Mark’s EU Week for Transport 

UK Transport in Europe works hard with the UK Government and the UK’s devolved administrations to make a success of our new relationship with our European friends, for the mutual benefit of everyone in the transport sector and all those we serve.

It’s been a rollercoaster year for transport, coping with the unprecedented challenge of the global pandemic and planning for the post-pandemic recovery. But that’s not stopped the sector also planning for a smarter and more sustainable future. Indeed transport has a key role to play in building back better and meeting our COP commitments as well as our 2030 and 2050 goals. Meanwhile the digitalisation of transport promises to transform the experience for passengers, consumers, companies, towns, cities and regions for the better. If anything the pandemic has underlined the need for change, to make transport more resilient and fit for the future.

Our mission is to help the UK sector make a full contribution to these developments, to be not just thought-leaders, but the architects and engineers of the change we all need. And to fulfil that mission we need strong international partnerships.

So UKTiE has in the past year forged effective working relationships with the EU institutions, EU Member States, EEA and EFTA  countries, and through initiatives such as our multi-modal COP working group and our pre COP event contributed to the success of the G7 and COP26, with our call for a renewed commitment to a more holistic, strategic and sustainable approach to transport policy being reflected in the final communiques.

Next year we will strengthen those relationships,  continue to contribute to UK, European and global transport policy developments, and foster smarter, faster and more joined up thinking across the modes.

In particular, we will help make sure the voice of UK transport is heard as the regulatory landscape changes, with the EU’s Green Deal and Fit for 55 Package, the UK’s Transport Decarbonisation Planreaching critical stages (see below), and the on-going work internationally, including the UK Presidency of COP, which continues until COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, and the International Transport Forum in Leipzig, as well as other international fora.

Finally, may I invite you to join us, to help enhance that voice, deepen that contribution, and strengthen those relationships?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

1. Fit for 55 enters critical period as French Presidency starts in January
As we have covered since July, the EU’s Fit for 55 package, with crucial transport files such as FuelEU Maritime, ReFuel Aviation, Renewable Energy Directive and the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Directive, has well and truly entered the EU legislative process. With ambitious timelines to begin institutional negotiations in the backend of 2022, the European Parliament and Council will begin 2022 in overdrive to get their respective positions on several of these files agreed by the time the summer recess hits us in 2022. As 2022 promises to be a busy legislative period, we make a point below on where the crucial transport files stand in the Parliamentary process:

  •  FuelEU Maritime – EP TRAN (responsible)
    • Debates – 2 February 2022, 20 April 2022, 16 May 2022
    • Committee Vote – 16 May 2022
    • EP Plenary vote – 12 September 2022 (tbc)
  •  ReFuel Aviation – EP TRAN (responsible)
    • Debates – 28 February 2022, 20 April 2022
    • Committee Vote – May 2022
    • EP Plenary vote – 4 July 2022
  • Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Directive – EP TRAN (responsible)
    • Debates – 3 March 2022, 20 April 2022
    • Committee Vote –  16 May 2022
    • EP Plenary vote – 4 July 2022 (tbc)
During the passage of these Fit for 55 proposals UKTiE will be working to exchange best practice between the UK and our European partners, in particular in relation to the UK’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

2. French Presidency to start in January
As the Slovenian Presidency draws to a close, the French Presidency (which starts 1 January 2022) has already begun officially sharing its Presidency programme as well as its priorities for the coming 6 months. The French would like to make significant progress on several Fit for 55 package files in order for the Parliament and the Council to reach their respective positions by Summer 2022, which would allow for triologue negotiations between the 3 EU institutions to commence in the backend of 2022. Although the specific programme is yet to be known, we can tell from the publicised priorities that France wants to kick the post-pandemic recovery of the EU into a higher gear and will also focus on big ticket items such as reforming Schengen through a new Migration Pact, concluding the Conference on the Future of Europe and doing its part to steer the Fit for 55 package through what promises to be an arduous Council process.

3. First TRAN Committee of 2022
Although the calendar of TRAN Committees taking place in 2022 is not yet known, we do know the first one will take place on 13 January 2022. The agenda for the meeting shows that MEPs will hold an exchange of views with Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, on the “Fit for 55” package. This exchange of views will likely provide an update on the legislative process as well as a state of play of discussions in the transport-relevant files.

4. European Parliament midterm reshuffle
As we approach the 2.5 years midterm of the European Parliament, a reshuffle is expected that will affect the Presidency of the European Parliament as well as, potentially, several Committee chairmanships. Due to the agreement between the EPP, S&D, Renew and the Greens which saw David Sassoli of the S&D installed as President of the European Parliament for the first half of the mandate, it is expected that Roberta Metsola of the EPP will take over from Sassoli for the second half of the mandate. It is not yet known what Committee chairmanships will be involved in the reshuffle, but several could change hands. Another point of interest to keep an eye on as concerns the balance of power in the European Parliament concerns the future of the far right ID group which could yet become the third largest in the European Parliament with some unattached parties expected to join sometime in the new year.

5. UKTiE has also put together the latest timetable of key transport and supply chain developments in Europe. We will keep this up to date as the process develops:

  • 1 January 2022: Start of the French Presidency.
  • 13 January 2022: Next TRAN Committee.
  • 2 June 2022: Next Transport Council.
Mark Watts
UK Transport in Europe (UKTiE)

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