Mark’s EU Week for Transport 

Whilst the terrible toll of COVID and delays to the roll out of the vaccines dominate the headlines here in Europe, the work of the European institutions continues apace, not least in delivering the sustainable, smart and resilient recovery for the transport sector.

For the next six months, that work will be under the leadership of the Portuguese Presidency, who set out their priorities for transport this week (see below).  It’s going to be an incredibly busy year, with 82 policy and legislative measures for transport alone, in the context of the European Green Deal.

And of course, developments across the pond are likely to re-enforce the impact of those measures, in light of a stronger transatlantic alliance, which will be particularly evident in this area.

Although the UK has left the EU, this all still matters a lot. It’s becoming increasingly clear that many EU standards will continue to apply to the UK, for those that export goods and services to the EU or Northern Ireland of course, but domestically too.  And that’s because we learnt last week that the level playing field provisions will be actively enforced (a specific legal instrument will be unveiled the European Commission by in the coming weeks) and due to the increasing role of the EU in shaping global standards.

Working with our partners in the EU, the 27 EU Countries, and other third-countries, we are planning to make real progress this year in rebuilding the relationship. But we plan to do much more than that.

We want to lay the foundations for future cooperation, and help accelerate the shift to sustainable, smart and resilient mobility where the UK plays a leadership role in technology and know-how, particularly in the run up to the G7 and COP26.

UKTiE is your springboard to influence the EU and the global transport agenda. This is a huge task, and I make no apology for repeating that we really can achieve this if we move forward together.

So please join us on Friday when we’ll host our reconvened roundtable, in association with UKMis and DfT, for an opportunity to both learn more and contribute your ideas.  

1. Transport Commissioner Vălean discusses the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy in the TRAN Committee
The EU’s new Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, that sets the path towards greener and smarter EU transport system, was debated by Transport Committee MEPs with Transport Commissioner Vălean yesterday. Commissioner Vălean stated that “Greening mobility is a prerequisite, a license for transport sector to grow and remain competitive in the future”, adding that a sustainable path is needed, firstly, to survive the current crises and then to achieve 90% reduction in the transport sector’s emissions by 2050. While TRAN MEPs welcomed the new mobility strategy, some of them voiced their concerns over ‘too ambitious’ goals, given the current context of pandemic and constraints in further technological innovations. Further concerns raised by MEPs pertained to social conditions for workers, in particular in the aviation sector, adequate EU financing for new goals, ensuring that no consumer group is left behind bearing the cost of transformation, further incentives for cyclists, but also electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and fair competition in the railway sector.

2. Portuguese Presidency presents transport priorities to the TRAN Committee
Speaking to the TRAN Committee today, the Portuguese Presidency presented their programme for the transport sector. During the presentation, the Presidency stated that it would focus on the following three proposals: reducing CO2 emissions from transport in the context of the Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy, look at the Single European Sky initiative,  and move forward on Eurovignette. The Portuguese Presidency will run until the end of June 2021 at which point Slovenia will take over the Presidency until the end of 2021. The Presidency’s presentation can be viewed here.

3. UKTiE’s Reconvened Roundtable – 29 January
This Friday, the reconvened UK Transport in Europe roundtable on the new UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, in association with UKMis with DfT will take place. The roundtable will be your chance to be briefed on the agreement, and discuss how we can work together to make a success of the new UK-EU relationship for transport. If you would like to join us, please do let us know by clicking here!

4. Sustainable and Smart Mobility: deep dive
UKTiE Chief Executive Mark Watts has taken a deep drive into the new Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy that was published by the European Commission in December 2020. Mark has identified six key takeaways you simply must know. The staff working document that was released alongside the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy provides an essential blueprint for European, and indeed global transport policy and regulation for the next decade or more, and an indispensable guide to where the Commission is still looking for new ideas and fresh solutions. Mark also discusses the 82 concrete proposals, laid out within this document, many of them will become EU law or global standards over the next two or three years.

5. UKTiE has also put together the latest timetable. We will keep this up to date as the process develops:

  • 4 February 2021:  ENVI Committee meeting.
  • 24-25 February 2021:  TRAN Committee meeting.
  • 25 February 2021:  ENVI Committee meeting.
  • 29 January 2021 – Reconvened joint UKTiE and UKMiS roundtable.
Mark Watts
UK Transport in Europe (UKTiE)
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