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27.2.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 64/67

Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on ‘The pan-European dimension of transport


policy’

(98/C 64/11)

THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS,

having regard to its decision of 11 June 1997 to submit an opinion, pursuant to Article 198c(4)
of the Treaty establishing the European Community, on the pan-European dimension of
transport policy and to ask Commission 3 (Transport and Communications Networks) to
draw up the said opinion;

having regard to the draft opinion adopted by Commission 3 on 25 September 1997 (CdR
253/97 rev.) (rapporteur: Mr Gerd Wartenberg);

having regard to its previous opinions on transport policy, including those on the trans-European
transport networks, short-haul journeys by sea, the Green Papers ‘fair and efficient pricing in
transport and the citizens’ network’, the transport policy action programme for 1995-2000,
the White Paper ‘a strategy for revitalizing the Community’s railways’ and the proposal on
the promotion of sustained and safe mobility;

aware of the preliminary work done by the steering committee of the pan-European transport
conferences, especially the final declaration of the pan-European transport conference in
Helsinki;

aware of the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the
Council ‘connecting the Union’s transport infrastructure networks to its neighbours: towards
a cooperative, pan-European transport network policy’ (of 23 April 1997);

aware of the report of the European Parliament ‘pan-European transport policy’ (PE 218.425
of 29 October 1996) and the own-initiative Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee
on the pan-European transport conference and social dialogue: from Crete to Helsinki (CES
547/96 of 25 April 1996);

aware of Agenda 2000, in which the European Commission describes the construction and
extension of the trans-European transport networks as one of the most important tasks of the
European Union in the coming years,

adopted the following opinion at its 20th plenary session on 19 and 20 November 1997
(meeting of 20 November).

1. Introduction went further than the principles laid down in the Prague
declaration, with the participating countries agreeing
on common objectives and strategies for a pan-European
The pan-European transport conferences transport policy.

3) The Crete conference resolved to monitor the


1) The late 1980s saw borders open across central implementation of this fundamental pan-European strat-
and eastern Europe. The goal of establishing a single egy at regular intervals; to this end, the 3rd pan-European
transport market transcending the frontiers of the transport conference was held in Helsinki from 23 to
European Union prompted the European Parliament 25 June 1997. In Helsinki it was again confirmed that,
and the European Commission to hold the first pan- despite funding difficulties, a pan-European transport
European transport conference in Prague in October system must be put in place as soon as possible to form
1991. The conference aimed to bring together other the backbone of a developing European internal market.
international organizations, such as the European Con-
ference of Ministers of Transport and the United Nations
Economic Commission for Europe, to agree on joint Changed conditions since Crete
principles to be applied in the future development of
pan-European transport policy. 4) Since the transport conference in Crete, the EU has
welcomed into its ranks three new Member States;
further enlargement is set to follow, with the accession
2) The 2nd pan-European transport conference was of countries from central and eastern Europe. Such
held in Crete from 14 to 16 March 1994. This conference developments are not without consequence for the
C 64/68 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 27.2.98

framework of transport policy, since these countries 10) In addition, the Committee of the Regions gives
now have to be integrated into the EU’s trans-European specific backing to the following objectives of a pan-
transport network. European transport policy, which are also reflected in
the final declaration of Helsinki:
5) However, current budgetary constraints mean that
— as the 3rd pan-European transport conference has — extension of the single market in the transport sector
again shown — the Community will have to find new to cover the whole of Europe, with a view to helping
ways of financing these transport infrastructure plans. harmonize legal and administrative arrangements
and technical standards;

Involvement of the Committee of the Regions — promotion of competition and liberalization in


transport markets in line with the principles of the
social market economy;
6) Since it was set up in 1994, the Committee of the
Regions has issued a whole range of opinions on EU — facilitating cross-border transport by adapting infra-
transport policy. In February 1997, the Committee was structure, services and procedural arrangements;
invited by the European Commission and the European
Parliament to participate in the Helsinki Conference.
— development of an environmentally sustainable inte-
grated transport network on the basis of cooperation
Previously, the Committee had been excluded from the among carriers in different transport modes.
discussion process. Now, for the first time, it has the
opportunity to play an active part in shaping the
pan-European transport policy of the future.
2.2. Principles of pan-European transport policy

7) This also means that the debate on transport policy


will be able to reflect the findings of the seminars held 11) The Committee of the Regions believes that trans-
jointly by the Committee of the Regions and the European transport policy should focus on the four
European Commission on the contribution the European principles: regional orientation, closeness to the citizens,
regions and local authorities can make towards promot- compatibility with the environment and traffic safety.
ing an integrated, high-performance and environmen-
tally sound transport system across Europe.

