PRELIMINARY DRAFT OPINION TEN/566 Roadmap to a single European transport area –

European Economic and Social Committee
Roadmap to a single
European transport area –
progress and challenges
Brussels, 27 February 2015
of the
Section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society
on the
Roadmap to a single European transport area – progress and challenges
(exploratory opinion requested by the European Parliament)
Rapporteur: Mr Hencks
Co-rapporteur: Mr Back
To the members of the Study Group on the Roadmap to a single European transport area –
progress and challenges
This document will be discussed at the meeting on Friday 6 March 2015 beginning at
2.30 p.m.
Document submitted for translation: 18 February 2015
Administrator: Mr Quental
TEN/566 – EESC-2015-00399-00-00-APA-TRA (EN) 1/11
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Study Group on the
Roadmap to a single European
transport area – progress and
Mr Confalonieri (IT-III)
Mr Hencks (LU-II)
Mr Back (SE-I)
Mr Cingal (FR-III)
Ms Demelenne (BE-II)
Mr Fried (DE-I)
Mr Krzaklewski (PL-II)
Mr Ranocchiari (IT-I)
Ms Raunemaa (FI-III)
Sabine Trier (for the rapporteur)
Per Boqvist (for the co-rapporteur)
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On ........., the Parliament decided to consult the European Economic and Social Committee, under
Article 304 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, on the
Roadmap to a single European transport area – progress and challenges
(exploratory opinion).
The Section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society, which was responsible
for preparing the Committee's work on the subject, adopted its opinion on ….
At its ... plenary session, held on … (meeting of ...), the European Economic and Social Committee
adopted the following opinion by ... , with … votes against and … abstentions.
Conclusions and recommendations
The EESC reiterates its support for the aims set out in the 2011 Roadmap to a Single
European Transport Area (the White Paper) (hereinafter referred to as the Roadmap) already
expressed in its 2011 opinion on the Roadmap1.The establishment of a single European
transport area is still one of the most important items on the European Union agenda.
Major challenges still hamper the establishment of the single European transport area as a
means to achieve sustainable, economic growth and job creation and that promotes quality
jobs and working conditions.
Taking account of the Juncker Commission ten priorities for the 2015 – 2019 period, as also
reflected in the Commission 2015 Work Programme, and which are perfectly in line with the
aims of the Roadmap, the EESC particularly underscores the importance of the following
Efficient implementation of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) can
complement CEF funding. This would leave more CEF resources available where private
investments or charging is not a solution, such as projects in sparsely populated or distant
regions. Here the EESC refers to its comment in point 1.4 of its Roadmap opinion2 on the
limits of charging and private funding as a financing solution.
The EESC also draws attention to the incoherence in simultaneous application of "the polluter
pays" and "the user pays" principles where application of the former could weaken a user
EESC Opinion on Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area (White Paper).
See footnote 1.
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pays based financing concept. The EESC would like to see initiatives that simplify and clarify
the infrastructure charging concept.
The EESC takes note of the statement in the Roadmap that a lot needs to be done to complete
the internal market for transport. With respect to the rail sector, the EESC takes note of the
so–called fourth railway package and its opinion3 of 11 July 2013 on that package. The EESC
supports the aim of the Commission proposal to fulfil the creation of a common rail market in
Europe with high transport quality and no border problems. The EESC recalls its view in its
2011 opinion on the Roadmap4 that before any new steps in that direction are taken the EESC
requests that a balanced assessment is carried out of their impact. In road cabotage and cross
border transports with very heavy goods vehicles the regulatory framework is complex and
unclear which constitutes regulatory obstacles to market access. The EESC welcomes the
intention of the Commission according to the 2015 work programme to simplify and possibly
take further measures regarding road transport legislation.
The EESC takes note that the Juncker Commission intends to focus on social dumping. The
EESC asks the Commission to come up with proposals for measures to prevent social
dumping while avoiding measures that would complicate transport operations and disturb the
good functioning of the internal market. Compliance monitoring, cross border cooperation
including exchange of information between surveillance authorities and adequate sanctions
seem obvious ways forward.
