REPORT on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the second “Marco Polo” programme for the granting of Community financial assistance to improve the environmental performance of the freight transport system ("Marco Polo II")

15.12.2005 - (COM(2004)0478 – C6‑0088/2004 – 2004/0157(COD)) - ***I

Committee on Transport and Tourism
Rapporteur: Reinhard Rack


Procedure : 2004/0157(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
A6-0408/2005
Texts tabled :
A6-0408/2005
Texts adopted :

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the second “Marco Polo” programme for the granting of Community financial assistance to improve the environmental performance of the freight transport system ("Marco Polo II")

(COM(2004)0478 – C6‑0088/2004 – 2004/0157(COD))

(Codecision procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2004)0478),

–   having regard to Article 251(2) and Article 71(1) of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C6‑0088/2004),

–   having regard to Rule 51 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A6‑0408/2005),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend the proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

3.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and Commission.

Text proposed by the CommissionAmendments by Parliament

Amendment 1

Recital 1

(1) The Commission White Paper on the Common Transport Policy of September 2001 stresses the development of intermodality as a practical and effective means to achieve a balanced transport system, and proposes the development of Motorways of the Sea, high-quality integrated intermodal maritime options, as an important element in this strategy at its meeting in Gothenburg on 15 and 16 June 2001 the European Council declared that shifting the balance between the modes of transport is at the heart of the sustainable development strategy. Furthermore, at its meeting on 15 and 16 March 2002 the European Council stressed the necessity to reduce the congestion in the traffic bottlenecks in several regions, mentioning in particular the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Baltic Sea – an indication that the maritime lines of sea motorways are an integral and important part of the Trans European Network for Transport. A market-driven funding programme for intermodality is a central instrument to further develop intermodality and should specifically support the set-up of Motorways of the Sea.

(1) The Commission White Paper on the Common Transport Policy of September 2001 stresses the development of intermodality as a practical and effective means to achieve a balanced transport system, and proposes not only the development of Motorways of the Sea, high-quality integrated intermodal maritime options, but also the more intensive use of rail and inland waterway transport as key elements in this strategy at its meeting in Gothenburg on 15 and 16 June 2001 the European Council declared that shifting the balance between the modes of transport is at the heart of the sustainable development strategy. Furthermore, at its meeting on 15 and 16 March 2002 the European Council stressed the necessity to reduce the congestion in the traffic bottlenecks in several regions, mentioning in particular the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Baltic Sea – an indication that the maritime lines of sea motorways are an integral and important part of the Trans European Network for Transport. A market-driven funding programme for intermodality is a central instrument to further develop intermodality and should specifically support the set-up of Motorways of the Sea and of rail and inland waterway transport, ensuring, inter alia, an improvement in economic, social and territorial cohesion.

Justification

The Commission’s White Paper also stresses the role of rail and of inland waterways. It therefore seems sensible that the Marco Polo programme should treat all alternative modes of transport on an equal footing.

Economic, social and territorial cohesion should be included as a criterion in evaluating the proposals for funding.

Amendment 2

Recital 2

(2) If no decisive action is taken, total road freight transport in Europe is set to grow by more then 60% by 2013. The effect would be an estimated growth of international road freight for the period 2007-2013 of 20.5 billion tonne-kilometers per year for the 25 Member States of the European Union, with negative consequences in terms of accidents, congestion, reliability of the supply chain and logistics processes and environmental damage.

(2) If no decisive action is taken, total road freight transport in Europe is set to grow by more then 60% by 2013. The effect would be an estimated growth of international road freight for the period 2007-2013 of 20.5 billion tonne-kilometers per year for the 25 Member States of the European Union, with negative consequences in terms of additional road infrastructure costs, accidents, congestion, local and global pollution, reliability of the supply chain and logistics processes and environmental damage.

Justification

Accidents and congestion are only two negative consequences of the growth of road transport among others. Avoiding additional road infrastructure costs and local and global pollution are two other important points, which should be integrated into the measures of this regulation.

Amendment 3

Recital 3

(3) In order to cope with this growth in road freight transport, short sea shipping, rail and inland waterway must be used even more than today, and it is necessary to stimulate further powerful initiatives from the transport and logistics sector to decrease road congestion.

 

(3) In order to cope with this growth in road freight transport, short sea shipping, rail and inland waterway must be used even more than today, and it is necessary to stimulate further powerful initiatives from the transport and logistics sector, for instance the development of technical innovations in rolling stock, to decrease road congestion.

 

Justification

Technical innovations for rolling stock make it possible to shift more goods from road to rail. For example, an optimally designed railway coach (with better trans-shipment facilities, higher roof profile, greater maximum laden weight, and thus greater capacity) can transport more goods. Such innovations should be promoted by the programme with a view to achieving the objectives of Marco Polo II.