A transport policy geared to regional needs

2. A pan-European transport policy: aims, principles


and their implementation 12) The Community rightly recognizes and applies the
principle of subsidiarity in transport policy. At a
pan-European level, comprehensive international, multi-
lateral and national action will be needed to ensure that
8) The Committee of the Regions expressly welcomes the transport policy objectives mooted in Crete and
the steps, initiated by the European Commission and confirmed in Helsinki are translated into practice.
the European Parliament, to join with the countries of Involvement of the local authorities, which are respon-
central and eastern Europe, the successor states of sible for land management and environmental protec-
the former Soviet Union and the countries of the tion, is essential for successful implementation of any
Mediterranean, to agree on principles and objectives for pan-European transport policy.
a pan-European transport policy, thus helping build a
balanced transport infrastructure across the continent.
13) For this reason, the Committee of the Regions has
repeatedly called for consultation with regional and
local authorities at as early a stage of transport planning
2.1. Objectives of pan-European transport policy as possible, with a view to agreeing solutions to any
problems arising.

9) In common with the European Commission and the


European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions 14) Experience, particularly over the past few years, in
believes that pan-European transport policy should aim implementing trans-European transport projects, has
at promoting sustainable, environmentally sound and shown that transport schemes cannot be realized effec-
efficient transport systems which not only meet the tively without the involvement and agreement of the
social, economic, environmental and safety needs of the local authorities affected by them. Any efforts Member
citizens of Europe, but also help overcome social States may make to speed up the spatial planning and
and economic disparities between the regions, thus administrative procedures needed at national level for
enhancing Europe’s competitiveness. In this way, trans- transport projects will be in vain if local and regional
port policy also helps promote economic and social government is not comprehensively informed and con-
cohesion in Europe. sulted about such projects at an early stage.
27.2.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 64/69

Transport policy close to the general public Committee of the Regions has already noted that
such networks go a long way to strengthening global
competitiveness and act as an engine for growth and
15) Any measures taken under a pan-European trans-
employment, while at the same time underpinning
port policy geared to achieving sustainable, socially
Europe’s internal cohesion.
responsible and environmentally sound mobility must
gain the acceptance of the wider public. The involvement
of local and regional authorities is therefore essential to Impact of the trans-European network on the regions
ensure, in the interests of all the players concerned, that
decisions are taken in a way that is at once transparent 23) The Committee of the Regions would point out
and close to the citizen. that the trans-European transport network can only
have the desired impact if it operates efficiently. This,
16) The Committee of the Regions’ aim is thus to ensure in turn, can only be done, however, if the network is as
that appropriate consideration is given to people’s closely linked to existing regional and local transport
interests and expectations as consumers, as transport systems as possible.
users and as those whose lives are affected by transport
policy planning and decision-making. 24) The Committee of the Regions sees an urgent need
to bring together the local authorities concerned to
develop strategies which take account of the structure
An environmentally sound transport policy and positioning of public passenger transport centres
of communication and the expansion of intermodal
transport management.
17) Given the high level of damage which traffic inflicts
on the environment, the Committee of the Regions has
repeatedly pointed out that the principle of environmen- 25) Particular attention should be paid to ensuring that
tal impact set out in Article 130r of the EC Treaty must the trans-European transport networks can connect
be seen as a sine qua non of any pan-European transport smoothly to public local transport systems in large
policy. urban areas since these are the main points of departure
and arrival for freight and passenger transport.
18) The Committee is well aware of the need to square 26) The Committee of the Regions feels that the
rising levels of traffic, and the growing need for mobility problem of connecting regional and local systems to
as Europe grows together both economically and so- trans-European transport networks has been underesti-
cially, with the high standards required in environmental mated up to now, and would therefore propose, in
protection. future, involving regional and local authorities at an
early stage in the planning of trans-European transport
infrastructure.
A transport policy to boost traffic safety
27) In its 1996 annual report on the trans-European
19) Traffic safety is threatened by the continuing networks, the European Commission highlighted the
increase in road traffic, especially road haulage. It is positive impact of transport projects on economic
therefore important to have a safe and reliable transport growth and employment in the Community as a whole;
system to which the entire population has access. few details were given, however, on the impact on
growth and employment in the regions.

