Witboek "Het Europese vervoersbeleid tot het jaar 2010 : tijd om te kiezen" : COM (2001) 370.
20020137 ST [electronic version only]
Commissie van de Europese Gemeenschappen, Directoraat-Generaal Energie en Transport
Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities Eur-OP, 2001, 136 p.; Catalogue number KO-33-00-009-NL-C - ISBN 92-894-0344-6
|Samenvatting||Transport is a key factor in modern economies. But there is a permanent contradiction between society, which demands ever more mobility, and public opinion, which is becoming increasingly intolerant of chronic delays and the poor quality of some transport services. As demand for transport keeps increasing, the Community's answer cannot be just to build new infrastructure and open up markets. The transport system needs to be optimised to meet the demands of enlargement and sustainable development, as set out in the conclusions of the Gothenburg European Council. A modern transport system must be sustainable from an economic and social as well as an environmental viewpoint. Plans for the future of the transport sector must take account of its economic importance. Total expenditure runs to some 1 000 billion euros, which is more than 10% of gross domestic product. The sector employs more than ten million people. It involves infrastructure and technologies whose cost to society is such that there must be no errors of judgement. Indeed, it is because of the scale of investment in transport and its determining role in economic growth that the authors of the Treaty of Rome made provision for a common transport policy with its own specific rules. The mixed performance of the common transport policy For a long time, the European Community was unable, or unwilling, to implement the common transport policy provided for by the Treaty of Rome. For nearly 30 years the Council of Ministers was unable to translate the Commission's proposals into action. It was only in 1985, when the Court of Justice ruled that the Council had failed to act, that the Member states had to accept that the Community could legislate. Later on, the Treaty of Maastricht reinforced the political, institutional and budgetary foundations for transport policy. On the one hand, unanimity was replaced, in principle, by qualified majority, even though in practice Council decisions still tend to be unanimous. The European Parliament, as a result of its powers under the co-decision procedure, is also an essential link in the decision-making process, as was shown in December 2000 by its historic decision to open up the rail freight market completely in 2008. Moreover, the Maastricht Treaty included the concept of the trans-European network, which made it possible to come up with a plan for transport infrastructure at European level with the help of Community funding. Thus the Commission's first White Paper on the future development of the common transport policy was published in December 1992. The guiding principle of the document was the opening-up of the transport market. Over the last ten years or so, this objective has been generally achieved, except in the rail sector. Nowadays, lorries are no longer forced to return empty from international deliveries. They can even pick up and deliver loads within a Member State other than their country of origin. Road cabotage has become a reality. Air transport has been opened up to competition which no-one now questions, particularly as our safety levels are now the best in the world. This opening-up has primarily benefited the industry and that is why, within Europe, growth in air traffic has been faster than growth of the economy. The first real advance in common transport policy brought a significant drop in consumer prices, combined with a higher quality of service and a wider range of choices, thus actually changing the lifestyles and consumption habits of European citizens. Personal mobility, which increased from 17 km a day in 1970 to 35 km in 1998, is now more or less seen as an acquired right. The second advance of this policy, apart from the results of research framework programmes, was to develop the most modern techniques within a European framework of interoperability. Projects launched at the end of the 1980s are now bearing fruit, as symbolised by the trans-European high-speed rail network and the Galileo satellite navigation programme. However, it is a matter for regret that modern techniques and infrastructure have not always been matched by modernisation of company management, particularly rail companies. (A) For the English report see ST 20011460 or: http://europa.eu.int/comm/energy_transport/en/lb_en.html|
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