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C 374 E/112 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 28.12.


(2000/C 374 E/131) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0582/00
by Mark Watts (PSE) to the Commission

(29 February 2000)

Subject: European sustainable tansport policy

Can national governments and EU institutions, habitually at loggerheads on transport questions, actually
achieve a sufficient meeting of minds?

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(14 April 2000)

The question of sustainable transport is of vital interest to all Member States as well as the Community as
a whole. A sufficient meeting of minds can only be achieved through dialogue and openness. The
Commission has for this reason set up a joint transport and environment expert group to advise it on
issues of environmentally sustainable transport, which is one of the key concerns in the common transport
policy. The Commission intends to come forward in the autumn of this year with a new communication
which sets the common transport policy in the new context of the 21st century. The communication will
aim to take account of the profound changes that are occurring in the European economy and the trend to
globalisation as a whole. In addition to this initiative, the Commission intends to issue a further
communication in 2000 on the subject of ‘Clean urban transport’. These two new communications will
give the Community the opportunity to re-assess what has to be done to ensure that transport plays an
effective role in the general effort to ensure sustainable growth in the Community.

(2000/C 374 E/132) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0583/00
by Mark Watts (PSE) to the Commission

(29 February 2000)

Subject: European sustainable transport policy

Will the Commission state to what extent it believes the EU should consciously strive towards the
harmonisation of transport policies in Europe, i.e. through common traffic rules, taxation regimes,
maximum speed, safety requirements, and vehicle standards and deregulation policies?

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(14 April 2000)

The Commission believes that transport policies should be harmonised to the extent necessary for the
efficient functioning of the internal market, to avoid distortions of competition, and to promote
environmental protection and transport safety.

On the question of common traffic rules for international traffic, these and certain internal rules, such as
the size, shape and colour of road signs, are carried out within the Vienna Convention on international
road transport which is administered by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

Regarding maximum speed, speed limits are set nationally by Member States. The Commission does not
intend to intervene in this matter, unless it receives clear signals that this would stand a chance of success,
but believes more could be achieved by developing speed management devices.

Concerning safety requirements and vehicle standards, a whole range of vehicle standards are already
harmonised both for commercial and private vehicles.