2.3. Areas for action in pan-European transport policy 28) The Committee of the Regions therefore calls on
the Commission to look more closely at the impact of
the trans-European networks on the regions; this impact
20) The basic pan-European transport policy package may vary considerably from region to region. Specific
adopted in Helsinki comprises not only objectives and case studies should thus be undertaken (in border areas,
principles, but also a whole range of measures and areas for example, or areas which are structurally weak), with
of action for translating them into practice. a view to gaining a new understanding of what is
involved in a European transport policy geared towards
regional needs.
21) The Committee of the Regions, following on from
the working group set up in Helsinki, would highlight
three areas of particular importance: trans-European Guaranteeing sustainable mobility
transport networks, transport modes and intelligent
transport systems. 29) A high volume of traffic — particularly transit
traffic — is not only the harbinger of economic and
social benefits; there is a downside too, in environmental
2.3.1. T r a n s - E u r o p e a n transport net- damage and over-congestion on the roads and in the
works regions concerned, as well as poorer traffic safety.

30) The Committee of the Regions, which supports a


22) In its opinion on the Community guidelines for pan-European transport policy based on sustainable,
establishing a trans-European transport network, the safe mobility, backs the strategy of giving priority to the
C 64/70 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 27.2.98

improved, more intelligent use of existing infrastructures project (PETRA — Pan-European Transport Areas).
before embarking on any new building work. With The same selection criteria should be used for this
the help of ‘intelligent’ transport systems, existing project as for the corridors.
infrastructures can be put to better use, traffic safety
improved and excessive strain on the environment
avoided. This should involve the increased application Financing trans-European transport networks
of telematics and other state-of-the-art technologies
designed to improve cross-border interoperability.
36) The Committee of the Regions agrees with the plan,
put forward in the European Commission’s communi-
Restructuring and redefining traffic corridors cation ‘connecting the Union’s transport infrastructure
network to its neighbours’, for a transport network
31) The 2nd pan-European transport conference in partnership spanning Europe and involving the Union,
Crete defined nine main traffic routes meriting priority governments, the countries concerned, financial insti-
treatment in the countries of central and eastern Europe. tutions and the private sector. The Committee is
The corridors defined in Crete were restructured and convinced that, particularly as far as financial arrange-
redefined in Helsinki to reflect changing conditions, by ments for the trans-European transport networks go, it
including a tenth corridor (linking the Balkan States). is essential to establish a stable, credible framework if
the private sector is to commit itself financially.
32) The Committee of the Regions welcomes the
approach adopted by the European Commission in 37) The Committee of the Regions therefore expressly
its communication Connecting the Union’s transport welcomes the efforts made by the Commission to
infrastructure network to its neighbours. Priority traffic join international financial institutions in developing
projects in the EU are subject to criteria laid down in coherent concepts for future financing of trans-European
the guidelines on trans-European transport networks. transport corridors and service areas.
These include financial viability, economic efficiency,
operational maturity, environmental soundness and
interoperability of traffic projects. The European Com- 38) The Committee of the Regions backs the public-
mission’s approach seeks to bring these selfsame criteria private partnership model as a means of accelerating the
to bear in selecting similar projects in the countries of growth of trans-European transport networks. It must
central and eastern Europe and the other non-member however be pointed out that the enormous funding
European countries. requirement for transport infrastructure — even for the
priority projects — cannot be met by the private sector
