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Mobility in challenged regions: a draft opinion is published by the Committee of the Regions

Gordon Keymer from the Committee of the Regions has presented on 10th July 2014 his draft opinion on “mobility in geographically and demographically challenged regions“. Euromontana welcomes positively this draft opinion and was consulted during a public hearing in April (see the piece of news here) on this issue.

According to articles 174 and 379 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union, a “particular attention” must be paid to “border regions, mountainous regions, island regions, sparsely populated regions and nine outermost regions“. However, EU’s policies and programmes do not sufficiently reflect these commitments when it comes to transport and mobility.

Even if some EU funding can tackle these transport issues in theory, it is not the case in practice: even if “transport” was included in the thematic priorities of the European Structural and Investment Funds; in practice, Member States have not given the priority to transport in challenged regions. Even if the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) should promote accessibility and connectivity of all regions; in practice, 95% of the TEN-T investments are spent exclusively on the core networks, thus bringing only indirect benefits to challenged regions.

As a result, this draft opinion recommends:

– Ensuring that a “holistic, multi-modal, sustainable and coordinated approach to mobility challenges in these regions is adopted by policy-makers“.

– Recognizing that “mobility in challenged regions should not only be a matter of developing transport infrastructure and services. Mobility projects must form an integral part of development planning for the challenged regions as a whole

– Stressing “the important role of local mobility planning and that any local mobility plans should not be limited to urban areas but extended to, or at least developed in conjunction with, neighboring areas, including rural areas, as part of a wider place-based development strategy“.

– Publishing “a Green Paper on the issue in order that the topic can be fully debated by stakeholders and the EU institutions, and that appropriate responses can be developed“.

It is expected that this opinion will be adopted by the Committee of the regions in October, just before the Open Days, where this opinion will be presented.

As we have seen with our Move on Green (MOG) project, a lot remains to be done to ensure sustainable mobility in rural and mountain areas. In the following days, MOG policy guidelines will be published to encourage policy-makers to adapt their transport policy to the specific characteristics of rural and mountain areas, to be inspired by MOG good practices and transferred them into their own areas to improve sustainable mobility.

See here the draft opinion.

22 July 2014

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