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Commissioner Kinnock outlines transport priorities for Europe

The Commission intends to tackle the problems of increasing delays, dirt, danger and cost in the field of transport over the next five years. This was the message put forward by Mr. Kinnock, Commissioner for transport, at the Financial Times Conference on "Transport in Europe ...
The Commission intends to tackle the problems of increasing delays, dirt, danger and cost in the field of transport over the next five years. This was the message put forward by Mr. Kinnock, Commissioner for transport, at the Financial Times Conference on "Transport in Europe - towards 2020" in London on 9 June 1995.

The main objective of Commission policy over the next years will be to develop integrated transport systems for Europe which are efficient, competitive, safe, accessible and responsible in social and environmental terms. The Commission is particularly keen to arrest and reverse chronic congestion, especially road congestion.

However, while the Commission will work to help ease the pressures on the transport system, many of the necessary actions must be taken at national and local level, by government and by public and private administrative and commercial bodies. The Commission has a crucial role to play in this action, by helping to achieve objectives which are in the common interest of all the Member States and to eliminate barriers which continue to divide Europe.

Transport infrastructures and services must enable businesses to trade easily and allow people to travel freely and safely throughout and beyond the Union. For this purpose, efficient, integrated and interconnected systems must be developed across the Union's internal frontiers, covering all its regions and extending to neighbouring countries.

By the end of 1995, legislation will be in place to allow funding by the European Union of trans-European networks (TENs). The Essen Summit agreed 14 major road, rail, combined transport and airport infrastructure schemes as priorities for funding under the TENs scheme; 80% of the available resources for these projects will be spent on rail and rail-linked developments.

However, the total expenditure needed to upgrade TENs to the standards required by the expected growth in traffic flows could be as much as ECU 300 billion by 2010. Resources specifically aimed at TENs in the Community budget amount to ECU 1.8 billion over four years for feasibility studies, loan guarantees, interest rate subsidies and some grants. In addition, the heads of government are requesting a top-up of some ECU 1 billion from Community funds for the TENs scheme.

To achieve sustainable traffic flows, the use of environmentally friendly and user-friendly modes of transport must be encouraged. To do so, special task forces have recently been set up in the transport field to supplement research activities under the Fourth Framework Programme. The task forces will concentrate respectively on the development of the train and railways of the future, transport intermodality, the car of the future and the aircraft of the future. They will aim to develop research projects of common industrial interest in these fields at the European Union level.

Another priority is to manage road traffic more efficiently, to ease bottlenecks and reduce delays and accidents. Telematics and satellite systems have an important role to play in helping to manage and control traffic and in levying road use charges. The TENs scheme and the transport R&D budget of ECU 1 billion will help their development by promoting and facilitating applications of new technology.

A major Commission priority is to set and enforce the rules of a genuine internal market in all forms of transport and to ensure that transport services are offered freely throughout the Union on a fair and competitive basis, meeting acceptable safety, public service and social standards. Substantial progress has been made in liberalizing road freight transport and proposals are being drawn up to facilitate international bus services.

In the field of air transport, the opening up of Central and Eastern Europe presents an unprecedented opportunity to create a single air traffic control system in Europe. The Commission will also be seeking to develop its policy on transport issues with the Central and Eastern European countries more generally. In particular, the evolution of the TENs must anticipate the economic integration of these countries in the European Union.

Parallel discussions are also needed with the Mediterranean countries on issues such as short-sea shipping, ship safety and air traffic control. The Commission is negotiating an agreement with Switzerland, under which aviation services and access via Switzerland of freight vehicles are primary issues.

Source: European Commission, Service du Porte-Parole
DE

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