alone. The Committee of the Regions would also point
33) The Committee of the Regions also backs expanding out, from a transport policy viewpoint, that the resulting
the trans-European transport network to cover the levies needed to re-finance private capital, such as tariffs,
whole of Europe, as envisaged by the Commission; not road charges and taxes, may cause undesirable switches
only would this help boost links with the EU’s neighbours from one transport mode to another.
and promote development in structurally weak areas,
but it would also be of benefit to society as a whole.
Good transport links are a precondition for interregional 39) In general it should be noted that the central
contact and contribute not only to the economic but and eastern European States should not be given the
also to the democratic and cultural development of impression that their transport infrastructure could be
neighbouring States. renewed exclusively with funds from the European
Union. If for no other reason, such expectations must
34) As the EU gears itself up for enlargement, however, be discouraged in order to ensure that the Community
priority should indeed be given to integrating the continues to be regarded as a credible partner in
transport networks of the prospective new Member pan-European transport policy.
States of central and eastern Europe; this should not
however be to the detriment of the still necessary
strengthening and extension of the Community’s trans- 2.3.2. T r a n s p o r t m o d e s
port infrastructure. The Committee welcomes the pro-
cess — introduced as part of structured dialogue — for
evaluating infrastructure requirements in the countries
of central and eastern Europe (TINA — Transport Switching transport from the roads to more environmen-
Infrastructure Needs Assessment). The aim is to desig- tally sound modes
nate, by order of importance, the infrastructure measures
which need to be taken in the prospective new Member 40) The Committee of the Regions welcomes all the
States. efforts made within the social market economy, and
aimed at achieving sustainable mobility, to meet the
35) Since it has now become clear that, in itself, the challenge of rising transport levels by, inter alia, switch-
corridor concept developed at Crete does not go far ing from road transport to other, more environmentally
enough in tackling the multifarious problems and needs sound modes. In the intermodal transport plan for
encountered in some areas of Europe, the Committee of land-based traffic, consideration is being given in par-
the Regions backs the Commission proposal to expand ticular to promoting the railways, combined transport
the corridor scheme into a full-scale transport service and the use of internal waterways and coastal shipping.
27.2.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 64/71

41) For all this effort, however, the Committee of the 48) The Committee of the Regions believes that the
Regions is aware that for the foreseeable future and existing European rail network and the services provided
despite the environmental, congestion and safety prob- by rail companies fail to live up to user aspirations. An
lems it poses, road transport is set to remain the example of a model approach would be to establish
number-one transport mode for both passengers and management firms, in both passenger and freight trans-
freight — and not only for short journeys. port, related to the transport corridors, and with the
task of coordinating all activities from starting-point to
destination so that each user has to deal with only one
interlocutor. Free competition between rail companies
42) Road transport is very adaptable to continually would be unaffected by this.
changing transport requirements and conditions. Flex-
ible handling and adaptation to specific transport
needs (containers/dimensions) can be achieved for little 49) The following should also be focal points in any
expense. Investments in vehicles and equipment are low strategy to improve European rail policy:
compared to those involved in road transport’s main
competitor, the railways. The road charges currently — splitting operation and routing,
levied on lorry traffic, which only cover part of the total
cost, are not enough to even out the cost difference in
comparison with rail. — debt relief for rail companies,

— interoperability and technical harmonization.


