantee the attractiveness of the sector.

Secondly, we must make the transport sector more efficient and more sustainable, otherwise we will get nowhere and that would cost our economy and the environment very dear. There are no magic potions to sort it out. This will require a mixture of measures relating to price incentives and a better energy mix, the right investments to find sustainable alternatives and the introduction of new technologies. Important paragraphs are devoted to this, for which I thank the rapporteur.

Finally, I wish to stress the importance of technical interoperability, particularly in the railways sector, but not just there. The rapporteur referred to air transport, an area in which a more integrated European airspace has been able to bring huge efficiency gains. However, this demands all the more work for the railways. It is infuriating that, for example, Thalys still needs seven safety and signalling systems in order to operate in three countries because approval and certification procedures are different and each time need to be repeated. In brief, ladies and gentlemen, we have a lot of work before us, and I think that this report forms a good basis for the coming years.


  Roberts Zīle (ECR). (LV) Mr President, first of all, I should like to start by thanking Mr Grosch for this report. Finding the right balance between these priorities and interests — as evidenced by more than 400 proposals — was difficult, as in fact was finding the balance between proper or balanced transport-sector development and requirements to promote competitiveness and to protect the environment and reasonable financial demands on both taxpayers and the transport industry. There is a range of positive elements in the report, which also draws attention to the differences in the development levels of infrastructure in the European Union, the establishment of the European single market for transport and the reduction of fossil fuels in transport. However, the European Conservatives and Reformists Group finds it difficult to support the overall tendency of the report to always seek solutions by resorting to European Union regulation, which, taking into account the differences I mentioned, is very difficult for some Member States.


  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL). (PT) Mr President, once again, while invoking just objectives, what is desired is to pursue aims that are very different. The report refers to environmental objectives, energy efficiency, decarbonisation and interoperability. This is all very well, but there should be clarity about what it is really driving at. Here, we have an insistence on the liberalisation of the transport sector, in other words, the privatisation of everything that could yield a profit, to the detriment of users who see prices rising and security declining; for workers as they lose their rights and are being made redundant; and for national economies, which are deprived of a basic tool for development.

Every country has its needs and priorities at this level, resulting from its own specific characteristics and relative level of development. The question that arises, therefore, is this: what interests will be served by this European transport policy? Will it be the interests of the European multinationals, with their desire to flood the markets with their products swiftly and at minimal cost? This is surely different from the interests of national small and medium-sized enterprises and from the interests of the population, looking on as the railroads close and the price of transport spirals, as is happening in Portugal with the backing of the IMF programme and the EU.


  Antonio Cancian (PPE). (IT) Mr President, we shall be voting tomorrow and we will support this strategic direction for the future of transport; however, we already have some pieces of legislation on the table. I congratulate the rapporteur, who, in just three months, has succeeded in compiling an important document mapping out directions for the near future.

I wish to recall the following key points: the creation of a true single market in all areas of transportation, as administrative and technical barriers discourage competition by preventing a lowering of the costs of transport services. I am obviously referring to the railway sector, the situation of which is unacceptable 25 years after the adoption of the Single European Act. The list of barriers hindering this sector is a luxury we cannot afford at a time when the market represents our way out of the difficult situation and the means of reviving our economy. In particular, I am thinking of the opening up of national passenger transport markets, the creation of a European regulator and implementation of Railway Traffic Management System (RTMS) technology throughout the entire Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T).

Infrastructure has been mentioned – cross-border systems in particular – and, of course, the linking of the last mile between transport hubs and axes. The funding of infrastructure is unthinkable because with the money assigned to the budget, we can only achieve what has been planned, that is, small infrastructure projects, having real project bonds issued and going beyond the current guarantee schemes, which are useful, however, during this time of crisis.

The Project Bond dossier that we have available is related to these guarantees, but we want to go beyond road safety as we have to consider all aspects of the problem: drivers, vehicles, infrastructure and their interaction.

Finally, the Single European Sky ATM Research programme (SESAR), the technological pillar of the Single European Sky, will have to be completed, but we must simultaneously work on a single governance structure.

