Mark’s EU Week for Transport 
More drama in Brussels this week. The UK PM Boris Johnson set this week as the deadline for a UK-EU trade deal. The European Council meets on Thursday and Friday to discuss the deal, so we’ll find out. But it looks like he’ll be disappointed! However, the talks are likely to continue into next week.

Second, the European Commission’s ambitious 2030 Climate Target Plan took another step forward last week and will dominate EU discussions this week. It aims to deliver a cut of at least 55% in carbon emissions by 2030, and was endorsed by the European Parliament last week (although it’s pushing for 60%). The EU institutions are working on a deal to ensure it is enshrined in EU law by the end of this year.

It will have a big impact on transport, so expect a lot of revisions to existing Directives and Regulations, to ensure that target is delivered. Transport will have to step up and become a climate leader. For a sector whose emissions have increasd since 1990, that’s a huge challenge, but a huge opportunity too, and let’s not forget that target will directly and indirectly apply to UK interests.

My colleague Ryan Hunter has prepared a briefing, so you see the specific challenges we’ve identified for the transport sector.

We’re facing the biggest legislative shake up in trade, transport and environment policy in a generation or more, so lot’s of key dates on the horizon for your diary! Learn more and enjoy reading News and Views below, and watch my latest WattsUp! video

1. New 2030 Climate Target, European Parliament pushes for higher ambition
European Parliament sets higher ambition for 2030 Climate Target – This week, the European Parliament plenary also debated and voted on Jytte Guteland MEP’s (S&D, Sweden) European Climate Law report, set to legally enshrine climate neutrality by 2050. Part of this Climate Law includes an intermediary 2030 emissions reduction target that the European Commission proposed to increase to 55% last month. The European Parliament, however, voted to endorse a more ambitious 60% target that they will now need to negotiate with the European Council and the European Commission to agree on the EU’s new 2030 Climate Target. Following the endorsement of the higher target, Guteland’s report was then put to a vote and passed 392 to 161, with 142 abstentions. Ahead of the vote, Peter Liese MEP, the EPP’s ENVI Committee Coordinator, announced that the group’s position would be to abstain in protest to the increased 2030 Climate target. The Climate Law, and the 2030 Climate Target, will be negotiated in trilogues between the European Parliament, European Commission and European Council.

2. European Commission Work Programme 2021 out next week
Next week, on October 20th, the European Commission will publish its Work Programme for next year and will explain it during next week’s Plenary session. This Work Programme will, among other legisltaive initiatives, lay out how the Commission intends to enact some of its more ambitious policies in the European Green Deal and what will be laid out in the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, expected to be published on December 9th, 2020. This Strategy will also include fuel initiatives for the maritime and aviation modes.

3. ENVI Committee hearing on Brexit 
Today, the ENVI Committee hosted a public hearing on “Prospects and Perils for the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety in the Future EU-UK Relationship”. Committee Members will hear from academic, NGO and industry experts about possible divergences between EU and UK standards in the areas of the environment, public health and food safety and consider policy measures that might be adopted to combat any adverse effects. The programme shows the hearing covering the environment and public health.

4. The European Way
UKTiE Coordinator Mark Watts has written a new blog on EU policymaking, across all sectors, is changing to fall in line with a new concept of European sovereignty, otherwise known as the ‘European Way’. What are the policy drivers behind this concept?

5. UKTiE has also put together the latest timetable. We will keep this up to date as the process develops:

  • 15 October 2020 – Next ENVI Committee meeting
  • 15-16 October 2020 – European Council summit.
  • 10-11 December 2020 – European Council summit.
  • 31 December 2020 – End of current Multi Annual Financial Framework.
  • 31 December 2020 – End of Transition Period (tbc).
Mark Watts
UK transport in Europe (UKTiE)
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