43) These current advantages make it difficult to realize
the political objective of switching to more environmen- 50) The Committee of the Regions would stress that
tally sound transport modes. The Committee of the rail links to Europe’s economic regions must be struc-
Regions believes that one way of moving away from tured more efficiently. The Committee therefore particu-
road transport would be to promote combined transport; larly welcomes the establishment of haulage corridors
another would be to internalize costs. (freight freeways), and hopes that the studies under way
on corridors of this kind will prove that rail haulage can
be run economically on the main trans-European routes.
The most environmentally friendly mode is coastal
44) In the medium term the policy framework for road shipping, which has the lowest macroeconomic costs
freight transport must be influenced so as to ensure that and the most capacity available for effecting a radical
combined transport can be made competitive at least shift in traffic without requiring costly investment.
over medium distances and that environmental pollution Where such a step is economically viable and advisable
caused by freight transport (exhaust gases, noise and and environmentally sound, transport policy should
land occupation) can be reduced. seek to switch the main traffic flows in Europe to coastal
shipping and, by using a terrestrial mode for the short
initial and final journey, to open up the hinterland
45) Despite considerable difficulties, largely related to around ports. When projects involving land-based modes
the need for additional transhipment, requiring more are planned as part of trans-European networks to run
time and effort, and thus costing more, a network of along coastlines, coastal shipping must always be taken
suitable transhipment points (freight transport centres, into consideration as a competing mode.
harbours, terminals, etc.) should be developed, together
with high-performance, economically important routes, 51) As part of moves towards removing existing distor-
in order to reduce the need for additional road traffic tions in competition among the various transport modes,
infrastructure. The Committee of the Regions therefore particular attention should be paid to the principle of
calls for the idea of freight freeways to be extended to internalizing the external costs of transport. The way
combined transport, and proposes that a pilot project transport modes are used at the moment is based on an
along these lines be put into practice. appropriation of costs which takes no account of the
polluter-pays principle, while overall cost calculations
omit certain very relevant factors. A level playing field
46) In the light of these considerations, the Committee in cost-calculation makes for honest pricing which, in
of the Regions feels it is crucial to look at all technical, turn, helps promote moves towards environmentally
organizational and financial options available to miti- sound transport modes.
gate the drawbacks of combined transport over road
haulage alone.
52) In an opinion of the same name, the Committee of
the Regions backs the approach put forward by the
Commission in its Green Paper ‘fair and efficient
47) The Committee of the Regions backs the rail pricing’, but would point out that, as things stand, no
reforms proposed in the White Paper ‘revitalizing the consensus has been reached on exactly what costs are
Community’s railways’. This is also a consideration in to be included, how these costs are to be apportioned
town and country planning; residential areas should be among the players involved and the impact the introduc-
situated within easy reach of rail links. Speed, frequency tion of fair and efficient prices will have on transport
and infrastructure must also be adapted to meet user users. Given these facts, the Committee believes that the
need. economic instruments outlined in the green paper should
C 64/72 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 27.2.98

be applied more pragmatically; this could mean, in the 2.3.3. C o o p e r a t i o n in cross-border


first instance, that, in certain sectors, transport users transport
would be asked to make an appropriate contribution to
tackling specific problems.
59) Cross-border transport is one area where an
improvement in operational conditions would not go
53) The green paper deals exclusively with the external amiss. The Committee of the Regions therefore wel-
costs of road transport, and thus takes no account of comes the initiatives to simplify transport of this
other transport modes. The Committee of the Regions kind. The Committee would stress that cross-border
therefore believes it is crucial to develop a similar cooperation not only requires agreement at national and
strategy for other transport modes in order to ensure international level; close collaboration between the
fair competition. regions and local authorities concerned is also an
essential element.

60) Cross-border transport depends on cooperation


Airport links between local transport services, customs, health
authorities and the security forces. Without it, it is
impossible to enhance market access; added benefits for
54) The Committee of the Regions has already called the single market are also at risk.
for greater attention to be given to the issue of linking
regional airports in particular to the trans-European 61) Trade relations are constantly on the increase, with
airport network. Airports can only function sustainably a corresponding rise in transit traffic. The latter has
if they are effectively linked to other transport modes, been hampered, however, by lack of coordination
in other words to both regional and trans-European in policy, finance, organization and technology. The
road and rail transport networks. Local public transport Committee of the Regions therefore recommends har-
is of particular importance in this regard, since it has to monizing legislation, administration, border controls,
carry the bulk of the airport-related traffic in addition technical standards and safety arrangements.
to normal local and regional traffic. The Committee
therefore points out the need for regional and local
planning bodies to be involved in designing the nodal 62) Moves to make border controls more efficient by
points at airports. collating services and breaking down existing barriers
must be made in conjunction with regional and local
representatives.
55) Furthermore, the Committee of the Regions would
ask for more efficient control of the airways at a
pan-European level, by, for example, expanding both 2.3.4. I n t e l l i g e n t t r a n s p o r t s y s t e m s
the geographical and operational scope of Eurocontrol.
63) The Committee of the Regions welcomes the con-
cept of using intelligent transport systems. It notes
Inland waterways, shipping and ports the positive example of telematics in urban transport
management and recognizes the need to research, and
give adequate backing to, transport technologies.
56) Inland waterways and shipping are natural transport
routes; their potential should be exploited more force- Given the importance of intelligent transport systems,
fully. The Committee of the Regions regards them as a Commission 3 intends to draw up a dedicated opinion
component of an integrated pan-European transport on this issue, reflecting the results of the Helsinki
network. consultations.

