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Sustainable and smart mobility strategy – Delivered at local level

20-04-2021

On 9 December 2020, the European Commission put forward a sustainable and smart mobility strategy, outlining its planned steps to transform the European Union (EU) transport system to meet the ambition of the European Green Deal and the objectives of the EU's digital strategy. The strategy aims to rebuild the European transport sector, badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, making it greener, smarter and more resilient, while leaving no one behind. This is to be achieved by strengthening the existing ...

On 9 December 2020, the European Commission put forward a sustainable and smart mobility strategy, outlining its planned steps to transform the European Union (EU) transport system to meet the ambition of the European Green Deal and the objectives of the EU's digital strategy. The strategy aims to rebuild the European transport sector, badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, making it greener, smarter and more resilient, while leaving no one behind. This is to be achieved by strengthening the existing rules, proposing new legislation and providing support measures and guidance. The Commission will start to make proposals for the planned measures in 2021. Once agreed by the EU legislators and adopted as new EU rules, these will have to be implemented. While national governments will be expected to align their existing national legislation with the new requirements, the task of putting the new rules into practice will often be managed by public administrations at regional and local level. Cities and regions will have to adapt their existing systems and invest to make transport more sustainable, but also to allow citizens to better combine the available mobility options, enabling them to reduce their daily travel needs while ensuring connectivity and service accessibility. This briefing looks at the policy and other support that the European Commission is providing for local and regional authorities to facilitate the mobility transition. Following established practice, they will be invited to contribute to the design of the individual measures outlined in the strategy. They should also have their say in setting their national priorities for receiving EU financing for the post-coronavirus recovery, as an opportunity to start transforming the transport system from the local level. This Briefing has been drafted following a request from a member of the European Committee of the Regions, in the framework of the Cooperation Agreement between the Parliament and the Committee.

EU climate action policy: Responding to the global emergency

18-03-2021

The European Green Deal aims to make the European Union climate-neutral by 2050, a target supported by all EU institutions. With this objective, the EU takes a leading role in addressing the global climate emergency. Achieving the climate-neutrality goal requires massive investment and an unprecedented transformation of all sectors of the economy. This study explains the physical basis of climate change and highlights its expected impacts on the EU. To give an overview of EU and international climate ...

The European Green Deal aims to make the European Union climate-neutral by 2050, a target supported by all EU institutions. With this objective, the EU takes a leading role in addressing the global climate emergency. Achieving the climate-neutrality goal requires massive investment and an unprecedented transformation of all sectors of the economy. This study explains the physical basis of climate change and highlights its expected impacts on the EU. To give an overview of EU and international climate policies, it outlines international climate agreements, EU climate action and the climate policies of major economies. It assesses the coherence of EU climate policy with other policy areas, and presents the financing of EU climate action through the EU budget and other instruments. To assess the implications of the climate neutrality objective, the study analysis the challenges and opportunities for the EU economy and its impacts on issues such as international relations, migration, trade, consumers and health . The final chapter addresses the issues facing European decision-makers and the outlook for European and global climate action in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sustainable and smart mobility strategy

20-01-2021

Transport is the backbone of the EU economy, connecting people and businesses across various EU regions and countries. The coronavirus pandemic has shown the impact of mobility restrictions on the free movement of people, goods and services and, at the same time, confirmed the essential role of transport in safeguarding the functioning of vital supply chains. However, transport also generates significant costs to society, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, environmental pollution, accidents, congestion ...

Transport is the backbone of the EU economy, connecting people and businesses across various EU regions and countries. The coronavirus pandemic has shown the impact of mobility restrictions on the free movement of people, goods and services and, at the same time, confirmed the essential role of transport in safeguarding the functioning of vital supply chains. However, transport also generates significant costs to society, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, environmental pollution, accidents, congestion and loss of biodiversity. EU ambitions to address these negative impacts have increased over the years. In December 2019, the European Commission put forward the European Green Deal that aims to make the EU carbon neutral by 2050. This goal was subsequently endorsed by the European Parliament and EU Member States. To achieve climate neutrality, the EU transport sector has to cut its CO2 emissions by 90 %. This requirement is in stark contrast with the past trend: despite previously adopted measures, transport is the only sector in which greenhouse gas emissions have kept growing. The Commission has therefore proposed a strategy outlining how it wants to transform the EU transport sector and align it with the European Green Deal, by making it green, digital and resilient. While transport stakeholders have welcomed parts of the strategy as steps in the right direction, concerns about the text’s high ambitions and lack of concrete elements have been voiced. The Commission is to start proposing the measures envisaged in 2021. It remains to be seen to what extent, with what modifications and how fast they will be adopted and then implemented by EU Member States, shaping transport transformation for the years to come.

The trans-European transport network: State of play in 2020

22-12-2020

For a number of years now, the EU has been developing a transport network across its territory to link its regions and countries, and thus also markets and people. This large-scale project – the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) – should be efficient and sustainable, and contribute to economic activity. It covers the development of all transport modes, yet seeks to shift a significant part of road transport to less polluting modes, in particular rail and inland waterways. In 2013, the EU Member ...

