Mark’s EU Week for Transport 
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Last week the European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen presented her European Commission team. Among them, she has selected Romanian Rovana Plumb as Transport Commissioner-designate. As previously mentioned, transport will have an increased climate focus and this has materialised with transport falling under the purview of Frans Timmermans who is both the Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal and Commissioner-designate for Climate Action. Rovana Plumb, from the Socialist Party of Romania, will have her work cut out during her confirmation hearing as she will need to match the climate ambition expressed in her mission letter with concrete proposals as well as explaining lingering corruption charges against her in Romania. 

In any case, we will all need to stay tuned to the confirmation hearing of Rovana Plumb, slated to take place between September 30th and October 8th.

With the new European Commission announced, and the European Parliament mandate underway, we are seeing the wheels being firmly put into motion to deliver on an ambitious legislative programme. A programme which all UK stakeholders, transport or otherwise, would be wise to keep track of as we will most certainly be maintaining some form of regulatory alignment to future legislation for the foreseeable future.

This week’s song of the week, is Innoculated City by The Clash.

1. Rovana Plumb – Transport Commissioner-designate
Romanian Commission nominee Rovana Plumb has been chosen by Ursula von der Leyen to be Transport Commissioner-designate last week. In a mission letter sent to Rovana Plumb, von der Leyen outlined some key objectives for her mandate as Transport Commissioner. Among the top objectives, von der Leyen outlined her request for a comprehensive strategy on sustainable and smart mobility, extending the Emissions Trading System to the maritime sector, and play a leading role in international forums, notably in negotiations on global emission reduction within the International Civil Aviation Authority and the International Maritime Organization. These objectives highlight the strong climate aspects of the upcoming mandate for the Transport Commissioner. On non climate topics, von der Leyen wants Rovana Plumb to complete the missing infrastructure links and  the  Trans-European Transport Network, and make the most of opportunities linked to connected and automated mobility with a strong focus on digital innovation.

2. European Commission studies on multimodal passenger transport
Last week, the European Commission published two studies on multimodal passenger transport. The first  study analysed challenges of EU-wide integrated ticketing and payment systems, while the second  study focused on how to improve passengers rights when travelling by several transport modes. These studies were commissioned last year in the context of the Year of Multimodality.

3TRAN Committee update
Last week, research for the TRAN Committee on the “EU Funding of transpot projects”, this study provides an analysis of the most important EU funding instruments currently available for transport projects with the aim to evaluate the extent to which they are fulfilling strategic EU policy goals. Based on a thorough assessment of the overall performance of these instruments (through previous reports, interviews and case studies), and after identifying the main opportunities and challenges they will face in the future, the study proposes a set of recommendations on how to improve their effectiveness and contribution to EU added value in the future. The TRAN Committee also had the presentation of preliminary findings from the study on: “The EU single transport area – achievements, current challenges and future prospects”. The TRAN Committee will have an extraordinary meeting this week on 19 September. The main item for discussion will be the Mobility Package I, which the new TRAN Committee is keen to sink its teeth into. It is likely that the Committee’s official stances regarding the Package may change given the new makeup of the Committee in light of the European Elections.

4. Meetings of the Working Parties on Rail and Road
This week, the Working Parties on Rail and Road will be meeting. THe main topic of discussion on rail will be “Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on rail passengers’ rights and obligations” and on road will be “Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 1999/62/EC on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures”. 

5. 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.
  • 19 September 2019 – Extraordinary TRAN Committee
  • 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).
Mark Watts
UK transport in Europe (UKTiE)
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