White Paper on transport: EP calls for major changes

On 12 February 2003, the Parliament adopted a report by Juan de Dios Izquierdo Collado (PES,E) calling for significant changes to the Commission’s 2001 White Paper.

Parliament generally supports the measures proposed by the Commission, but believes that they don’t go far enough towards achieving the objectives and averting budgetary wrangling. A number of amendments were adopted, related to different areas of European transport policy:

  • Road transport

Parliament proposes to set up a European road safety agency and urges the Commission to adopt the third Road Safety Action Programme 2002-2010 as soon as possible. Concerning infrastructure development, parliament proposes the creation of high-capacity north-south and east-west corridors.

  • Railways

Parliament calls for the priority development and improvement of the high-capacity north-south and east-west rail corridors in accordance with the TEN and TINA plans. Furthermore, a network solely devoted to fast freight transport should be created, incorporating abandoned lines.

  • Maritime and ports

Parliament urges the Commission and the Member States to press within the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for a thorough review of international rules on liability in maritime transport. Co-ordinated measures are needed to boost the role of ports as transport network hubs.

  • Short sea shipping and inland waterways

The regulatory framework should be simplified, and equal conditions of competition in and between ports be created.

  • Aviation

Parliament calls on the Commission to work within the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for the introduction of an aviation fuel tax. It welcomes the proposal to establish a Joint Transatlantic Aviation Agreement, as a basis for a future regulatory framework for global air transport services.

  • Modal shift

Parliament supports the Commission in its efforts to increase the proportion of safer and more environmentally friendly modes. It takes the view that a shift of goods from road to other modes of transport should be stimulated by improving the service quality of these other modes, and in no way by negatively affecting the competitiveness of road Transport.

  • Infrastructure charging

Parliament considers that pricing instruments should be used to cover infrastructure costs and external costs and not to force a modal shift. It therefore calls on the Commission to ensure surplus charging income is earmarked for investments in the same transport infrastructure that generated the income, and for the reduction of the negative externalities that are caused by that mode of transport. It says charging should be introduced for all modes of transport at the same time.

  • Funding

Parliament proposes setting up a new European transport fund to ensure that the Union’s policies are financially viable and credible.

  • Enlargement

Parliament calls on the Commission to submit a Communication on the transport situation in the accession countries, the level of sustainability, the incorporation of the acquis communautaire and the effect this has had so far.

 

On 12 September 2001, the Commission presented its White Paper on transport, proposing some 60 measures to refocus its policy in the area. The new policy aims at making European transport more sustainable and avoid huge economic losses due to congestion, pollution and accidents.

The Transport Council adopted its comments in June 2002, and the Parliament's Transport Committee passed its report on 28 November 2002 by 25 votes to 9, with 12 abstentions (see

EURACTIV 3 December 2002).

 

The procedure is now finished. The Commission is expected to come up with legislative proposals along the lines set out in the White Paper.

 

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