UK TRANSPORT AND BREXIT NEWS & VIEWS NO. 158

Mark’s EU Week for Transport 
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WattsUp!

The new year has started with geo-political challenges on many fronts, from the on-going global pandemic to being on the edge of war in Ukraine, and domestic crises, from the Downing Street parties held during lockdown to the energy price hikes. 

It’s easy, on days like these, to forget the long term, the strategic and the big picture.  

But the climate challenge remains the challenge of our generation, and the follow up from COP26 is just as important as the preparation, if we are to see the many positive commitments and declarations made in Glasgow turned into action. 

And strengthening our ties with our allies, friends and neighbours, on days like these, who share our values is essential if we are to make zero emissions a reality and keep global warming below 1.5°C. And whilst the UK continues to hold the COP Presidency up until COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh later this year, it’s vital that UKTiE’s work on behalf of the UK transport sector in Brussels, to strengthen our relationships with EU institutions, European Countries and European stakeholders, in partnership with the UK Government, goes on. 

So in March we’ll build on our successful pre COP26 meeting we held in London with strong participation from industry, local government, devolved administrations, European Governments and the European Commissions, with a two-day delegation visit to Brussels. We’ll be sharing best practice, including the UK’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan for Transport, the EU’s Fit for 55 Package (see below), and the second package of proposals from the European Commission to support a transition to cleaner, greener transport following the publication of the Commission’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy in December 2020 (see below), and we’ll learn, listen and act together.

Do let us know if you would like to learn more or participate in the delegation visit to Brussels by joining UKTiE. 

Back by popular demand is our song of the week: this week Matt Munro’s On Days Like These.  Bonus points if you know which film’s opening scene it appeared in (without looking at the link!).

1. TRAN Committee elects Chairs and Vice Chairs for remainder of mandate
The TRAN Committee has re-elected Chair Karima Delli MEP (Greens, France) and MEPs also re-elected István Ujhelyi (S&D, Hungary), Jens Gieseke (EPP, Germany), Andriks Ameriks (S&D, Latvia) and Jan-Christoph Oetjen (Renew, Germany) as TRAN vice-chairs. The re-elected Chairs and Vice Chairs will serve for the remainder of the European Parliament’s mandate (the next 2.5 years).

2. European Commission publishes second transport package
On December 14th, the European Commission published four proposals that will modernise the EU’s transport system by supporting the transition to cleaner, greener, and smarter mobility, in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal. These proposals, covering TEN-T, Increasing long-distance and cross-border rail traffic, updating Intelligent transport services for drivers, and the Urban Mobility Framework, form the second package of proposals to support a transition to cleaner, greener transport following the publication of the Commission’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy in December 2020.

3. UKTiE to showcase UK best practice with in person visit to Brussels
UKTiE members will be headed to Brussels for in-person engagement in Brussels in March. During this visit, UKTiE members will meet with EU policymakers and stakeholders with a view of engaging on the Fit for 55 package and its transport relevant files such as FuelEU Maritime, FuelEU Aviation, Revision of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive and the Energy Taxation Directive. This is on top of other ongoing work such as the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy that the Commission has been working on since before the Fit for 55 Strategy. Engaging on current EU legislation will not be the only priority with members  keen to showcase UK best practice in the transport sector with its Transport Decarbonisation Plan that was published last year. Building on the COP26 Transport Declaration and the momentum generated in the transport sector from COP26, UKTiE members will ensure that a UK perspective is shared and heard in the context of ongoing EU work.

4. TRAN Committee study on the future of transport in the context of the COVID Recovery Plan 
A study commissioned by the TRAN Committee, titled ‘the future of transport in the context of the Recovery Plan’. The study identifies The EU’s main transport policy objectives as being: (i) promote sustainable forms of transport, (ii) improve the digitalisation of transport, and (iii) make the transport system more resilient. Based on an analysis of EU policy documents, the study found 29 EU priorities in the field of transport that were analysed for this study. The study provides the TRAN Committee with an overview of the above-mentioned transport priorities and is a preliminary assessment of the Recovery Plan’s contribution to the transport sector and the transition to a smart and green transport system. This briefing will be presented to the TRAN Committee during its next meeting on 2 February.

5. Next TRAN Committee meeting
The next TRAN Committee meeting will take place today (2 February). The draft agenda shows that MEPs will discuss the following items:

  • Exchange of views on the FuelEU Maritime file.
  • Presentation of the French Presidency’s programme and its transport-related aspects with the French Minister for Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari.

6. 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:

  • 2-3 February 2022: Next TRAN Committee meeting.
  • 2-3 February 2022: Next ENVI Committee meeting.
  • 3 February 2022: Joint ENVI/TRAN Committee meeting.
  • 7 February 2022: TRAN Committee.
  • 21-22 March 2022: UKTiE members visit to Brussels.
  • 2 June 2022: Next Transport Council.
Mark Watts
UK Transport in Europe (UKTiE)
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