MEPs are voting for more sustainability with one hand and unsustainable projects with the other. That is the message from a group of NGOs after MEPs voted to strengthen sustainability safeguards for infrastructure projects that could receive EU funding, but at the same time voted to support certain transport projects that will take Europe further away from its sustainability goals.
The World Carfree Network has written to the Commission to express concern about the future of cross-border rail services after a mass of cutbacks in international trains. It says the new timetable that came into effect on 9 December saw an end to all direct trains between Barcelona and Milan, Barcelona and Zurich, Bucharest and Belgrade, and Brussels and The Hague. There are also severe cutbacks in other transnational services, notably in the six countries of the former Yugoslavia.
"The role of the Commission in advancing the road pricing agenda cannot be underestimated", T&E Director Jos Dings stated at the Conference on fair and efficient road pricing organised by the European Commission on 5 Dec:
Road pricing is progressing because the list of its advantages is impressive. No wonder ever more countries in Europe are choosing for road user charging, and we are having a conference about its future.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) has recognised that a global market-based measure to tackle aviation’s contribution to climate change is technically feasible. T&E has said this is an important step, as it now means the only obstacle to global action on aviation emissions is political will. The EU has moved to improve the negotiating climate by proposing a delay of one year in the requirement for flights to and from the EU to comply with its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
MEPs have supported the Commission’s intention to have 20% of the 2014-20 EU budget spent on actions to fight climate change.
The Commission has issued a transport and technology communication which calls on governments to ‘break away from conventional thinking’ in an attempt to boost new forms of transport energy to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.