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Friday, September 21, 2018


The heads of state and government of the EU met at the European Council summit in Gothenburg 15-16 June. The mass press coverage dealt with all the violence, whereas the actual issues considered got less publicity. Sustainable transport will get priority.

The four main issues discussed were:

  • Enlargement and the future of Europe
  • Sustainable development
  • EU external relations
  • European economy and employment

In the discussions on sustainable development, the European Council agreed that sustainable transport should become a priority. Although EU leaders failed to adopt concrete objectives and measures at the summit, they did agree on the following:

  • The Council of Ministers should take due account of energy, transport and environment in the 6th Framework Programme for Research and Development.
  • Transport policy must include measures against greater traffic volume, congestion, noise and pollution and encourage environmentally friendly forms of transport.
  • Public and environmentally friendly forms of transport, that is, track-bound transport such as trains and underground, and water transport will be prioritised in the EU guidelines for infrastructure.
  • In 2002, the Commission will propose a framework to enable transport fees to more closely reflect environmental costs and the costs for the community of different types of traffic. This must be completed by 2004 at the latest.

Next steps: It still is the Commission’s aim to adopt the long awaited White paper on a “common transport policy” before the summer.  This policy paper is expected to bring forward more concrete proposals on the four above-mentioned aspects. Furthermore, the incoming Belgian presidency has announced an informal joint transport and environment minister meeting to take place in September. At that meeting discussions can be expected to be brought forward in somewhat more concrete terms.

Further information available from Kristian Fuglesang on e-mail: