The Council of the EU today passed the infrastructure for alternative fuels law, failing to boost the development of a low-carbon European transport network. The enacted law drops all binding targets for electric charging points or hydrogen. Transport & Environment has said the law is a ‘dead letter’ because it will do nothing to set a level playing field for alternative fuels to fairly compete with oil in transport energy, and called for a broad strategy for clean e-mobility.
The Commission is consulting on whether EU rules on combined transport are working or need updating. Combined transport – which is generally taken to mean freight movements that are largely by rail or water but with the start and end by road – is regulated by an EU directive dating from 1992. It aims to promote combined transport through reducing restrictions, eliminating authorisation procedures, and offering financial support through fiscal incentives for certain combined transport operations.
This article was first published in Parliament Magazine on 13 June 2014The Ukraine crisis highlights the urgent need to rethink Europe’s energy use and dependence. Two thirds of EU oil use is in transport, and transport itself is still almost 100 per cent dependent on oil. A third of the EU’s oil comes from Russia, entailing a massive capital transfer of around €100bn a year.
A project to create the world’s first ‘sustainable motorway’ has been launched in the Netherlands by two environmental organisations, T&E members Milieudefensie and Natuur & Milieu.
The EU’s auditors have criticised transport spending again, this time saying public transport projects funded by the EU are not attracting enough users, and that not enough social and environmental benefits are resulting.
The European Parliament and Member States, concluding final negotiations today on the new fuel infrastructure law, failed to set-out a clear pathway for a low-carbon European transport network. Transport & Environment expresses disappointment at this wasted opportunity, which contains no binding targets for low-carbon charging infrastructure and does little to help a transition towards sustainable e-mobility.
This paper describes Transport & Environment’s (T&E’s) views on the Commission’s proposals. Whilst we support technology neutral policy we also recognise that emerging technologies require support to compete with the use of oil for transport. T&E therefore welcomes the Commission’s initiative, but believes that the detailed proposal has shortcomings. This paper addresses the key limitations and presents solutions to facilitate a sustainable shift to e-mobility
The transport protocol of the Alpine Convention has entered into force in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein and Slovenia, having been ratified by the EU over the summer. The Alpine Convention is an international treaty signed by the eight Alpine countries and the EU, aimed at protecting the Alps. Its transport protocol was agreed in 2000, and has a clause that states: ‘The contracting parties shall refrain from constructing any new large-capacity roads for transalpine transport.’ However, Italy held out against ratification until it was persuaded to sign a year ago, and Switzerland has refused to sign the transport protocol, leaving its legal standing in some doubt.
While all eyes in Brussels are usually focused on three leading actors – the Commission, Parliament and Council – there are several other lesser-known EU institutions playing supporting roles. In the wings we have the EU Court of Auditors, which has repeatedly published scathing – and revealing – reviews on the use of EU funds for transport infrastructure. But will the stars of the EU show listen to their critics before the spotlight is turned on the new transport spending policies?
The Commission appears to have re-launched its trans-European transport networks (TEN-T) strategy. The transport commissioner Siim Kallas described an agreement last month between Commission officials, MEPs and representatives of member states as ‘a historic agreement to create a powerful European transport network’. Yet the agreement merely takes the existing TEN-T up to 2020, and even then there is likely to be less money available than will be needed to fund all the EU’s list of transport infrastructure projects.