Mark’s EU Week for Transport
As Parliament prepares to be prorogued in the UK tonight, Brussels prepares for European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen to announce her European Commission team. Following this, hearings will be set for these nominees in the European Parliament. These hearings will further allow us to glean new insights into the direction of EU policymaking for the years ahead.
As previously stated here in previous editions, the climate change debate will be firmly at transport’s doorstep in the years to come. We have our clearest indication of this coming in the form of a special Transport Council on September 20th to discuss the transport aspects of climate change (more on that below). Especially ahead of the UN Climate Change Summit at the end of September in New York and COP25 in December in Chile, the EU is hoping to take the lead of climate change measures across the board, including in transport where it recognises the need for more ambitious measures. These will be topics that will be raised during the eventual hearing of the Transport Commissioner nominee who will certainly need to address climate change with concrete policy measures when facing the TRAN Committee.
So as one Parliament prepares for prorogation, another prepares for its role in shaping what the European Commission will look like and, by extension, what the vision for future proposals will look like.
This week’s song of the week, is I Fought the Law by The Clash.
1. European Commission watch
It is expected that European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen will announce her European Commission team on Tuesday. Over the weekend, a few leaked lists made the rounds that purported to show what von der Leyen’s European Commission would look like. One such leak, showed that the next Transport Commissioner will come from Romania and will be either Dan Nica or Rovana Plumb.
2. Special Transport Council – September 20th
On September 20th, there will be a special Transport Council meeting where the Council will hold an extensive policy debate on the crucial issue of transport and climate change. The discussion will focus on how to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transport, in line with the EU’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. The debate will build on the European Commission’s communication ‘A Clean Planet for all‘, published in November 2018. The Finnish Presidency have compiled a useful background paper in the build-up to this meeting. The paper states that “transport policy has become one of the core elements of EU climate policy in recent years. At the same time, climate and environmental objectives are shaping the future of transport in important ways. In order to achieve significant emission reductions and start the transformation of transport, concrete and ambitious measures and a holistic approach to all modes of transportation are required.” The two key questions for all sessions of this meeting are: 1) Is the current transport policy compatible with the long-term vision of achieving climate neutrality? Which measures would allow the transport sector to decisively contribute to climate neutrality by 2050? and 2)Do you agree that a long-term decarbonisation strategy for transport would allow for a holistic pathway that would enable the EU to achieve climate neutrality? Should thestrategy include all modes of transport or should sector-specific strategies be created? For more information, please do get in touch here.
3. European Commission updates No Deal Brexit preparedness
Last week, the European Commission announced that it will give financial help to European Union businesses, workers, and farmers in the case of a no-deal Brexit. The European Commission also updated its Brexit preparedness and contingency measures in light of the UK’s 31st October exit date. The updates included proposals to extend the basic connectivity measures in land transport and aviation to 31 July 2020 and 24 October 2020, respectively. For more information, please do get in touch here.
4. 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.
- 20 September 2019 – Special Transport Council
- 23-24 September 2019 – Next TRAN Committee meetings
- 25-26 September 2019 – Next ENVI Committee meetings
- 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)