The Commissioner has assured us that next year, there will be some ambitious proposals. We certainly look forward to that.


  Marita Ulvskog (S&D).(SV) Mr President, this report deals with the enormous needs within the transport sector. Why are we not doing something about them in a situation where we could combine long-term investments with getting the high rate of unemployment down? TEN-T should be expedited in order to integrate transport systems, improve goods transport and drastically reduce climate-affecting emissions. In this regard, we should also have the courage to consider the idea that we should not be satisfied with a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions in 20 years, but we should go a little further than that.

At the same time, more order is needed within this sector, as well as more fair competition in an area where social dumping will have serious consequences in the form of the ruthless exploitation of those working in this area, which, at the same time, can result in accidents and a reduced level of safety. Thus, we do not need more liberalism within this sector. Instead, we need a more far-sighted approach, more investments, more interconnection and a higher level of safety. We also need decent conditions – something that will not only benefit those who work in the sector, but also all of us who are out and about using the transport systems on our roads and railways.


  Oldřich Vlasák (ECR). (CS) Mr President, the elimination of barriers to the free movement of people, goods, services and capital is our long-term priority. For this reason, I support the European Commission’s effort to create a single European transport area. However, an important precondition for this is the comprehensive and effective interlinking of transport networks across the EU, and the creation of a coherent multimodal network. I consider it right in this regard that the White Paper makes mention several times of the differences between the eastern and western parts of the EU in transport infrastructure.

On the other hand, however, I feel that the White Paper and the Commission’s activities in general lack specific measures for eliminating these differences. The Commission’s activities in the transport area appear to me rather incoherent on this count. I was expecting the Commission to come up with a solution in the form of the proposed infrastructure fund for eliminating the differences in transport infrastructure between eastern and western areas. The fund disappointed me greatly, however, as most of the support is again concentrated on the old Member States, although it takes EUR 10 billion from the Cohesion Policy, which is intended primarily for the weaker regions. This is not only a major disappointment, but a fatal error in terms of European integration.


  Georges Bach (PPE).(DE) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, with regard to such an important and far-reaching subject as the White Paper on the future of transport, the risk is always great that we will end up with something that looks like a Christmas tree with everyone attempting to get two or three of their favourite subjects included.

If we look at the result, which we will vote on tomorrow, then we can, without a doubt, congratulate our rapporteur, Mr Grosch. From several hundred amendments, he succeeded in producing a sound, coherent and comprehensible result that places the main focus as regards transport of the future on safety, environmental protection, energy and technology. I expressly welcome the fact that such important issues as the social, health and labour law-related conditions of the employees have been suitably mentioned here. This is particularly important in view of the threat of a shortage of workers in the transport sector, which is something we must actively do something about if we want to prevent bottlenecks for well-trained workers in the future.

There is a further opening up of cabotage in road transport only on condition that social dumping and unfair conditions are prevented. I also welcome the fact that improving road safety is considered an important aspect here. The safety of our roads is a subject that we need to concern ourselves with more in the future, too.

There are other aspects that I view in a more critical light. Thus, I would have liked there to have been a statement regarding modal shift in order to shift more traffic from the roads to the railways and waterways. For this reason, I think the discussion regarding gigaliners is not the best solution for increased sustainability. Equally worthy of criticism is the further liberalisation of the railway sector, and we ought to wait and give the matter further consideration before opening up national passenger transport. We still have to carry out some technical harmonisation in this area and to establish fair competition conditions.

However, as I said, I hope that this report, which expresses the expectations of Parliament, will not remain a pious wish-list, but that we will achieve our goal by 2020 and our proposals will have been put into practice.


  Gilles Pargneaux (S&D).(FR) Mr President, Commissioner, I should firstly like to thank the rapporteur, Mr Grosch, for the consensus-based approach he took in drafting this resolution. I would also like to pay tribute to Ms Sehnalová, who did not wish to see the liberalisation of port services included in this text.

