The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has organised a public hearing on 6th March 2015 to hear stakeholders’ feedback on its draft position paper. Indeed, the European Parliament has asked the EESC to submit a position paper for the end of April to provide ideas for the future revision of the 2011 White Paper on Transport.
Euromontana’s position on transport:
Euromontana took the opportunity of this public hearing to underline two main elements. First, even if the EESC regrets that the urban mobility is not a priority as such in the EU transport policy, Euromontana reminded that several EU programmes are already focusing on urban mobility. As according to OECD, there is still a majority of population who lives in predominantly rural or intermediate regions, there is the absolute need to insist also on the transport modes between urban and rural areas, but also within the rural areas, as shown in our Move on Green project. The rural and mountain areas should not be forgotten.
In addition, the EESC considers that “special attention should be paid to regions that suffer from severe and permanent handicaps, other passenger transport that is not solely tourism transport should be classified as a service of general interest and therefore meet criteria for universality, accessibility, continuity, quality and affordability” (see article 4.5 of the draft position paper). This is particularly the case for mountain areas. Transport is at the heart of the economy. Without good and affordable transport (including public transport), citizens can’t really enjoy the places they want to live. Thus Euromontana welcomes this particular attention.
The final position paper of the EESC will be presented at the European Parliament at the latest at the end of April 2015.
The European Commission will revise the 2011 White paper on transport based on the stocktaking, on this EESC position paper, but also on a stakeholders’ public consultation that will be launched in the coming weeks. As Jocelyn Fajardo, member of the Cabinet of Commissioner Violeta Bulc (in charge of transport) said, things remained open, but there were at least five priorities which were already defined:
1. The single transport market
2. The social agenda for transport to ensure fair competition and avoid social dumping
3. Sustainable transport to tackle climate change, noise, security and congestion issues
4. Smart transport with the deployment of new technologies
5. A service-oriented approach, infrastructures have to serve people’s needs.
Euromontana will try to participate to this public consultation to underline the specific needs of mountain areas.10 March 2015