Mark’s EU Week for Transport
1. New European Commission President-elect shares transport priorities
Ahead of her successful confirmation vote by the European Parliament last week, European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen shared her political guidelines with MEPs. These guidelines paint a picture of what von der Leyen’s agenda as European Commission President would look like. Her top priority is committing to a European Green Deal, what this will mean is that she wants Europe to become the first climate neutral continent. Under that ambitious umbrella, she wants to move “further and faster” to reach zero emissions by 2050. The first sector she references, in this new climate commitment is transport. Specifically, von der Leyen has stated that she would “propose to extend the Emissions Trading System to cover the maritime sector and reduce the free allowances allocated to airlines over time.” She also makes explicit reference to extending the Emissions Trading Scheme to traffic. Von der Leyen also references her desire to “introduce a Carbon Border Tax to avoid carbon leakage” which may affect cross-border transport in all modes.
On emissions, von der Leyen says: “I want to reduce emissions by at least 50% by 2030. However, to achieve real impact the world has to move together. The EU will lead international negotiations to increase the level of ambition of other major emitters by 2021. By this date, I commit myself to putting forward a comprehensive plan to increase the European Union’s target for 2030 towards 55% in a responsible way.”
What we can expect, based on these guidelines, is a new Commission that will be tackling transport issues as a matter of priority within a wider push for more climate action. What this will mean is that UK transport companies will also need to follow the lead committee on these issues, the Environment Committee in the European Parliament. Following the Transport Committee will no longer just be enough.
2. Finnish Presidency and Commissioner Bulc to meet with the Transport Committee
Wednesday, the Finnish Presidency will present its priorities to the Transport Committee. Sanna Marin, Finnish Minister for Transport and Communications, and Katri Kulmuni, Finnish Minister for Economic Affairs will present the Finnish Presidency priorities. Following this, Commissioner Bulc will also meet with the Transport Committee to give a presentation and deliver feedback on the Transport Council.
The Finns have also called an informal Transport Council for September 20th to address climate action for all modes of transport with a specific focus on aviation and shipping.
3. Finnish Presidency to meet with the Environment Committee
Today and tomorrow, the Finnish Presidency will also meet with the Environment Committee to discuss their environment priorities for their Presidency. Jari Leppä, Finnish Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, and Krista Mikkonen, Finnish Minister of Environment and Climate Change, will be presenting these priorities to the Committee.
We should anticipate unprecedented levels of activity on transport and climate in the new European Commission and European Parliament. As always, UKTiE will continue to be fully involved in the work of the European institutions in the months and years ahead. Should you require any further information on the expected areas of focus of the new European Commission or the new European Parliament, then please do get in touch.