Last week saw Europe extend its dirtiest subsidy, the one that makes ultra-cheap air tickets possible, by at least another decade. That’s the simplest way to sum up new rules for state aid to regional airports and airlines. The text itself is, as usual, almost impossible to read for lay people, so in this piece I will try to paint the rules and their consequences as simply as possible.
State subsidies for regional airports and airlines serving them – mainly the low-cost airlines – will be allowed to continue for at least another 10 years, according to the Commission’s finalised guidelines on state aid for airports. The revised guidelines, which cannot now be challenged by MEPs, are ostensibly aimed at streamlining and tightening state aid for airports.
There are concerns for the future of lorry design proposals that would drastically improve road safety, after a vote in the European Parliament was postponed earlier this month. The Transport Committee will not decide until March 18 on the long-awaited rules governing driver visibility, lorry-crash performance and more aerodynamic, emissions-saving design.
A leading Green MEP has questioned whether sponsorship of the EU presidency by Audi and BMW could represent a conflict of interest. The German luxury carmakers provided free cars to EU member states that were responsible for leading policy negotiations over new carbon emissions targets.
MEPs this week voted to approve rail reforms that would harmonise technical specifications and create a single EU-wide authorisation procedure for rail stock. However, the European Parliament diluted the Commission’s proposal to more clearly separate companies that run rail infrastructure from those that provide freight and passenger services, reversing a previous position by its transport committee.
The European Parliament’s transport committee has postponed a vote that had been scheduled for today on design rules of lorries. The proposed design changes would make lorry cabs slightly longer, enabling a rounded, aerodynamic nose as well as great improvements to driver’s visibility and lorry crash performance. These changes have been delayed due to disagreements over whether to allow so-called ‘megalorries’  to cross national borders. The committee vote has been postponed until 18 March.
They say there are two options to push out bad news – publish it on a Friday, or bury it in a much bigger announcement. On transport fuels, the European Commission has chosen the latter strategy.
MEPs on the Environment Committee today stood up to political pressure from member states and industry by voting to endorse the European Commission’s proposal for an aviation emissions trading system covering all of Europe’s airspace. Although the proposal regulates only 35% of airline emissions compared to the original EU ETS, it crucially captures a portion of long-haul flights – where most of aviation’s greenhouse gases originate.
This joint declaration was presented by Transport & Environment, the Mayor of London, the European Transport Workers’ Federation, Olympic cycling gold medallist Chris Boardman and other key organisations, calling on the European Parliament to take urgent action against dangerous lorry designs which lead to hundreds of avoidable deaths every year. The declaration was presented to Phil Bennion MEP, one of the leading MEPs on the lorry weights and dimensions file.
In a joint declaration presented today, Transport & Environment, alongside the Mayor of London, the European Transport Workers’ Federation, Olympic cycling gold medallist Chris Boardman and many other organisations have called on the European Parliament to seize the once-in-a-generation chance to enforce life, and fuel-saving lorry designs. The declaration was presented to Phil Bennion MEP, one of the leading MEPs on the lorry weights and dimensions file.