Commissioner, may I remind you during the minute I have left – for I was not entirely satisfied with your opening comments in this debate, and I shall explain why in a moment – just how many changes have been recorded since the White Paper on transport was adopted in 2001. Despite all the efforts made, however, it has to be said that transport is still not sustainable 10 years later.

I therefore believe that your proposal of 28 March 2011 does not go far enough in making concrete proposals. During the debate, in view of the road map we shall be adopting tomorrow, I would like you to go further with specific proposals on, for example, reducing CO2 emissions by 20% for road transport and on extending the ‘polluter pays’ principle to all forms of transport.

Recently, you said that Member States should, by 2050, be able to draw on EUR 1 500 billion. How are you planning to propose very short-term legislative measures, between now and 2020, in order to be able to respond to our road map? And how are you going to manage to make that funding available to Member States?


  Jacqueline Foster (ECR). – Mr President, a thriving and sustainable transport sector is hugely important to the UK and Europe as a whole, but having the right transport policy is essential to ensure competitiveness, future economic growth and much needed jobs across the EU.

This means that we do need a long-term vision for transport policy. Ensuring that future growth in the sector is sustainable is a major challenge, and we should discuss ways to encourage and assist industry in reaching those objectives.

However, I am concerned that the report now lacks a balanced approach. It seems to only offer one solution to improve the sustainability of the transport sector, and that is legislation, legislation or more legislation. It is now too prescriptive and too burdensome, and most of this will lead to extra spending at both national and EU level. Where is the money coming from? Why not look for alternatives to regulatory options, such as the sharing of best practice?

We must also take into consideration the efforts made by many sectors to reduce their carbon footprint. For example, in the aviation sector, huge efforts have been made to improve technology through manufacturing and operational changes, but this is never recognised – certainly by some Members of this House – and the Single European Sky, which we hugely support in ECR will, of course, be a great asset in the future in dealing with congestion and other issues. We just need to get the Member States cracking on that, and I am sure the Commissioner will agree.

In conclusion, if we are to call ourselves sensible legislators, then we must come forward with a rigorous prioritisation of these transport initiatives that will reduce the burden on our already overstretched EU budget, encourage industry and, most importantly, help keep our constituents moving.


  Ádám Kósa (PPE).(HU) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, Mr Grosch has done an excellent job, and I hope that this will provide sufficient impetus to continue the development of the transport sector on the right track. I have stressed on several occasions in the past that in my opinion, we need to create an inclusive, sustainable, modern, environmentally sound and efficient transport system as soon as possible. One of the key aspects of this is a single charter of passengers’ rights that summarises the rules governing the various sectors of transport. I would specifically like to thank the rapporteur for expressly mentioning people with disabilities under this chapter.

However, they are not the only ones I would like to talk about now. As we know, Europe is a seriously ageing society. We, legislators, will be faced with the fact that we need to meet the relevant needs in the legislative process as well. In the coming period, the need for elderly and disabled citizens to also be able to use means of transport freely and under the same set of conditions will be increasingly visible. I believe that this report represents a clear message and I, too, would like to stress that we do need the European Commission to submit a proposal on this in early 2012.


  Ismail Ertug (S&D).(DE) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, the White Paper on transport was proposed by the Commission in order to set European transport policy goals for the next 20 or 40 years. I know that 40 years is perhaps a very extensive period. However, we must nevertheless bear in mind that transport projects require lengthy planning phases. I therefore support the long-term approach taken by the Commission.

Let us take a look at the ambitious goals of the Commission, which I support: increased safety through the use of intelligent transport technologies, improved traffic routing using multimodal solutions, the internalisation of external costs and, above all, transport must become even more environmentally friendly. There are some good approaches and, in this regard, I would refer to the legislative proposals for environmentally friendly urban transport up to 2015.

While we are on the subject of environmental protection, I would once again like to point out that it is extremely important to reduce greenhouse gas emissions still further. As regards the development of inland waterways, I would also like to take this opportunity to mention once again the planned development of the Danube. In this regard, we must ensure that this does not ultimately damage the natural environment. I would like to quote Mr Cramer here, who quite rightly always says that ships must be adapted to the river and not the other way around.