Amendment 4

Recital 4

(4) The programme established by Regulation (EC) No 1382/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 July 2003 on the granting of Community financial assistance to improve the environmental performance of the freight transport system (Marco Polo Programme) should therefore be enhanced by new actions, targeting an actual reduction of international road transport. The Commission therefore proposes a stronger programme, hereinafter referred to as the "Marco Polo II Programme", or "the Programme", to enhance intermodality, reduce road congestion and to improve the environmental performance of the freight transport system within the Community. To achieve this objective, the Programme should support actions in the freight transport, logistics and other relevant markets. It should help to shift at least the expected aggregate increase in international road freight traffic, but preferably more, to short sea shipping, rail and inland waterways or to a combination of modes of transport, in which road journeys are as short as possible. The current Marco Polo programme under Council and Parliament Regulation (EC) No 1382/2003 should then be replaced.

 

(4) The programme established by Regulation (EC) No 1382/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 July 2003 on the granting of Community financial assistance to improve the environmental performance of the freight transport system (Marco Polo Programme) should therefore be enhanced by new actions, targeting an actual reduction of international road transport. The Commission therefore proposes a stronger programme, hereinafter referred to as the "Marco Polo II Programme", or "the Programme", to enhance intermodality, reduce road congestion and to improve the environmental performance of the freight transport system within the Community. To achieve this objective, the Programme should support actions in the freight transport, logistics and other relevant markets, with a particular focus on SMEs. It should help to shift at least the expected aggregate increase in international road freight traffic, but preferably more, to short sea shipping, rail and inland waterways or to a combination of modes of transport, in which road journeys are as short as possible. The current Marco Polo programme under Council and Parliament Regulation (EC) N° 1382/2003 should then be replaced.

 

 

Justification

SMEs account for approximately one half of enterprises in the EU and employ a major proportion of the Union's workforce.

Amendment 5

Recital 7

(7) Applicants should be able to submit new or, where appropriate, existing projects which best match current market needs. Suitable projects should not be discouraged by any over‑rigid definition of allowable actions.

(7) Applicants should be able to submit new or, where appropriate, existing projects which best match current market needs. Suitable projects, in particular those presented by small and medium enterprises, should not be discouraged by any over‑rigid definition of allowable actions.

Amendment 6

Recital 9

(9) To be transparent, objective and clearly delimited, aid for the launch of modal shift actions should be based on cost savings for society brought about by use of short sea shipping, rail and inland waterways, instead of road transport alone. For this reason, the Regulation provides for an indicative amount of financial assistance of EUR 1 for each shift of 500 tonne‑kilometres of road freight.

(9) To be transparent, objective and clearly delimited, aid for the launch of modal shift actions should be based on cost savings for society brought about by use of short sea shipping, rail and inland waterways, instead of road transport alone. For this reason, the Regulation provides for an indicative amount of financial assistance of EUR 1 for each shift of 500 freight tonne‑kilometres of road freight.

Justification

Cubic metre-kilometres (tkm) should be interpreted as 'freight tonne-kilometres' on account of the high proportion of volume goods. This would mean calculations being based on tonne-kilometres or cubic metre-kilometres depending on which unit produces the greatest modal shift.

Amendment 7

Recital 10

(10) The results of all actions of the Programme should be adequately disseminated, in order to ensure publicity and transparency.

(10) The results of all actions of the Programme should be adequately disseminated, in order to ensure publicity, transparency and the exchange of best practices.

Justification

Exchange of best practices between the different agents will lead to reinforced synergy between them.

Amendment 8

Recital 14 a (new)

 

(14a) Where projects are of equal value, priority should be given to the project located in the more sensitive or metropolitan area.

Justification

Giving priority to projects in sensitive or metropolitan areas reflects the EU’s transport policy guidelines.

Amendment 9

Recital 14 b (new)

 

(14b) Special attention should also be paid to the sensitive areas within the geographical field of application. This should be taken into account when allocating funding.

Justification

Many areas of the European transport network are already subsidised or need no subsidy. By placing the emphasis on problematical traffic intersections in the European road haulage sector it is possible to ease road congestion.

Amendment 10

Article 2, point (a)

(a) "action" means any project executed by undertakings, which contributes to reducing congestion in the road freight transport system and/or to improving the environmental performance of the transport system in the territories of the Member States or participating countries;

(a) "action" means any project executed by undertakings, which contributes to reducing congestion in the road freight transport system and/or to improving the environmental performance of the transport system in the territories of the Member States or participating countries; in the inland waterways sector, actions may comprise several coordinated projects;

Justification

Projects in the inland waterways sector are often not on a large enough scale to reach the minimum support threshold. The integration of several coordinated projects may yield the same modal shift effect.

Amendment 11

Article 2, point (d)

(d) "catalyst action" means any innovative action aimed at overcoming Community-relevant structural barriers in the market for freight transport which impede the efficient functioning of the markets, the competitiveness of short sea shipping, rail, or inland waterways, and/or the efficiency of transport chains making use of these modes, including the modification or creation of the necessary infrastructure; for the purpose of this definition, "structural market barrier" shall mean any non-regulatory, factual and non-temporary impediment to the proper functioning of the freight transport chain;

(d) ‘catalyst action’ means any innovative action aimed at overcoming structural barriers of importance to the Community in the market for freight transport which impede the efficient functioning of the markets, the competitiveness of short sea shipping, rail, or inland waterways, and/or the efficiency of transport chains making use of these modes, including the modification or creation of the necessary infrastructure; for the purpose of this definition, ‘structural market barrier’ shall mean any non-regulatory, factual and non-temporary impediment to the proper functioning of the freight transport chain;

Justification

Linguistic amendment.

