This letter was first published by the Financial Times on February 19 2014.Sir, it is lazy of the Financial Times to brand critics of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership as “antitrade campaigners” (“No time to waste on transatlantic trade”, editorial, February 17). Two examples should suffice to illustrate that the controversy around TTIP is not so much about trade as about legitimacy and democracy.
Aviation is the most carbon intensive transport mode, yet European member states exempt airlines from fuel tax and airline tickets completely from VAT. Now, with its aviation state aid guidelines, the Commission has decided to open the floodgates and expand operating aid to airports in an effort to boost their turnover.
The European Commission today published its final guidelines on state aid for aviation, which will allow regional airports and the airlines serving them to keep receiving subsidies worth an estimated €2-3 billion a year.
Foreign airlines that failed to comply with the EU’s aviation emissions trading system (ETS) must be forced to pay for their pollution, environmental NGOs have told authorities in Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK.
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.
In its most significant vote on the 2030 climate and energy package, the European Parliament today rebuked the European Commission and sent a strong signal to member states about the importance of complete carbon accounting under the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD), the EU law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport fuels.
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.
The European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted overwhelmingly today to support and strengthen some elements of the Commission’s proposal for monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of shipping emissions. Transport & Environment welcomes the inclusion of the air pollutant NOx in the monitoring measure. However, MEPs rejected the chance to use ship efficiency as an accurate measure of emissions, which is the key to improving the sector’s environmental performance.