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Sunday, July 22, 2018

EU ENVIRONMENT AND TRANSPORT COUNCIL DISCUSSES WHITE PAPER ON TRANSPORT POLICY

The Council of Transport and Environment Ministers met on the 14 and 15 September in Brussels and Louvain-La-Neuve.

With regard to the aims/objectives of the coordinated transport policy, the ministers discussed the target fixed by the Commission in its White Paper on Transport Policy (see previous article), which proposes to shift the balance between modes of transport by 2010 by revitalising the railways, promoting maritime and inland waterway transport and linking up the different modes of transport. Transport Commissioner, Loyola de Palacio assured that the aims set for 2010 were only one stage in an ongoing process. In the longer term, policies would be developed in order to control the growth of pollution. The Report on Transport and the Environment foresees that CO2 emissions in the transport sector will rise 40% by 2010, compared to the 1998 level. In parallel, the Kyoto Protocol requires the EU to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 8% compared to 1990 levels.

It was stated that, at present, the price signals perceived by users did not reflect the reality of the cost of the various modes of transport. A large number of delegations were in favour of defining a common pricing policy reflecting the real price for access to transport infrastructures. Sweden and Portugal were in favour of creating a Community framework for pricing. Italy, Spain, Finland and Ireland, on the other hand, were opposed to a rigid framework until there were alternative infrastructures.

Invited to reflect on ways of developing the integration of environment and transport policies, the ministers approved the role of the group of transport/environment experts set up by the Commission, whose task should be to follow up the implementation of the integration strategy and produce regular recommendations on the subject. The summary report made by the Presidency at the end of the meeting stressed that a broad range of measures needed to be implemented in an integrated manner. The implementation by 2004 of a fair and efficient pricing system at EU level aimed at covering environmental costs would be crucial in this respect.

Several of the Environment Ministers present underlined that a modal shift was not necessarily the sole response to today's environmental problems. Other measure could be taken such as technical improvements, better social conditions and better provision of alternative means of transport etc. in order to find a better balance between the different modes of transport.

Web link: Full meeting report from INTERTANKO's Brussels consultants, ADS Insight: http://www.intertanko.com/pdf/weeklynews/ADSreport.pdf

Contact: Kristian R. Fuglesang