Amendment 12

Article 2, point (g a) (new)

 

(ga ) "innovative action" means any action that features elements which have hitherto not existed in a given market;

Amendment 13

Article 2, point (i)

(i) "motorways of the sea action" means any innovative action directly shifting freight from road to short sea shipping or a combination of waterborne with other modes of transport in which road journeys are as short as possible, including the modification or creation of the ancillary infrastructure, to timely implement a very large volume, high frequency intermodal waterborne transport service, and including non-road hinterland freight transport for integrated door-to-door services;

(i) "motorways of the sea action" means any innovative action directly shifting freight from road to short sea shipping or a combination of waterborne with other modes of transport in which road journeys are as short as possible, including the modification or creation of the ancillary infrastructure, to timely implement a very large volume, high frequency intermodal waterborne transport service, and including, where appropriate, the use of the most environmentally friendly transport modes,such as inland waterway transport and rail for hinterland freight transport and integrated door-to-door services; if possible, the resources of the outermost regions should also be integrated;

Amendement 14

Article 2, point (j)

(j) “traffic avoidance action” means any innovative action integrating transport into production logistics to timely avoid a large percentage of freight transport by road while maintaining overall production output and production workforce on EU territory, including the modification/creation of the ancillary infrastructure and equipment;

(j) “traffic avoidance action” means any innovative action integrating transport into production logistics to avoid a large percentage of freight transport by road ; this should not adversely affect production output and production workforce within the Member States;

Justification

There is a risk that the Commission's proposal will encourage the relocation of production and jobs from the Union's peripheral regions. That is unacceptable and the article should therefore be amended.

Amendment 15

Article 2, point (l)

(l) "tonne‑kilometre" means the transport of a tonne of freight, or its volumetric equivalent, over a distance of one kilometre;

(l) "freight tonne kilometre" means the transport of a tonne of freight or alternatively the transport of a cubic metre of freight over a distance of one kilometre;

 

(This amendment will necessitate corresponding changes throughout the text)

Justification

'Freight tonne-kilometres' should be fixed as the evaluation criterion on account of the high proportion of volume goods. This would mean calculations being based on tonne-kilometres or cubic metre-kilometres depending on which unit produces the greatest modal shift. For goods which tend to be bulky and limited in weight, the best measure is normally “volume” and not “weight”.

More than two thirds of the goods transported by trucks are so-called “light goods”, which easily fill up the physical space capacity of lorries for a relatively low mass. Because of this characteristic, they account for the majority of vehicle-kilometres on roads. Concretely, when one truck can transport 10 tonnes of “steel”, 50 similar trucks are needed to transport 10 tonnes of “feathers”. With this simple illustration, it is easy to understand how strategically important it is to transfer as much as possible light goods from road to other modes, as this would have a drastic impact on the number of vehicles circulating on the roads.

Amendment 16

Article 2, point (m)

(m) "undertaking" means any entity engaged in an economic activity, regardless of the legal status of the entity and the way in which it is financed;

(m) "undertaking" means any entity engaged in an economic activity, regardless of the legal status of the entity and the way in which it is financed, including any regional or sectoral development office or agency, promotion office or other entity promoting intermodal transport that is engaged in an economic activity;

Amendment 17

Article 3, paragraph 1, point (a a) (new)

 

(aa) involving the territory of one Member State but concerning, for at least 50 percent, border-crossing-traffic from Member States or third countries involved in the Marco Polo II Programme;

Amendment 18

Article 4, paragraph 1

1. Projects shall be submitted by a consortium of two or more undertakings, established in at least two different Member States or in at least one Member State and one close third country.

1. Projects shall be submitted by a consortium of two or more undertakings established in at least two different Member States or in at least one Member State and one close third country, or shall be submitted by a regional authority of a Member State or an intermediary organisation.

Justification

For SME´s it is much easier and less burdensome to submit projects by virtue of regional authority or intermediate organisations. By providing this type of applications companies have better access to the MP II-programme.

Amendment 19

Article 4, paragraph 1 a (new)

 

1a. When selecting actions, the Commission should take due account of the interests of the outermost regions, and the permanent effects of the actions.

Amendment 20

Article 5, paragraph 1, point (a)

(a) catalyst actions, in particular those aiming at improving synergies in the rail sector by better use of existing infrastructures deserve specific attention.

(a) catalyst actions, in particular those aiming at improving synergies in the rail, inland waterways, shipping and motorways of the sea sectors by better use of existing infrastructures,deserve specific attention.

