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Debates
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Single European transport area (debate)
MPphoto
 
 

  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.

 
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