I am pleased to see that good amendments were tabled in this regard. I would like to thank the rapporteur once again for being so ready to compromise.

Finally, I would like to mention one more thing: I would have liked us to have implemented the 300 km approach in connection with the shifting of goods transport from the roads onto the railways. However, I would essentially like to say thank you very much and I hope this will be successful.




  Nuno Teixeira (PPE). (PT) Mr President, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the rapporteur on the excellent work that he has done and, in particular, to welcome the introduction of an annual review that will enable progress to be monitored and goals to be adapted, where necessary, to the realities of Member States. This is the only way in which we can avoid falling short of the objectives that have been set, as happened with the White Paper in 2001.

I would also like to emphasise the need to coordinate the financing of the Trans-European Transport Network with regional policy funds, particularly the cohesion policy fund, and to clarify which projects are eligible for the EUR 10 million from the Cohesion Fund that has been allocated to transport under the ‘Connecting Europe Facility’.

I would also emphasise the importance of the amendments that affect the outermost regions. For the first time, unlike what happened with the 2001 White Paper for Transport, there is no reference in this report to the outermost regions. If there are areas where the physical geography determines the internal market and the movement of people, it is these regions.


  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D).(RO) Mr President, we welcome the road map for a single European transport area, and I congratulate the rapporteur. I call on the Commission to ensure that its proposals on opening up the market do not result in social dumping or in the creation of private monopolies, the deterioration in social and working conditions, and in the decline in the quality of European transport services.

Therefore, we urge the Commission to take into account the transport infrastructure development needs in the new Member States for future multiannual financial frameworks so that the transport infrastructure in the new Member States can catch up in terms of development with the transport infrastructure in the other Member States by 2030.

I should point out the transport potential offered by the Danube and Black Sea regions, which has still not been sufficiently exploited. I call on the Commission and Member States bordering the Danube to tap this potential by developing multimodal terminals and modernising the Danube river ports, as well as by developing …


  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE).(ES) Mr President, the problem with the 2001 White Paper was that there was a lack of political will on the part of the states to see it through. That is why we still do not have a single transport area.

The challenges we face range from the harmonisation and simplification of European rules, including those on safety, working conditions and driving times, to the externalisation of costs and adaptations for disabled persons, from the liberalisation of markets, the development of motorways of the sea and the development of multimodality to the completion of the Single European Sky and greater efforts in prioritising and funding projects. The aim of all of this is to create a more sustainable single European transport area that has fewer road deaths, is more effective, is more innovative and acts as a cohesive force in the internal market.

The initiative has concrete objectives. My wish is for there to be more will on the part of the Member States; otherwise, in 10 years, we will be forced to adopt urgent measures because we will be facing a transport crisis in Europe.

Finally, I would like to congratulate Mr Grosch on his fine work.


  Isabelle Durant (Verts/ALE). (FR) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, the Durban climate change conference has just ended. Disaster was averted thanks to the European Union, its strength, intelligence, boldness and leadership.

Commissioner, this White Paper is an extraordinary opportunity to try to achieve similar things in the area of transport, because I truly believe that energy efficiency – the means of creating innovation and developing other forms of transport – has paid off in the energy sector. As we have seen, jobs and new economic sectors have been created in the energy industry.

In the framework of the White Paper, I invite you, Commissioner, to be as bold as you possibly can and, if I might put it like this, to be the Connie Hedegaard of transport. This White Paper gives you the chance to really do more and do much better in the area of transport, to develop innovation and more innovative sectors, and also to establish new practices and change people’s habits. I think this will lead to enhanced quality of life, health, economy and development.

So, Commissioner …

(The President cut off the speaker)


  Jaroslav Paška (EFD). (SK) Mr President, the effort to create a single European transport area is an important ambition, but it is running into the differences between laws in the area of transport.