Amendment 21

Article 5, paragraph 1, point (c)

c) modal shift actions, including, where appropriate, the additional modal shift brought about by the development of an existing service;

c) modal shift actions, including, where appropriate, the additional modal shift brought about by the development of an existing service; the Community shall examine the possibility of supporting ancillary infrastructure projects;

Amendment 22

Article 5, paragraph 2 a (new)

 

2a. Financial assistance shall be based on contracts to be negotiated by the Commission and the beneficiary. The terms and conditions of those contracts shall, as far as possible, keep financial and administrative burdens to the minimum contemplated by applicable rules and regulations, especially the Financial Regulation, so as to achieve maximum administrative efficiency and flexibility.

Justification

See comment amendment No 16.

Amendment 23

Article 14, paragraph 2

2. The Commission shall present to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions an evaluation report on the results achieved by the Marco Polo Programme for the period 2003-2006 by 30 June 2007.

2. The Commission shall present to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions an evaluation report on the results achieved by the Marco Polo Programme for the period 2003-2006 by 30 June 2007. If the results of this report reveal a need to adjust the Programme, the Commission shall submit proposals accordingly.

Justification

For the moment there has not been an ex-post evaluation of the Marco Polo ’I’ programme. Once the Commission has presented their evaluation over 2003 – 2006, there should be the possibility of adjusting the programme according to the results of the evaluation in order to make optimal use of its possibilities.

Amendment 24

Annex I, column A, paragraph 1, point (b)

(b) the catalyst action is innovative on a European level, in terms of logistics, technology, methods, equipment, products, infrastructure or services rendered;

(b) the catalyst action is innovative on a European level, in terms of logistics, technology, methods, equipment, products, infrastructure or services rendered, including customer-friendly insurance and documentation;

Justification

See comment amendment No. 16.

Amendment 25

Annex I, column A, paragraph 4

The minimum indicative subsidy threshold per catalyst action shall be EUR 3 000 000.

The minimum indicative subsidy threshold per catalyst action shall be EUR 1 000 000.

Justification

It is proposed to lower the minimum threshold for subsidies so as to make them accessible to SMEs, which may submit small-scale projects that could be of Community interest.

Amendment 26

Annex I, column B, paragraph 1, point (b)

(b) the MoS action is innovative on a European level, in terms of logistics, technology, methods, equipment, products, infrastructure or services rendered; specific regard will be given to high quality of service, simplified procedures and inspections, meeting safety and security standards, good access to the ports, efficient hinterland connections, and flexible and efficient port services;

(b) the MoS action is innovative on a European level, in terms of logistics, technology, methods, equipment, products, infrastructure or services rendered; specific regard will be given to high quality of service, simplified procedures and inspections, including customer-friendly insurance and documentation, meeting safety and security standards, good access to the ports, efficient hinterland connections, and flexible and efficient port services;

Justification

See comment amendment No. 16.

Amendment 27

Annex I, column B, paragraph 2, point (b)

(b) The Community financial assistance, except for preparatory measures and transport infrastructure, determined by the Commission on the basis of the tonne-kilometres shifted from road to short sea shipping, rail, inland waterways shall initially be set at EUR 1 for each shift of 500 tonne-kilometres of road-freight. This indicative amount could be adjusted, in particular, in accordance with the quality of the project or the real environmental benefit obtained.

(b) The Community financial assistance, except for preparatory measures and transport infrastructure, determined by the Commission on the basis of the tonne-kilometres shifted from road to short sea shipping, rail, inland waterways shall initially be set at EUR 1 for each shift of 500 tonne-kilometres of road-freight.

Justification

In order to assure that projects selected by the Commission for the MP II programme obtain the financial assistance according to the criteria in Annex I the last phrase of the text is deleted. The deleted sentence undermines the before mentioned conditions. Companies have already proven to pass the very severe selection process; it is therefore not justified to incorporate in the text stipulations which may lead to a reduction of the allocated financial assistance which companies can reasonably expect based upon the conditions set out in the Annex I.

Amendment 28

Annex I, column B, paragraph 4

The minimum indicative subsidy threshold per MoS action shall be 2 billion tonne‑kilometres of modal shift or, in proportion to the indicative amount per euro of subsidy, EUR 4 000 000.

The minimum indicative subsidy threshold per MoS action shall be 2 billion tonne‑kilometres of modal shift or, in proportion to the indicative amount per euro of subsidy, EUR 2 000 000.

Justification

The innovative force of small and medium-sized undertakings must be used. By halving the subsidy threshold they will also be given the opportunity to participate in the project.

Amendment 29

Annex I, column B, paragraph 5

The results and methods of MoS actions shall be disseminated, as specified in a dissemination plan, in order to help achieve the objectives of this Regulation.

The results and methods of MoS actions shall be disseminated and the exchange of best practices shall be encouraged, as specified in a dissemination plan, in order to help achieve the objectives of this Regulation.

Justification

Exchange of best practices between the different agents will lead to reinforced synergy between them.