The EESC also points out that modal shift objectives require flexibility and adaptation to
local conditions in particular regarding the 300 kilometres limit sought on road transport,
which is inadequate in distant and sparsely populated regions with a sparse rail network.
The EESC reiterates the need for real cross border infrastructure planning when implementing
the TEN T, to ensure optimal resource efficiency.
The EESC recalls the importance of ensuring adequate infrastructure and transport services
also in distant regions.
The EESC reiterates the importance of urban transport, both of passengers and goods.
The EESC stresses the importance of passenger rights, in view of the emergence of new
concept transport organisers such as Uber.
EESC Opinion on the Fourth railway package.
See footnote 1.
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The EESC suggests that use is made of a participative dialogue when preparing the revised
version of the Roadmap and refers in that context to its opinion of 11 July 2012 on Transport
White Paper: getting civil society on board5.
Bearing in mind the general priorities of the Juncker Commission, the EESC suggests a
general reassessment of the 10 goals set out in the Roadmap and the action plan in its Annex I
in light of their current political feasibility.
Revision of the 2011 Roadmap – general overview
The European Parliament is planning an own initiative opinion on the implementation of the
Roadmap. In that context, the European Parliament has asked the EESC for an explanatory
opinion on the same subject.
In its opinion on the Roadmap6, the EESC welcomed the Commission's efforts, but found that
there was a significant gap between the objectives and the means by which they might be
achieved and financed.
The EESC notes that most of the observations made in its opinion on the Roadmap still
remain pertinent. In particular this applies to the following items
The problem of funding the investments needed to reach the objectives regarding for
instance infrastructure, alternative fuels and propulsion systems and the infrastructure
they need. Charging and private funding will not work everywhere.
Better coordination between Member States as regards infrastructure planning.
Recognition of the vital role of transport as a factor of competitiveness and prosperity and
the need to create an integrated European transport system. Support for the development
of a strategy to provide Europe with transport that is efficient and genuinely sustainable
and which takes economic, environmental and social challenges into consideration.
Developments in all modes of transport must take greater account of social dialogue and
strengthen it. Particularly in road transport this goes with measures to prevent abuse of
differences between wage levels and levels of social protection.
The rigid approach on modal shift from road relating to distances over 300 km, which is
unrealistic in certain cases, for instance in big countries with a sparse network of rail
The importance of the optimised use of available resources, including infrastructure and
vehicles and ensuring optimised transport flows through efficient logistics, including
resources such as e–freight and green corridors.
The need to ensure continued competence through education and recruitment efforts;
adequate social conditions for mobile workers.
EESC Opinion on Transport White Paper: getting civil society on board.
See footnote 1.
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The importance of urban transport, also for goods transport (first mile/last mile) is not
sufficiently focused on.
Four years into the implementation of the Roadmap, the EESC takes note of a number of
initiatives but with, so far, fairly limited results. Still, steps have been taken to implement the
Roadmap, both in the form of legislative proposals and policy initiatives. For example the
new TENT Guidelines Regulation7 and the Regulation on a Connecting Europe Facility8 both
adopted in 2013, the legislation on deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure as well as
measures to reduce GHG emissions from vehicles.
But little has been achieved in creating conditions for a further market opening, compliance
monitoring and facilitation of cross border road transport. For instance the ERRU register
foreseen to support monitoring of compliance with road transport market regulation has
suffered implementation delays, like the European Electronic Road Toll System, created to
facilitate cross border traffic but still not implemented. Likewise the problem of varying
social conditions for mobile workers and their repercussions on competition largely remains
unsolved. In the opinion of the EESC it may be questioned if the current directive on posting
of workers9, which was originally foreseen to resolve problems in the construction sector, is
really suited to the needs of the transport sector. The divergent implementation of that
directive with respect to road transport in different Member States demonstrate this and risks
posing a serious problem to the good functioning of the internal market.
