Fresh faces, Swedish solutions & VW velocity

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MEPs arrived in Strasbourg to take their seats in the new European Parliament. The transport committee is nearly ready to start work: here’s the list of all the members and here are all the ones with twitter handles.

TRAN will have its first meeting tomorrow and will elect its chair. Incumbent Karima Delli is a racing certainty to stay in her role, given that her Greens/EFA is on track to be awarded the leading role on the committee. Have a look at this profile of the French lawmaker.

About 10% of the legislative files left over by the last Parliament are transport-based. The head of the Commission’s transport directorate, Henrik Hololei, said the agenda ahead is “ambitious and challenging”.

Member states struck down a European Commission plan to favour WiFi over 5G in the development of connected cars. EU Commissioner Violeta Bulc said that the established technology would “save lives” but 21 countries, including France and Germany, disagreed. Back in April, Bulc told us in an interview that this issue is all about safety.

Boeing will pay out $100m to the families of the victims involved in the two fatal 737 MAX crashes. The US company said its employees would also be able to donate to the fund and that all contributions would be matched.

The Swedish Transport Authority has done some in-depth crash testing of motorhomes, with disturbing results. Results show that drivers have a “very high risk of dying or being seriously hurt” and the body advised manufacturers to have a complete rethink of vehicle design.

Sweden’s penchant for collecting road tolls and congestion fees has caught the eye of Finland’s new government, which wants to change the law so charges would be legal. Green climate minister Krista Mikkonen says public transport and air quality would improve. One authority said it would increase the cost of driving by between €700 and €1,000.

The EIB is lending €14m to a Swedish-led effort to switch from diesel to petrol for outboard motors, while the world’s first battery-powered hybrid cruise ship set sail in Norway. The Roald Amundsen can carry 500 passengers and promises emission cuts of 20%.

In mergers and competition news, the Commission approved a €70m Dutch support scheme that is meant to shift freight from road to rail, as well as the purchase of embattled airline Flybe by a new consortium. 

Airbus gave the public its first look of its Ariane 6 rocket and how it is assembled. Stay tuned to the site for a deep-dive feature on where the EU space race is heading.

French authorities are now free to scrap an 80km speed limit and return to 90km after the government abandoned the idea in May. Going on a road trip in France this summer? Check out this map of which departments are keeping or ditching the lower limit. 

Cyclists flocked to Brussels en masse at the weekend for the Grand Départ of the Tour de France. The atmosphere was incredible but please be on the look out for a special bike stolen from the city centre, which was meant to be auctioned for charity.

And who says electric cars lack power? VW’s mighty ID.R racer smashed a 20-year-old record previously held by a Formula One car. Watch in awe at the speed here.

What else I’m reading/watching

  • Europe thinks like China in building its own battery industry [Bloomberg]
  • Switch to electric cars hit by ‘poor’ charging infrastructure [FT]
  • KLM tells its customers: take the train instead [The Times]
  • India wants to be the “Detroit of EVs” [Quartz]
  • Houston, We have a problem [Netflix]

Next stops

MEPs meet in Brussels 10 July for the first transport committee gathering and to elect their chair

I’ll be in Finland for the environment council on 11-12 July, expect coverage on e-mobility and batteries. Saunas too

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