Amendment 30

Annex I, column C, paragraph 2, point (b)

(b) The Community financial assistance, except for transport infrastructure, determined by the Commission on the basis of the tonne-kilometres shifted from road to short sea shipping, rail, inland waterways shall initially be set at EUR 1 for each shift of 500 tonne-kilometres of road-freight. This indicative amount could be adjusted, in particular, in accordance with the quality of the project or the real environmental benefit obtained.

(b) The Community financial assistance, except for transport infrastructure, determined by the Commission on the basis of the tonne-kilometres shifted from road to short sea shipping, rail, inland waterways shall initially be set at EUR 1 for each shift of 500 tonne-kilometres of road-freight.

Justification

In order to assure that projects selected by the Commission for the MP II programme obtain the financial assistance according to the criteria in Annex I the last phrase of the text is deleted. The deleted sentence undermines the before mentioned conditions. Companies have already proven to pass the very severe selection process; it is therefore not justified to incorporate in the text stipulations which may lead to a reduction of the allocated financial assistance which companies can reasonably expect based upon the conditions set out in the Annex I.

Amendment 31

Annex I, column C, paragraph 4

The minimum indicative subsidy threshold per modal shift action shall be 500 million tonne‑kilometres of modal shift or, in proportion to the indicative amount per euro of subsidy, EUR 1 000 000.

The minimum indicative subsidy threshold per modal shift action shall be 500 million tonne‑kilometres of modal shift or, in proportion to the indicative amount per euro of subsidy, EUR 500 000.

Justification

The innovative force of small and medium-sized undertakings must be used. By halving the subsidy threshold they will also be given the opportunity to participate in the project.

Amendment 32

Annex I, column D, paragraph 1, point (c)

(c) the traffic avoidance action aims at encouraging higher efficiency in international freight transport in the European markets without impeding economic growth by focussing on modification of the production and/or distribution processes, thereby achieving shorter distances, higher loading factors, less empty runs, reduction of waste flows, reduction of volume and/or weight or any other effect leading to a significant reduction of freight traffic on the road, while at least maintaining overall production output and production workforce on EU territory;

(c) the traffic avoidance action aims at encouraging higher efficiency in international freight transport in the European markets without impeding economic growth by focussing on modification of the production and/or distribution processes, thereby achieving shorter distances, higher loading factors, less empty runs, reduction of waste flows, reduction of volume and/or weight or any other effect leading to a significant reduction of freight traffic on the road ; this should not adversely affect production output and production workforce within the Member States,.

Justification

There is a risk that the Commission's proposal will encourage the relocation of production and jobs from the Union's peripheral regions. That is unacceptable and the article should therefore be amended.

Amendment 33

Annex I, column D, paragraph 2, point (b)

(b) The Community financial assistance, except for preparatory measures, transport infrastructure and equipment, shall initially be set at EUR 1 for every avoidance of 500 tonne-kilometres or 25 vehicle-kilometres of road freight. This indicative amount could be adjusted, in particular, in accordance with the quality of the project or the real environmental benefit obtained.

(b) The Community financial assistance, except for preparatory measures, transport infrastructure and equipment, shall initially be set at EUR 1 for every avoidance of 500 tonne-kilometres or 25 vehicle-kilometres of road freight.

Justification

In order to assure that projects selected by the Commission for the MP II programme obtain the financial assistance according to the criteria in Annex I the last phrase of the text is deleted. The deleted sentence undermines the before mentioned conditions. Companies have already proven to pass the very severe selection process; it is therefore not justified to incorporate in the text stipulations which may lead to a reduction of the allocated financial assistance which companies can reasonably expect based upon the conditions set out in the Annex I.

Amendment 32

Annex I, column D, paragraph 4

The minimum indicative subsidy threshold per traffic avoidance action shall be 500 million tonne‑kilometres or 25 million vehicle-kilometres of freight traffic avoided or, in proportion to the indicative amount per euro of subsidy, EUR 1 000 000.

The minimum indicative subsidy threshold per traffic avoidance action shall be 500 million tonne‑kilometres or 25 million vehicle-kilometres of freight traffic avoided or, in proportion to the indicative amount per euro of subsidy, EUR 500 000.

Justification

The innovative force of small and medium-sized undertakings must be used. By halving the subsidy threshold they will also be given the opportunity to participate in the project.

Amendment 35

Annex I, column D, paragraph 5

The results and methods of traffic avoidance actions shall be disseminated, as specified in a dissemination plan, in order to help achieve the objectives of this Regulation.

The results and methods of traffic avoidance actions shall be disseminated and the exchange of best practices shall be encouraged, as specified in a dissemination plan, in order to help achieve the objectives of this Regulation.

Justification

Exchange of best practices between the different agents will lead to reinforced synergy between them.

Amendment 36

Annex I, column E, paragraph 1, point (a)

(a) the common learning action will lead to the improvement of commercial services in the market, in particular promoting and/or facilitating road traffic avoidance or modal shift off the road to short sea shipping, rail and inland waterways, through improving co-operation and sharing of know-how and lasts for a maximum of 24 months;

(a) the common learning action will lead to the improvement of commercial services in the market, including customer-friendly insurance and documentation, in particular promoting and/or facilitating road traffic avoidance or modal shift off the road to short sea shipping, rail and inland waterways, through improving co-operation and sharing of know-how and lasts for a maximum of 24 months;

Justification

See comment amendment No. 16.