With respect to the issue of funding, the EESC notes that, while the CEF funding is far from
sufficient, the transport sector is one of the main priorities of the European Fund for Strategic
Investment(EFSI) in the course of being established by the Commission and the European
Investment Bank (EIB); this also appears from the report produced by the joint EIB and
Commission working group tasked with defining the selection criteria for the projects to be
In this context, the EESC would like to stress the importance of ensuring that these
investments not be limited solely to the extension of the infrastructure, but also support
projects to modernise and improve sector performance, as well as measures to provide for a
well-trained and skilled workforce.
The Roadmap is based on the premise that "curbing mobility is not an option". The EESC
reiterates its 2011 opinion on the Roadmap, point 3.9 that this must not be interpreted as
going against measures that will make transport more resource efficient and sustainable. Nor
does it go against the promotion of a behavioural change towards the use of more sustainable
means of transport or transport avoidance.
EU 1315/2013.
EU 1316/2013.
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Transport in the Commission work programme
The EESC notes that the single European transport area is not mentioned in the political
guidelines for the next five years or the 10 priorities set out by President Juncker, and
included in the Commission's 2015 work programme10.
Considering both the importance of transport as an economic sector and its specific character
which often necessitates dedicated solutions, the EESC thinks that it would have been
appropriate to mention transport as a specific issue in relation to for example Priority 1
(growth and jobs) as well as Priorities 3 and 4 (energy union and deeper internal market) all
of which deal with transport. This is particularly called for relating to the internal market
considering that transport policy is dealt with in a specific chapter of the TFEU and separately
addressed both in the Europe 2020 strategy and the two Single Market Acts.
Bearing in mind the overarching political orientation set out in the political priorities of the
Juncker Commission that the policy agenda of the European union should be decided in close
partnership between the European Commission and the European Parliament, and in
cooperation with the Member States, the EESC would suggest that the ten policy goals set out
in Section 2.5 of the Roadmap as well as the list of initiatives set out in its Annex I are
reassessed in the light of their political feasibility.
Territorial cohesion
The Roadmap makes no reference to territorial cohesion.
Under Treaty Articles 90 and 91, common transport policy should contribute to promoting
territorial cohesion, i.e. securing access to the transport network for sparsely populated rural
regions that are sometimes devoid of public transport services, with their inhabitants thus
deprived on an alternative to road transport. The EESC notes in this context an earlier EU
objective, namely that of ensuring that the majority of the EU's public and businesses should
be no more than 30 minutes' journey time from that network; this objective seems to have
been forgotten.
Although the 2011 white paper states, in relation to accessibility, that there is a risk that the
gap between central and peripheral areas will widen, its fourth goal "to maintain a dense
railway network in all Member States" has come to nothing, since no practical initiative is
linked to that goal while increasing numbers of regional routes are slashed on grounds of
COM(2014) 910 final.
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The EESC would refer in this context to its comment regarding the roadmap's
recommendation on the mandatory award of public service contracts under competitive
tendering. The EESC requested that "before presenting proposals on this matter and no more
than six months after 3 December 2014, the European Commission produces a report on the
implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1370/2007, as provided for in Article 8(2) of that
The EESC therefore considers that, in line with Article 174 of the Lisbon Treaty, which
stipulates 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.
Sustainable transport
Already in 2007, mid-way through the 2001-2010 white paper programme, the Commission
had to admit that " Europe is not yet on a sustainable transport path"11. The EESC considers
that the approach has not really evolved at all since then.
In its exploratory opinion "A sustainable future for transport"12 the EESC pointed out that,
while transport is key to many of our freedoms (freedom to work and live in different parts of
the world, to enjoy different products and services, to trade and to establish personal contacts)
one of the basic aims of the policy must be to define a framework for these freedoms and
even to impose boundaries, where they may affect, or even threaten, other freedoms or needs,
such as human health, the environment, the climate, or the needs of generations to come.
The EESC therefore believes that particular emphasis should be placed on research and
innovation in the field of clean, safe and silent vehicles for all modes of transport, and
alternative fuels, including the necessary infrastructure.
