Mark’s EU Week for Transport
Now that the dust has begun to settle on the EU elections, the European Parliament groups are already setting policy priorities for the upcoming mandate. In that vain, in the update below we have laid out some of the manifesto promises that were made by the European groups in the election.
The overarching caveat of the manifesto analysis is that we do not yet know which group will get which EU top job, with the Presidents of the European Parliament, European Council and European Commission all in play and likely to be divided across the EPP, S&D and ALDE. However, we can expect some serious energy and climate concessions to the Green group who, along with ALDE, will exercise an increased degree of influence as they will most likely be included in whatever working coalition emerges from the group discussions.
What we know is that transport legislation is increasingly cross-cutting and is also increasingly affected by cross-cutting climate and energy legislation. The Greens and ALDE made climate, energy and transport commitments central to their manifestos which will be reflected in the European Parliament’s policy priorities with ALDE and the Greens likely to have senior membership of the ENVI, ITRE and TRAN committee.
During this time of change in the European Parliament, we are anticipating a fragmented legislative environment, with less group voting and more individual positions taken up by MEPs. This presents an opportunity but also a challenge to those of us seeking to have our voices heard in the process. We will also be seeking to engage with our new U.K. MEPs but also with non-U.K. MEPs in order to feed in our ideas into what the European Parliament should be doing on transport policy in accordance with our UKTiE vision.
And finally, I am delighted that all the work of our UKTiE Patron, Jacqui Foster MEP, has been recognised by Her Majesty the Queen who has awarded her the title of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her public and political service. Jacqui has been a dear friend to UKTiE and an effective advocate for the transport industry in the UK and Europe. Congratulations to Dame Jacqueline Foster OBE.
This week’s song of the week, is There is Nothin’ Like A Dame by Rodgers & Hammerstein.
1. European Parliament launches working groups on future priorities
What these working groups show is that transport will be one of the key priorities for the European Parliament over the next five years. According to Politico, “Parliament’s leaders agreed on Tuesday on the less controversial questions of what they want the EU to prioritize for the next five years. That may or may not help overcome a stalemate on who’s going to be Parliament’s candidate for the Commission presidency, but regardless, it’s a means of provoking the European Council, which is set to discuss the EU’s strategic direction for the next five years at its next meeting, too.” According to the agreement, the five working groups are as follows: 1) Environment and biodiversity, sustainable mobility, fighting climate change and zero waste, food, health, 2) Economic and social policy, jobs, trade, competition policy and industrial policy, taxation, EMU [Economic and Monetary Union] reform, 3) Innovation, digitalization, AI, single market, consumer protection, 4) Rule of law and fundamental rights, security, fight against terrorism, border and migration, and 5) Europe in the world, development, defense, multilateralism, EU Africa relations, enlargement.
2. Transport Council priorities
There was a Transport Council on June 6th, Violeta Bulc tweeted that the priorities for discussion were: 1) Mobility Package III proposals on electronic freight, 2) TEN-T streamlining, 3) Directive on the use of hired goods vehicles, 4) Road charging Directive, and 5) Study on internalisation of external costs. A link to post-meeting press conference can be found here.
3. Green priorities for the upcoming European Parliament mandate
Following the European elections, the expectation is that the Greens will have an increased level of influence in the European Parliament, in general, and on environment and transport, specifically. According to Politico, among the top seven Green priorities for the upcoming European Parliament mandate are ‘shipping and aviation emissions’. On shipping, there has emerged a consensus on the need to reduce emissions and this discussion, while normally left at the IMO level, is moving to the EU level where parties like the Greens are demanding urgent and regional action. On aviation, there was a consensus among the top candidates from all European Parliament groups from the EPP, S&D, ALDE, and Greens that there needs to be a tax on flying. The Greens believe that such a tax would create a level playing field between trains and air traffic, therefore creating a real alternative to air travel.
4. Transport & Environment study reveals that luxury cruise giant emits 10 times more air pollution (SOx) than all of Europe’s cars
In a new analysis by Transport & Environment it was found that “Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest luxury cruise operator, emitted nearly 10 times more sulphur oxide (SOX) around European coasts than did all 260 million European cars in 2017”. The report further found that “NOX emissions from cruise ships in Europe also heavily impact some cities , equivalent to about 15% of the nitrogen oxides (NOX) emitted by Europe’s passenger car fleet in a year”. Following this analysis, Transport & Environment argues that “Europe should implement a zero-emission port standard as soon as possible, this could then be extended to other ship types.” This analysis comes ahead of a new European Parliament mandate where the Greens, bolstered by their electoral success, will certainly argue for further regulation on shipping emissions.
5. 70% of road deaths in European cities are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists
The European Transport Safety Council reports that 70% of road deaths in European cities are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and that “tackling urban road safety must be a key priority for the European Union and European countries over the next decade”. The report further highlights that “changes in mobility patterns might have a profound effect on urban mobility and urban road safety in the future. The restricted space in urban areas must be used intelligently and effectively to enable increased mobility without putting road users in danger.”
6. European Commission publishes suggestions for member states to tweak transport policy
Last week the European Commission published a series of country-by-country recommendations including guidance on how to improve transport links and boost sustainability through shrewd investments. These recommendations show that sustainable transport and mobility is increasingly becoming an area of focus among the EU institutions.
7. Why the European Union was the biggest winner of the European elections
In his most recent blog, Mark writes that looking at all the results and the key questions from before the election, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that the European Union was the big winner of the European elections with the European Parliament primed to continue constructing the European project for the next five years at least.
8. UKTiE has also put together the latest timetable for Brexit. We will keep this up to date as the process develops:
- 29 March 2017 – A50 triggered.
- 5 April 2017 – European Parliament adopted Brexit guidelines.
- 22 May 2017 – Brexit negotiating directives approved by Council.
- 19 June 2017 – Negotiations formally began.
- 23 March 2018– European Council agreed guidelines on the future trading relationship.
- 23-26 May 2019 – European Parliament election.
- 2 July – First meeting of the European Parliament.
- 8 July – First meeting of the TRAN Committee.
- 31 October 2019 – The UK will formally leave the EU. (tbc)
- 01 November 2019 – Start of new European Commission mandate. (tbc)
- 31 December 2020 – End of Transition Period (tbc).
UK transport in Europe (UKTiE)