57) Given the constant increase in traffic in Europe, 3. Conclusions


more transport tasks should be allotted to inland
waterways and shipping, as they are particularly compat-
ible with the environment. As the logistics of transport 64) The Committee of the Regions welcomes the initia-
rely increasingly on the use of transport chains, seaports tive taken by the European Commission and the Euro-
and inland ports can attain their maximum economic pean Parliament with a view to reaching agreement with
utility primarily as a network of nodal points. the central and eastern European States, the successor
States of the Soviet Union and the Mediterranean States
on principles and objectives of a pan-European transport
58) To achieve the aim of shifting traffic between policy.
modes, inland ports and seaports should be developed
as interfaces between transport systems and as goods 65) The aim of a pan-European transport policy must
transshipment points in a way which takes account of be to promote sustainable, environmentally sound and
the need for modern, rapid and inexpensive international efficient transport systems which will satisfy the eco-
transport. This presupposes efficient transshipment nomic and social needs of European citizens and make
plant, good rail and water links and the use of intelligent a contribution to the economic and social cohesion of
information systems. Europe.
27.2.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 64/73

66) In the Committee’s view a pan-European transport — the Committee of the Regions welcomes the Com-
policy must be based in particular on four principles: mission’s idea of a transport network partnership to
regional orientation, closeness to the citizen, compati- develop feasible models for the funding of European
bility with the environment and greater traffic safety. transport projects;
Account should thereby always be taken of the inter-
nalization of costs.
67) In the light of the fields of action for a pan-European
transport policy dealt with at Helsinki, the following — the Committee of the Regions supports all efforts to
points should be stressed above all, from the viewpoint create an integrated transport network involving
of the regional and local authorities: intelligent use of the appropriate transport mode in
— when planning trans-European transport networks, each case. Particularly important here is promotion
more attention is to be given to their links with of the competitiveness of railways and combined
existing regional and local transport systems; transport.

Brussels, 20 November 1997.

The Chairman
of the Committee of the Regions
Pasqual MARAGALL i MIRA

Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on ‘the transport of live animals for slaughter’

(98/C 64/12)

THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS,

having regard to its decision of 17 September 1997, under the fourth paragraph of Article 198c
of the Treaty establishing the European Community, to draw up an opinion on the transport
of live animals for slaughter and to entrust its preparation to Commission 2 — Spatial
Planning, Agriculture, Hunting, Fisheries, Forestry, Marine Environment and Upland Areas;

having regard to the draft opinion adopted by Commission 2 on 15 October 1997 (CdR 269/97
rev.) (rapporteur: Mr Koczur),

adopted the following opinion by a unanimous vote at its 20th plenary session on 19 and
20 November 1997 (meeting of 20 November).

1. Introduction 1.3. On 2 July, the European Parliament Committee


on Transport and Tourism adopted a report on the
transport of horses and other live animals.
1.1. In local communities and regions across the
European Union, people are concerned and deeply
anxious about reports and debates on the practice of
transporting live animals both within the EU, and from
the EU to the countries of the Middle East.
1.4. In May, the Agricultural Council adopted a
Regulation on Community criteria for staging points
1.2. The European Parliament, the Commission and and on the adaptation of the route plan; the following
the Council are, at the moment, considering a number month, it agreed on additional provisions for road
of different initiatives on animal welfare and the vehicles used for the carriage of livestock on journeys
transport of live animals. lasting longer than eight hours.