The development of international rail transport in particular is considerably limited by national measures. A basic precondition for the creation of a universal European transport area is therefore a sensible level of harmonisation of rules for the individual forms of transport, allowing problem-free transport operations throughout the Union, without unwarranted local restrictions. However, the common European rules should harmonise not just regulations on the implementation of individual forms of transport, but also the technical parameters of transport vehicles. More than a quarter of emissions are produced in the transport sector. Administrative pressure for a reduction in emissions from all forms of transport should therefore be a constant and serious component of European transport policy.


  Andreas Mölzer (NI).(DE) Mr President, if we consider the fact that the current White Paper essentially specifies the same goals as were specified around 10 years ago, it quickly becomes clear that the Single European Transport Area is more likely in the longer term to join the ranks of the unsuccessful Brussels projects. The progress that has been achieved in separate areas, such as the single European railway market, a trans-European core network, the Single European Sky or the increased use of alternative drive technology has been meagre at best. The White Paper certainly contains very impressive climate targets for the transport sector, for example, the CO2-free area of city logistics, and I ask myself whether we are not deluding ourselves slightly.

However, more sustainable transport could lead to a more sustainable economy, but only if the focus is not only on climate targets but we also succeed in meeting the mobility requirements of citizens and stimulating economic growth accordingly.


  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE). (SK) Mr President, the impact of European transport policy on the everyday quality of life of EU citizens and the development of its regions is beyond dispute. The transport sector creates almost 5% of GDP, and provides about 10 million jobs. The transport sector makes a major contribution to the success of industrial policy, boosting competitiveness and the trade balance. A high-quality transport infrastructure is also closely linked to Europe’s position as an industrial and economic centre on a global scale. It is clear from all this that the EU needs a fully functioning single European transport area, with interconnections and interoperability. Barriers at the borders between Member States should be gradually eliminated in all forms of transport in order to eliminate the persistent differences and inequalities between European regions. In this context, it is not desirable for different forms of transport to compete against each other. On the contrary, the different forms of transport should complement each other and …

(The President cut off the speaker)


  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D). (LT) Mr President, I welcome many of the competitiveness goals and ideas for the creation of initiatives aimed at eliminating barriers in the area of transport. I believe that one of the most important objectives is to effectively link the transport networks of all EU regions and eliminate disparities between the levels of infrastructure development, and it is therefore essential to ensure the successful development of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), the effectiveness of the European Union’s actions in the area of the TEN-T and better use of the EU’s financial contributions. It is also very important to ensure the safety of all types of transport.

Ensuring seamless transport links between the EU Member States and Europe’s external borders is another sensitive problem. We must seek to eliminate barriers to the flow of freight transport at border crossing points between European Union Member States, particularly those on the European Union’s eastern border, and neighbouring countries. We must take more decisive action to implement the goals set more effectively, because the main …


  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE).(RO) Mr President, transport is not confined to one country. This is why strong international cooperation is required to make the actions carried out in this sector effective.

Unfortunately, one of the main stumbling blocks to creating a single European transport area is the large disparities in terms of the level of transport infrastructure development between the European Union’s eastern and western regions.

This is why I think that the regions lagging behind must continue to be eligible for substantial EU funding for developing their transport infrastructure. Improving accessibility and infrastructure facilities will significantly help boost the competitiveness of these regions and, indirectly, the whole European Union’s external competitiveness.


  Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the Commission. – Mr President, it is understandable and very clear from all the remarks how large the transport area is and how many details must be improved. We have heard many contradictory statements – some say that this regulation for a single European transport area is needed while others say there is too much regulation. What should we do? Do we really need a single European transport area and, if a project does not move as fast as expected, should we abandon that project? No, on the contrary, we should hold fast to our ambitions and should push ahead with our ideas.

Two minutes is not enough time to allow me to elaborate, but I must say that we have enjoyed the cooperation of the Committee on Transport and Tourism in the European Parliament. We have had numerous discussions and will continue to have discussions concerning concrete legislative proposals. You just had a discussion about railway recast – the recast of the first railway package – and it is clear to all how fragmented this area of transport is and how contradictory and different our views and interests are.

