With regard to question on a concrete case in Italy the Commission would like to recall that it has noinvestigative powers in this area.Furthermore, the Commission does not have any information on international protection offered to the‘Black Bloc’.(2002/C115E/077)
WRITTEN QUESTION E-2394/01by Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(20 August 2001)Subject:
Preparations for reopening the Mont Blanc tunnel to freight traffic without adequate safety precautions1. Can the Commission confirm that preparations are being made for reopening to motor traffic at theend of 2001 the Mont Blanc tunnel between Chamonix in France and Courmayeur in Italy, which hasbeen closed since 23 March 1999 because of a fire caused by a truck?2. Can it also confirm that the Mont Blanc tunnel has not yet been fitted with water curtains or anadequate parallel evacuation tunnel, but only with a somewhat enlarged ventilation tunnel, and that thetunnel thus does not meet modern safety standards, so that it completely fails to take account of the latestthinking based on tunnel fires in recent years?3. Does the Commission know whether freight vehicles will also again be allowed to use the tunnel,which was designed more than 30 years ago, is narrow, carries traffic in both directions within a singletunnel and was originally intended for limited passenger transport use but has carried a growing numberof trucks over the years?4. Does the Commission agree that there is a danger that the Mont Blanc route will attract muchinternational through freight traffic because it provides a way of by-passing the nearby Switzerland, whichis trying to limit such traffic and transfer it to rail?5. How will the Commission prevent such dangerous routes from being kept open or brought back intoservice and used by vehicles which present serious dangers to other road-users?6. Is the Commission aware that residents and local authorities in neighbouring localities consider thattheir environment has improved substantially as a result of the protracted absence of freight traffic on thetunnel approach roads, as the level of noise nuisance and air pollution has greatly declined and road safety has improved?7. How will the Commission help to maintain acceptable living conditions in this vulnerable areaaround one of the EU’s internal borders?
Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission
(7 November 2001)
In its White Paper on European transport policy for 2010(
), the Commission states that safety in longroad tunnels is a vitally important aspect of the common transport policy, especially as tunnels areimportant to many cross-border links. Accordingly, the Commission is planning a European initiative onthe harmonisation of minimum safety standards so as to put in place conditions guaranteeing a high levelof safety for the users of road and rail tunnels, particularly those forming part of the trans-Europeantransport network.The French and Italian operating companies did indeed begin preparations several months ago to reopenthe Mont Blanc Tunnel to motor traffic, in principle at the end of 2001. The renovated tunnel has beenfitted with modern equipment to provide a significant improvement in safety levels.16.5.2002 EN C115E/73Official Journal of the European Communities