Amendment 37

Annex I, column E, paragraph 5

The results and methods of common learning actions shall be disseminated, as specified in a dissemination plan, in order to help achieve the objectives of this Regulation.

The results and methods of common learning actions shall be disseminated and the exchange of best practices shall be encouraged, as specified in a dissemination plan, in order to help achieve the objectives of this Regulation.

Justification

Exchange of best practices between the different agents will lead to reinforced synergy between them.

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Introduction

After the 'Marco Polo I' programme (covering the period 2003-2006), which was adopted by Parliament by a large majority, the Commission has now presented the 'Marco Polo II' programme.

Broadly speaking, it is based on the experience acquired with Marco Polo I (2003-2006) as well as on the ACT programme dating from 1997. In view of the imminent gridlock facing road transport it was and it remains the intention of the programme to encourage alternative and environmentally safer modes of transport and integrate them better into road transport. This would benefit all modes of transport and would also help bring about a sustainable balance in the transport sector that is better for our economy and environment, above all, the rapporteur hopes, in the natural or man-made sensitive regions.

Marco Polo I already had, according to the Commission, a very ambitious objective, i.e. shifting the anticipated average increase in international road freight transport to the three alternative modes of short-sea shipping, rail and inland waterways.

In order to tackle this objective and the resulting challenges in an expanded Union too on the basis of the traffic forecasts predicting a steady increase in the volume of freight to be transported, new proposals need to be made for Marco Polo II.

It should be noted that the proposed volume of funding at the time of writing is dependent on the outcome of the adoption of the financial perspective. If the proposed volume of funding is reduced under this procedure the amounts contained in the proposal will of course need to be adjusted accordingly.

Marco Polo II - a brief summary. What changes?

å Financial framework (assuming that the amount of € 740 million proposed in the financial perspective (2007-2013) is adopted): € 106 million per year (compared with funding of € 25 million per year for Marco Polo I).

å Geographical coverage: the 25 EU Member States, the applicant countries, the EFTA and EEA countries, the neighbouring countries to the East, Russia, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, the Balkan states and the Mediterranean region (Marco Polo I: the 15 Member States as well as the then applicant countries, EFTA-EEA countries). If Romania and Bulgaria join the EU, the EU's borders with neighbouring states will move and new countries will need to be considered.

å Areas of activity: Marco Polo I aimed to shift the increase in international road freight transport to alternative modes of transport. Marco Polo II goes a step further and seeks even to reduce the volume of international road freight transport. It is therefore proposed to expand the area of activity to include two new areas:

-     Motorways of the sea: This concept was taken up in the last transport white paper and, under Marco Polo I, was envisaged only in connection with modal shift action and catalyst action. Under Marco Polo II a separate category of Motorways of the sea action has therefore been created.

-     Traffic avoidance: This involves encouraging the rationalisation of traffic, logistics and supply chains. The incentives have already been there for a long time in the industry itself; the EU's role here consists instead of providing encouragement and exchanging experience and best practice.

It needs to be pointed out that the planned funding of infrastructure must not be confused with the financing of the TENs. Marco Polo II concentrates only on smaller-scale ancillary infrastructure, has only short- and medium-term goals and is demand-led. Particular importance attaches to the actions in the rail and inland navigation sectors.

The criteria for financing TENs are the exact opposite: they are long-term European infrastructure projects for the benefit of the economic and social cohesion of the EU where Member States and authorities play a prominent part.

Marco Polo II is concerned with businesses that are pursing economic objectives. Through its results, modal transport shifts will be achieved that are sustainable for that reason.

Rapporteur's comments

1.   In view of the current state of road transport with lorries often stuck for hours in traffic jams polluting our environment unnecessarily partly because our road infrastructure cannot cope with the increase in traffic, the rapporteur can only fully support and endorse the ambitious objective of the Marco Polo II programme. There are alternative modes of transport but for a whole series of differing reasons not enough use is made of them.

      Traffic needs to be differently and better organised and shifted in sustainable fashion to modes of transport that place least strain on man and the environment. This applies with even greater force in sensitive areas such as conurbations and mountain regions.

2.   The rapporteur has tabled a number of amendments aimed at reducing the threshold values for participation in the various categories of actions. This would provide more small and medium-sized firms with the opportunity to participate. The amounts proposed by the Commission seem rather high to the rapporteur and, judging by the results of a hearing on this topic, they are also an almost insurmountable obstacle for SMUs.

      Because SMUs on account of their flexibility possess a huge potential in terms of innovative forces which are often not recognised, a reduction of the threshold values would provide an opportunity to exploit this potential and incorporate the ensuing results in the common learning action.

      Naturally, the amounts should not be set at too low a level since a critical mass needs to be retained in order to spare the Commission an excessive amount of paperwork (the planned annual amounts have more than quadrupled) and not lose sight of the main objective, i.e. modal transport shift.