Many of you raised the issues that this White Paper on this transport concept will lead to an increase in the level of legislation. I, however, do not see how. In industry, it is the producers of railway equipment that mostly complain about different certification procedures in Member States. These procedures take enormous amounts of money and time. Therefore, the proposal is to harmonise this and create a European certification system for new railway equipment. Is that more regulation or less regulation? Is Blue Belt, for instance, to reduce formalities for ships? Is that more regulation or less regulation? I can definitely assure you that the Commission is trying to create a legislative framework to develop a transport system which will contain as little bureaucracy as possible.

We must address the issue of congestion and we must address the issue of CO2 emissions and also fuel dependency. If we do not have Europe-wide answers to these questions, then we will probably be the cause of a lot of disappointment for business, for citizens and Member States everywhere. Let us work with these concrete proposals next week. One big one is already in process. This is a trans-European network proposal and the connecting Europe facility proposal, which is a tremendously different proposal compared with the many previous proposals, and railway proposals are following. Again, there is the possibility to discuss how to overcome the national and political fragmentation of this particular transport mode.


  Mathieu Grosch, rapporteur.(DE) Mr President, Commissioner, I would like to thank all my fellow Members for their contributions, and I would like to come back once again to Mr Kósa and say that transport is very much there to support people. If we design it to be appropriate for disabled people, then it will clearly also be appropriate for the elderly and even families. Thus, this was an important priority that we set ourselves for the future.

We are not drawing up directives for the sake of drawing up directives. We draw up directives when we are convinced that one European regulation is much simpler than 27 separate ones. Therefore, I sometimes think it is very inconsistent for certain Members to go back home and say that Europe makes their lives so difficult. They just want to live by their own rules, but then want the whole of Europe to accept the rules of their country. That is unacceptable. I therefore think that here in this Parliament, we deal with the rules in a very reasonable way.

Certain Members and also certain countries are unreasonable in the way they deal with our proposals. At certain times, we cannot reach any consensus. We have just heard an example: for one person, the eco-liner is the product that can improve capacity in the future and for another person, it is a monster truck because it is damaging to the environment. I believe that Northern Europe can tolerate the eco-liner very well, but we should not see it on the mountain roads of Austria. Therefore, these are examples of areas where we perhaps should not draw up a directive.

Commissioner, we will start the practical work tomorrow. We also want to measure what we have said here – over the next few years, year by year, both in the environmental areas and with regard to modal distribution. It is therefore important for us to also have the instruments that will show us, by country and by region, how transport is organised there. That is something that we would like to make a start on together with the Commission, as we believe that all requests made in the future, including, for example, with regard to the trans-European networks, could be prioritised according to these modal distributions. This would also be an instrument that we could set up very quickly together, and it would mean that we were not merely talking in theoretical terms here, but what we have said would, in future, also be measured in practice. Thank you very much in any case for your contributions.


  President. – The debate is closed.

The vote will take place on Thursday at 11.30.

Written statements (Rule 149)


  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing.(RO) The mobility of Europe’s citizens inside and outside the European Union, both for professional and private purposes, is not possible without having an adequate transport network, whether it involves air, river, maritime or road transport. In addition, the transport sector provides jobs for roughly 10 million Europeans, and the prospect of this sector’s continued growth will enable new jobs to be created in every Member State. To ensure that this objective is achieved, the EU and its Member States must cooperate as closely as possible in implementing the relevant EU directives and, in particular, in developing and implementing new investment which can make a significant contribution to the much sought-after economic recovery. Furthermore, a suitable professional training policy is required for everyone working in this sector so that such an important sector as this is not affected by a shortage of qualified staff. I also think that it would be useful for the European Union to examine regularly what stage the implementation of the proposed objectives is at, precisely to be able to find solutions promptly to any problems which arise during implementation of the EU directives.