For a number of years now, the EU has been developing a transport network across its territory to link its regions and countries, and thus also markets and people. This large-scale project – the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) – should be efficient and sustainable, and contribute to economic activity. It covers the development of all transport modes, yet seeks to shift a significant part of road transport to less polluting modes, in particular rail and inland waterways. In 2013, the EU Member States agreed to have the 'core' network ready by 2030, and set aside unprecedented amounts of funding to achieve this goal. Seven years later, the European Commission is taking stock of what has been achieved, what remains to be done and what will not be achieved within the 2030 horizon. It has already proposed changes to the EU financial support for TEN-T for the 2021-2027 period and reviews of the relevant guidelines, and plans to propose an adapted set of rules to the European Parliament and the Council in 2021. These should better support transport decarbonisation and digitalisation, as well as boost infrastructure resilience to climate change. This briefing looks at the latest updates to the work plans prepared by the European Coordinators, the experts each responsible for advancing one branch of the network through having the best grassroots information available to them. Their views are complemented with the more general findings from reports published by the European Court of Auditors. Some thorny issues of past and future financing of the TEN-T projects are mentioned and, finally, an outline of expected developments is given, both related to the United Kingdom's exit from the EU and the EU's next multiannual budget, for 2021-2027.

Decarbonising maritime transport: The EU perspective

21-10-2020

International maritime transport is the backbone of the global economy. However, vessels release emissions that pollute the air and contribute significantly to global warming. As shipping is forecast to grow, reducing these emissions is urgent, in order not to undermine emissions-reducing efforts in other areas, to keep humans healthy, preserve the environment and limit climate change. Although international shipping was not explicitly mentioned in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, efforts to make ...

International maritime transport is the backbone of the global economy. However, vessels release emissions that pollute the air and contribute significantly to global warming. As shipping is forecast to grow, reducing these emissions is urgent, in order not to undermine emissions-reducing efforts in other areas, to keep humans healthy, preserve the environment and limit climate change. Although international shipping was not explicitly mentioned in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, efforts to make shipping cleaner and greener have since progressed. International rules to reduce air-polluting emissions from ships have been agreed in the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Their impact, in particular the application of stricter limits for sulphur content in marine fuels since 1 January 2020, is yet to be evaluated. Parallel efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from maritime shipping have resulted in the setting of rules on collecting data on fuel oil consumption and the first collected data becoming available. In 2018, the IMO adopted an initial strategy for reducing GHG emissions, aimed at cutting shipping GHG emissions by at least 50 % by 2050, compared to 2008 levels. While concrete steps are yet to be agreed, achieving this goal will require both short-term emission-reducing measures and longer-term measures to make shipping switch to alternative fuels. Short-term guidance from the IMO is expected in 2020. On the EU front, the European Commission announced in the European Green Deal that GHG from EU transport should be cut by 90 % by 2050 and outlined how this would involve shipping. Initial measures are to be proposed by the end of 2020. This briefing reviews the existing international and EU rules on shipping emissions and their application, looks into the short-term measures under discussion and maps the landscape of marine fuels and technologies that could help decarbonise shipping in the long term.

Transport CO2 emissions in focus

07-10-2020

To limit global warming in line with the Paris Agreement, Europe aims to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050. To speed up this transition, the European Commission has proposed to raise the level of ambition, and reduce the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by 55 % by 2030. On 7 October, in its position on the proposed European Climate Law, the European Parliament voted to raise the 2030 target to a 60 % reduction. This overview shows how transport activities resulted in about 29 ...

To limit global warming in line with the Paris Agreement, Europe aims to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050. To speed up this transition, the European Commission has proposed to raise the level of ambition, and reduce the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by 55 % by 2030. On 7 October, in its position on the proposed European Climate Law, the European Parliament voted to raise the 2030 target to a 60 % reduction. This overview shows how transport activities resulted in about 29 % of total EU CO2 emissions in 2018. The map below gives the share of transport emissions (from fuel combustion, not including indirect emissions from electricity use) in the total CO2 emissions of each Member State, and the volume contribution of different transport modes to the EU total. While the volumes of total CO2 emissions have decreased in most Member States between 1990 and 2018, those resulting from transport show increases, in some cases more than twofold.

Connecting Europe Facility 2021-2027: Financing key EU infrastructure networks

17-06-2020

The EU supports the development of high-performing, sustainable and interconnected trans-European networks in the areas of transport, energy and digital infrastructure. It set up the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) as a dedicated financing instrument for the 2014-2020 period, to channel EU funding into the development of infrastructure networks, help eliminate market failures and attract further investment from the public and private sectors. Following a mid-term evaluation, the European Commission ...