3.   Particular mention should be made of the Commission's calculations of the leverage effect of the resources to be spent under the Marco Polo II programme: each year it is calculated that 20-21 billion tonne-kilometres can be shifted from the road to other modes of transport or avoided altogether. These 20-21 billion tonne-kilometres represent the estimated annual increase in road transport which, for the entire period of the financial perspective (2007-2013), means 144 billion tonne-kilometres that, according to forecasts, would give rise to extra external costs to the tune of € 5 billion. If this sum of € 5 billion is saved with the aid of the financial resources of the Marco Polo II programme along with the € 13 million for administration and personnel (740 + 13 = 753 million), a leverage effect of € 6 in saved external costs will be achieved for each euro spent. This is substantial, although it relates only to the external costs.

      It is important that this effect must be or become of a permanent nature and not disappear with the cessation of EU support. Care must also be taken to ensure that freight that was anyway intended for transport by rail is not included in the projects otherwise a false picture will be given of success or failure.

4.   The role of inland waterways shipping also needs to be emphasised here. This mode of transport offers considerable scope for shifting freight away from the road and is by far the safest in environmental terms. A distinctive feature is the fragmentation in this sector and its very traditional character. More cooperation would benefit the sector and provide it with greater scope for making full use of its opportunities.

      When applying for Marco Polo projects these features have a negative impact and both the industry and the Commission should therefore attempt to overcome these drawbacks and secure participation in projects by inland waterways shipping.

5.   Special emphasis must, in the rapporteur's opinion, be placed on the new category of motorways of the sea. The fact that a new category has been created for this shows that we are increasingly compelled to develop a pan-European concept for the transport sector in which all players must develop their potential. This should be of benefit to our economy, to the consumers and also to our environment.

      The proper use of motorways of the sea means that traffic flows that normally go over land can be strategically diverted and brought closer to destinations.

      For a better idea of the potential of this kind of action, Table 16 in the Commission document can be consulted. The rapporteur also wonders why the success rate (55%) is set so low.

6.   A number of amendments have been tabled to change the design of the Marco Polo II programme so that the additional formalities required for using intermodal transport are reduced to a minimum. Further efforts are being made and will continue to be made in the future at the Commission to simplify the customs, insurance and other formalities as far as possible. It is desirable that these results then be incorporated in the Marco Polo II programme so that it can then serve as a demonstration project.

OPINION of the Committee on Budgets (14.7.2005)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the second "Marco Polo" programme for the granting of Community financial assistance to improve the environmental performance of the freight transport system ('Marco Polo II')
(COM(2004)0478 – C6‑0088/2004 – 2004/0157(COD))

Draftsman: Janusz Lewandowski

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

The purpose of the proposed Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council is to establish a financing instrument called the "Marco Polo II Programme". Marco Polo II should reduce congestion, improve the environmental performance of the transport system and enhance intermodal transport, thereby contributing to an efficient and sustainable transport system. The duration of the Programme shall be from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013.

Europe's transport system faces considerable challenges in the next decade. The forecast increase of road freight by 2013 is more than 60% in the European Union, and a doubling is foreseen for the 10 new Member States by 2020. The results are congestion, environmental degradation, accidents and a danger of loss of competitiveness of European industry, which needs to rely, for the management of its supply chains, on cost-efficient and reliable transportation systems. In this situation, a stronger reliance on intermodality is necessary.

Marco Polo supports commercial actions in the market for freight transport services. It is therefore different from the support given through research and development programmes and the Trans-European Network programme. Marco Polo fosters modal shift projects in all segments of the freight market, not only in combined transport. The programme can also fund actions involving third countries. However, taking into account the principle of subsidiarity, it will focus in international, rather than national, projects. The main objective of Marco Polo is to help shift an amount of cargo corresponding to the anticipated growth of international road haulage to other modes.

Responding to the challenges mentioned above, a renewed and adapted "Marco Polo II" Programme is proposed for the next financial perspectives (2007 – 2013). Relying on the mechanisms of the current programme, the Commission proposes two new types of action: Motorways of the Sea and Traffic Avoidance actions. They should actually lead to a reduction in international road freight, much desired by the citizens and industrial transport users alike. Marco Polo II also enlarges the scope of the programme to all neighbours of the European Union. It stresses the role of rail freight and clarifies the scope for certain infrastructure measures.

The Commission proposes an overall budgetary envelope of EUR 740 million for the period 2007 – 2013, i.e. roughly EUR 106 million per year. The proposed yearly distribution is as presented in the below table:

                                                                                                                                         € million

 

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Total

Commitments

30

50

100

130

130

150

150

0

0

0

0

740

Payments

9

27

52

82

104

117

137

100

40

36

36

740

The impact on human resources is: EUR 13 million in total, which is approximately EUR 1,8 million per year.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Budgets calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Draft legislative resolution

Amendment 1

Paragraph 1 a (new)

1a.      Points out that the appropriations indicated in the legislative proposal beyond 2006 are subject to the decision on the next multiannual financial framework;

Amendment 2

Paragraph 1 b (new)

1b.      Calls on the Commission, once the next multiannual financial framework is adopted, to present, if appropriate, a proposal to adjust the financial reference amount of the programme;

Justification

The reference amount for the financial framework cannot be set until such time as a decision has been reached on the Financial Perspective. Once a decision is reached, the Commission shall present a legislative proposal to set the reference amount with the respect to the appropriate ceiling of the financial framework concerned.

