Welcome to the fourth edition of the Transport Chronicles, your trusted source for the latest developments, trends, and insights in EU-UK transport. In this edition, we explore MEPs’ groundbreaking resolution supporting electric aviation, delve into party manifestos’ stance on the Green Deal, uncover the European Commission’s new initiatives for economic security, track the progress (and slight delays) in the trans-European transport network regulation, and scrutinize concerns over the EU’s green aviation fuel goals. Plus, get a sneak peek into the evolving political landscape with the latest election polls. 📊✨ If you seek more insights or want to join UKTiE, don’t hesitate to reach out! 🌿🛫🌱 #TransportChronicles #EUnews #Sustainability #AviationRevolution
16 January: MEPs pave the way for electric aviation revolution with resolution supporting short- and mid-range flights🛫🌿
In a resolution called “Electric aviation – a solution for short- and mid-range flights” (not legally binding) adopted in plenary on January 16, MEPs consider that “with the commercialization of electric aviation, Member States should consider reviewing their legislation prohibiting short- and medium-haul flights”. This paragraph, the only one in the resolution to have been the subject of a separate vote, was adopted by 408 votes for, 203 against and 14 abstentions. The Greens, the Left, the Eurosceptic conservatives (ECR) and the far right voted against, as did the French delegation of the S&D (left) and some French people on the Renew side (Pascal Canfin, Fabienne Keller, Catherine Chabaud). The resolution calls on the Commission to “take measures to ensure that electric flights serve short-haul regional lines for the purposes of public service obligations”. The resolution invites the Commission to select, with Eurocontrol and the European Aviation Safety Agency, the lines which are best suited to complete electrification, “which will help the airports concerned to make the necessary adjustments”.
18 January: The party manifestos and their position regarding the Green Deal 📜🌿
The draft manifesto of the European People’s Party (EPP), the center-right group, emphasizes economic prosperity over environmental concerns. The EPP underscores the importance of economic competitiveness for successful environmental protection and calls for reduced bureaucracy in EU green policymaking. The manifesto positions climate change as a top green priority, aligning with a focus on economic competitiveness and re-industrialization. The EPP supports a technology-neutral approach to climate policy and emphasizes the need for all renewable energy sources, including biomass.
- Conversely, the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) reject a regulatory pause on green policies, advocating for a “Green Social Deal” that prioritizes social policy and workers’ rights in the green transition. The S&D emphasizes a continued Green Deal “with a red heart” and stresses the external dimension of the Green Deal, calling for a new partnership with the Global South.
24 January : European Commission unveils new initiatives to bolster economic security 🌐🛡️
The European Commission presented a series of new initiatives to strengthen economic security that go in line with the June 2023 European Economic Security Strategy. The package aims to protect the openness of trade, to better control foreign investments on the continent, among others. It is a progressive paradigm shift for the European Union, which was built from the outset on the promise of opening markets. Only one of them is of a legislative nature and it is only a revision of a 2019 regulation on the “screening” of foreign investments.
24 January: Finalizing regulation on the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) encounters slight delays 🕰️. Belgian Minister of Mobility aims for MEPs’ approval by April 🚆📱
Finalizing the regulation on the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) is taking a little longer than expected. The Council Presidency must continue the technical work on the text before having it validated by the European Parliament team and submitting it to the representatives of the Member States (COREPER), explained the Belgian Minister of Mobility, Georges Gilkinet, before the Transport Committee of the European Parliament on January 23. According to the Council teams, as well as those of the Parliament, it is mainly a matter of ensuring the correspondence of the “recitals” (a sort of preamble) with the “hard” text of the regulation. Georges Gilkinet has committed to ensuring that MEPs will be able to validate the text in plenary session by April.
24 January: Concerns rise over EU’s green aviation fuel goals 🌱✈️
Environmental organizations and oil companies have jointly expressed concerns that the EU’s goals for green aviation fuels may be endangered due to insufficient investment in synthetic fuels production. The “ReFuelEU Aviation” law, part of the “Fit for 55” climate package, sets quotas for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) use, aiming for 2% in 2025, 20% in 2035, and 70% in 2050. However, a report by Transport & Environment reveals that investments in synthetic fuels (e-fuels) production are not materializing, raising doubts about meeting the targets. Oil company representatives argue that additional subsidies are required to mitigate the financial risks associated with large-scale e-kerosene production.
What about some elections polls? 📊✨
According to Europe Elects and EUMatrix, for January these are the trends in the political arena of the European Parliament:
- We are likely to see a high number of newcomers in the next European Parliament (at least 55% new MEPs).
- The EPP is set to remain the largest group.
- The next EP is likely to be (even) more fragmented, with the bigger groups, the EPP and S&D, losing further ground to the benefit of the smaller factions.
- Polarization: the size of the political center (S&D, Renew, EPP) is set to become smaller, thus further complicating coalition-building in the EP.
- On regulatory topics such as energy, data, and pharmaceuticals, we expect the balance of power to shift towards pro-market forces.
🌍Happening this Month 📅
6 February: Adoption in the European Commission College: 2040 climate target.
21 February: Conference “Moving forward together: what’s next for EU mobility & transport?”, you can click here for more information and to register.
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