The EU supports the development of high-performing, sustainable and interconnected trans-European networks in the areas of transport, energy and digital infrastructure. It set up the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) as a dedicated financing instrument for the 2014-2020 period, to channel EU funding into the development of infrastructure networks, help eliminate market failures and attract further investment from the public and private sectors. Following a mid-term evaluation, the European Commission proposed to renew the programme under the next long term EU budget. Negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament on the content of the proposal reached a partial provisional agreement, leaving aside the budget section and the questions relating to third countries. The agreement was approved by EU ambassadors and adopted by the Parliament at first reading on 17 April 2019. Discussions in the Council on the EU's 2021-2027 budget resumed when the Finnish Presidency of the Council published its ‘negotiating box’ in December 2019 and then with the proposal put forward in February 2020 by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. However, Member States have not yet reached an agreement. In reaction to the coronavirus crisis and to the demand of the European Council, the Commission proposed an EU recovery fund and the adjusted Multiannual Financial Framework on 27 May 2020, also modifying the amounts to be allocated to the 2021-2027 CEF programme. Fourth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

EU shipping and ports facing coronavirus

11-05-2020

Maritime shipping moves around 75 % of the EU’s external trade and 30 % of intra-EU transport of goods. As part of the wider international maritime community, it supports complex supply chains moving food, energy and raw materials, manufactured goods and components as well as medical supplies. To keep functioning during the coronavirus outbreak, maritime shipping, ports and inland navigation face a new set of challenges that require EU support and a coordinated approach from the world’s governments ...

Maritime shipping moves around 75 % of the EU’s external trade and 30 % of intra-EU transport of goods. As part of the wider international maritime community, it supports complex supply chains moving food, energy and raw materials, manufactured goods and components as well as medical supplies. To keep functioning during the coronavirus outbreak, maritime shipping, ports and inland navigation face a new set of challenges that require EU support and a coordinated approach from the world’s governments.

Václav Havel: Advocate of an undivided Europe

08-05-2020

Despite a 'bourgeois' family background, which was a disqualification in communist-led Czechoslovakia, Václav Havel rapidly became an internationally acclaimed playwright. However, his unequivocally proclaimed ethical principles soon put him at odds with the communist regime, resulting in several prison sentences. Havel nevertheless held fast to his belief that moral integrity was a question of necessity, not choice, and attempted to live up to this ideal. The 1989 collapse of the regime made Havel ...

Despite a 'bourgeois' family background, which was a disqualification in communist-led Czechoslovakia, Václav Havel rapidly became an internationally acclaimed playwright. However, his unequivocally proclaimed ethical principles soon put him at odds with the communist regime, resulting in several prison sentences. Havel nevertheless held fast to his belief that moral integrity was a question of necessity, not choice, and attempted to live up to this ideal. The 1989 collapse of the regime made Havel a hero and, shortly after, an unlikely President. During his years in office, he managed to drive his country through the challenges of moving to a free market democracy, while maintaining his personal moral convictions and tirelessly advocating for larger issues of human rights, peace and democracy, underpinned by an active civil society. While Havel and his collaborators recast the foundations of today's Czech and Slovak democracies, his achievements in foreign policy have perhaps been even more important. Reminding Western countries of the dangers of a Europe that continued to be divided even after the removal of the Iron Curtain, Havel was instrumental in anchoring the new Czech Republic in western Europe, through its membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU). He both recognised and emphasised the importance of closer European cooperation based on shared values, which for Havel constituted the core of relations among European countries. A firm advocate of the Euro-Atlantic alliance, he supported the United States of America, even on occasions when some other western European countries were reluctant to do so. With his political writings reaching far beyond the circumstances in which they were written, Havel is considered one of the most important intellectuals of the 20th century. He has received numerous honours and awards. One of the European Parliament's buildings in Strasbourg has borne Václav Havel's name since 2017.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Transport policy

14-02-2020

Transport is a strategic sector of the EU economy. Essential to ensuring free movement, it enables people and goods to overcome distances, borders and natural barriers, directly affecting the everyday lives of all EU citizens. Maintaining the flow of goods from producers and manufacturers to consumers makes efficient transport systems a backbone of European integration. For the single market to function well in all regions, the EU needs sustainable, efficient and fully interconnected transport networks ...

Transport is a strategic sector of the EU economy. Essential to ensuring free movement, it enables people and goods to overcome distances, borders and natural barriers, directly affecting the everyday lives of all EU citizens. Maintaining the flow of goods from producers and manufacturers to consumers makes efficient transport systems a backbone of European integration. For the single market to function well in all regions, the EU needs sustainable, efficient and fully interconnected transport networks. As the demand for transport services grows, reducing transport emissions and negative impacts on human health and the environment has become one of the main challenges. New technologies, such as digitalisation, and connected and automated mobility, open new possibilities to improve transport safety, security and efficiency, and to reduce emissions, but also transform the employment in the sector in terms of working conditions and required skills. Collaborative economy developments, such as car-sharing and bike-sharing services are changing user behaviour and mobility patterns. EU transport policy needs to help the sector cut emissions drastically by running on less and cleaner energy, utilise modern infrastructure, and reduce its impact on the environment. The new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has put transport on a fast track towards becoming decarbonised and digital. This transformation is to be a key part of her European Green Deal and 'making Europe fit for the digital age' priorities. In 2020, the Commission will propose a 'climate law', committing the EU to becoming climate neutral by 2050. The European Council has endorsed this objective and Parliament had already called for ambitious goals and a corresponding long-term EU budget. While concrete steps towards this ambitious goal remain to be defined, it will require a step change to make transport modern, sustainable and decarbonised.

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