Proposal for a regulation

Text proposed by the Commission[1]

 

Amendments by Parliament

Amendment 1

Article 11

The financial framework for the implementation of the Marco Polo II Programme, for the period 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013, shall be EUR 740 million.

Annual appropriations shall be authorised by the budgetary authority within the limits of the financial perspective.

The indicative financial framework for the implementation of the Marco Polo II Programme, for the period of 7 years as from 1 January 2007, shall be EUR 740 million.

Annual appropriations shall be authorised by the budgetary authority within the limits of the financial perspective.

Justification

The reference amount for the financial framework is indicative until the time that a decision has been reached on the Financial Perspective. Once a decision is reached, the Commission shall present a legislative proposal to set the reference amount with the respect to the appropriate ceiling of the financial framework concerned (see amendment to the legislative resolution).

PROCEDURE

Title

Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the second "Marco Polo" programme for the granting of Community financial assistance to improve the environmental performance of the freight transport system ('Marco Polo II'

References

COM(2004)0478 – C6-0088/2004 – 2004/0157(COD)

Committee responsible

TRAN

Committee asked for its opinion
  Date announced in plenary

BUDG
22.2.2005

Enhanced cooperation

 

Draftsman
  Date appointed

Janusz Lewandowski
26.10.2004

Discussed in committee

14.7.2005

 

 

 

 

Date amendments adopted

14.7.2005

Result of final vote

for:

against:

abstentions:

20

Members present for the final vote

Gérard Deprez, Bárbara Dührkop Dührkop, Hynek Fajmon, Salvador Garriga Polledo, Neena Gill, Ingeborg Gräßle, Louis Grech, Nathalie Griesbeck, Catherine Guy-Quint, Jutta D. Haug, Anne Elisabet Jensen, Sergej Kozlík, Wiesław Stefan Kuc, Janusz Lewandowski, Vladimír Maňka, Jan Mulder, Nina Škottová, Helga Trüpel, Kyösti Tapio Virrankoski

Substitutes present for the final vote

Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg

Substitutes under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

 

  • [1]  Not yet published in OJ.

PROCEDURE

Title

Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the second “Marco Polo” programme for the granting of Community financial assistance to improve the environmental performance of the freight transport system ("Marco Polo II")

References

COM(2004)0478 – C6-0088/2004 – 2004/0157(COD)

Date submitted to Parliament

15.7.2004

Committee responsible
  Date announced in plenary

TRAN
22.2.2005

Committee(s) asked for opinion(s)
  Date announced in plenary

BUDG
22.2.2005

CONT
22.2.2005

ENVI
22.2.2005

 

 

Not delivering opinion(s)
  Date of decision

CONT
23.3.2005

ENVI
1.9.2004

 

 

 

Enhanced cooperation
  Date announced in plenary

 

 

 

 

 

Rapporteur(s)
  Date appointed

Reinhard Rack
7.9.2004

 

Previous rapporteur(s)

 

 

Simplified procedure – date of decision

 

Legal basis disputed
  Date of JURI opinion

 

 

 

Financial endowment amended
  Date of BUDG opinion

BUDG
14.7.2005

 

 

European Economic and Social Committee consulted – date of decision in plenary

9.3.2005

Committee of the Regions consulted – date of decision in plenary

-

Discussed in committee

23.11.2004

15.3.2005

15.6.2005

13.9.2005

 

Date adopted

22.11.2005

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

40

2

1

Members present for the final vote

Etelka Barsi-Pataky, Philip Bradbourn, Michael Cramer, Arūnas Degutis, Armando Dionisi, Petr Duchoň, Saïd El Khadraoui, Robert Evans, Mathieu Grosch, Ewa Hedkvist Petersen, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Georg Jarzembowski, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Jaromír Kohlíček, Fernand Le Rachinel, Jörg Leichtfried, Bogusław Liberadzki, Eva Lichtenberger, Patrick Louis, Erik Meijer, Ashley Mote, Michael Henry Nattrass, Seán Ó Neachtain, Janusz Onyszkiewicz, Josu Ortuondo Larrea, Willi Piecyk, Luís Queiró, Reinhard Rack, Luca Romagnoli, Gilles Savary, Renate Sommer, Dirk Sterckx, Ulrich Stockmann, Gary Titley, Georgios Toussas, Marta Vincenzi, Roberts Zīle

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Zsolt László Becsey, Markus Ferber, Zita Gurmai, Elisabeth Jeggle, Sepp Kusstatscher, Willem Schuth

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

 

Date tabled

15.12.2005