  Spyros Danellis (S&D), in writing.(EL) The White Paper is an ambitious plan which, by setting out strategic guidelines for each transport sector and priorities for achieving them, manages to integrate a heterogeneous sector into an ambitious and viable vision for 2050. We have adopted this vision in the Grosch report, which has been enriched with certain additional practical guidelines. Thus, the priority is to complete the progress made with the Eurovignette in internalising the external costs of transport. It is more important than ever that we carefully examine working conditions in the sector, so that we can ensure that the liberalisation of transport sectors will not result in poorer working conditions. At the same time, without deviating from the principle of subsidiarity, the Commission’s high designs for the viability of transport may be supported by new European initiatives for urban mobility. Finally, the intermediate objectives of reducing carbon emissions by 2020 are the result of good intentions, not a comprehensive study. Without a detailed assessment of the potential repercussions, it is difficult to discount the possibility that the target of a 30% reduction in pollutants in shipping will not have the desired results and that the short period of time in question will not undermine the viability of the target and, by extension, the weighting of Parliament’s targets.


  Bogdan Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz (PPE), in writing.(PL) The last Transport White Paper published by the Commission in 2001 set out the framework and scope of activities in the sector for the next 10 years. The EU’s transport strategy is, to a large extent, based on the factors jointly developed therein. It is vital that the recently drafted White Paper fully meets the needs of the sector whilst identifying emerging trends and needs. It should be stressed that transport is very important for EU citizens since it defines their idea of mobility. EU citizens derive direct benefits from it because it allows them to move about according to the needs arising from their private and professional life. We should remember that this is also one of Europe’s freedoms, namely, freedom of movement.

The rapporteur rightly supports the long-term goals but nevertheless points out that one cannot predict what new technologies will be developed or what economic situation we will have to face in future, bearing in mind the current crisis. Another interesting question relates to the challenges which European transport policy will have to face between now and 2050. I consider it legitimate to determine common strategies for all policy areas that could be realised by 2020. They should nevertheless be subject to annual audits.


  Vilja Savisaar-Toomast (ALDE), in writing. (ET) The European transport sector has reached a crossroads. Old problems are still unresolved, and new problems have already arisen. The internal market for transport is not yet completely developed, and solutions must be found to the questions of how to better fulfil residents’ travel desires and satisfy the economy’s freight transport needs, while resource and environmental requirements are becoming more stringent. The transport systems of Eastern and Western Europe must be integrated in such a manner that they reflect the transport needs of our entire continent and its 500 million inhabitants. Although transport has become more energy-efficient, in the EU, 96% of its energy needs still depend on petroleum and petroleum products. Transport has indeed become more environmentally sustainable, but due to increased volumes it is still the main source of noise and local air pollution. Environmental restrictions are often portrayed in the transport sector as a constraining issue that create expenses, but one must look farther into the future – these restrictions serve as an engine of innovation and improvement, and are also accompanied by a better living environment for our citizens. And, of course, efficient transport is also a precondition for fuller and more competitive participation in the global economy, upon which Europe’s future prosperity depends. At the same time, Member States underestimate the added value of transport policy for Europe, and often inhibit it by implementing directives imprecisely or belatedly. The EU’s expenses in connection with the development of transport infrastructure are considerably high, and EUR 215 billion will be needed for the elimination of the main shortcomings of the TEN-T network alone. I sincerely hope that this report will help us move in the desired direction and guarantee the functioning of the transport system that is so essential to us.


  Debora Serracchiani (S&D), in writing. (IT) The White Paper on Transport aims to improve the quality of transport in Europe. Mobility plays a key role in the internal market as it is a prerequisite for development and economic growth. While, on the one hand, the challenge is to develop sustainable transport, on the other, we must aim to build an efficient intermodal transportation network.

Much remains to be done to ensure that the transport system is truly competitive in all areas and there are many issues and difficulties, especially in the road transport sector, which, in some countries, is one of the cornerstones of production and the economy. In this regard, I would like to see the creation of an authority responsible for road transport, which would be able to promote the harmonisation of Member States in this regard: for example, with respect to environmental sustainability, safety, training and professional certification, and which would supervise the process of liberalisation and resolve the challenges of the sector, in a manner similar to what is to be done in the railway sector.

Last updated: 19 March 2012Legal notice