To achieve this, it will be necessary to accelerate technical standardisation and regulation
(action on prices, subsidies and tax), especially in the automobile sector, which accounts for
over half of all emissions from the road sector.
Although there is convergence among the various EU Member States regarding long-term
objectives and guidelines, fundamental differences remain when it comes to development and
the sensitivities of each country.
For example, some countries have attempted to promote clean vehicles by means, for
instance, of subsidies to the automobile industry, sometimes generous grants for the purchase
COM(2007) 642 final.
CESE 1950/2009.
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of such cars, remission of tax on biofuels, discounts on motorway tolls, taxation of cars that
pollute and grants for scrapping old cars, etc.
However, it is clear that there is still a very long way to go to achieve the objectives set. The
effects of the subsidies are very limited, to the point where they have already have been
significantly reduced or even abolished. Sales are struggling to take off, causing serious
problems for manufacturers who chose the full electric option.
The EESC considers that the EU should propose new incentives for the wider use of clean
vehicles, such as the application of much-reduced VAT rates on purchases of such cars.
The polluter pays and user pays principles
According to the Commission, pricing and taxes should be restructured in order to take better
account of the above principles and reflect total costs, including infrastructure and external
The EESC would stress that a clear distinction must be made between these two principles, as
they are completely different in nature and purpose.
The EESC endorses the polluter-pays principle, given the economic cost of non-sustainability.
It is however against across-the-board application of the user-pays principle in so far as public
transport is a service of general economic interest and that Protocol 26 on services of general
interest, appended to the Lisbon Treaty, calls on the Member States to ensure that these
services be of a high quality and affordable.
Affordability must not be sacrificed on the altar of cost-based pricing. In addition, any such
measure would be counterproductive as regards attempts to decarbonise transport and the
measures taken by many urban transport authorities that have chosen to offer free public
transport to certain age groups, social categories or even all.
Urban mobility
The gradual phasing out of conventionally-fuelled vehicles is not in itself enough to achieve
integrated and sustainable mobility in urban areas.
The role of public transport as a service of general interest is completely overlooked in the
Roadmap, with the exception of point 41, which pays no more than lip service. The
Commission seems to be starting from the premise that technological innovation in the area of
clean vehicle production can solve all urban problems; this is really a long-term view, when
what is needed are short-term measures to reduce air pollution and urban noise pollution. In
any event, the only way to resolve urban traffic congestion is to promote public transport.
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The EESC is disappointed that public transport usage in urban areas is not clearly stated as an
objective. It calls on the Commission to complete the white paper to this end and set the goal
of doubling urban public transport use by 2030, while also providing for facilities and
infrastructure to facilitate walking and cycling.
The EESC considers that the measures regarding the installation and operation of urban road
tolls and access restriction schemes should be binding and become an integral part of urban
mobility plans, which, in turn, should also be made mandatory for cities.
Passenger rights
In its opinion on Communication COM(2011) 898 regarding passenger rights in all transport
modes13, the EESC argued that three additional rights should be added to the 10 specific
rights listed in the communication, namely: the right to safety (including both the technical
safety of the transport equipment and the physical safety of passengers), the right to minimum
standards of service quality, comfort and accessibility, and the right to protection of the
In its observations on the EESC’s opinion, the Commission acknowledged that the proposed
rights were important factors that should be taken into account in future legislation on
passenger rights. The EESC therefore proposes that the Roadmap's ninth goal, which aims to
make sure that the EU is a world leader in safety and security of transport in all modes of
transport, be put into practice and that current rights be extended accordingly.
The EESC draws attention to the emergence of passenger transport organisers, such as Uber
and would ask the Commission to consider the issue of rights and responsibilities in this
The social dimension of the Roadmap
The EESC considers that if the transport sector is to operate smoothly and on a level playing
field, social standards need to be improved, social and working conditions harmonised, and
social and wage dumping practices eliminated.
The EESC takes note of a tendency to make use of the possibilities to reduce costs in the
transport sector which sometimes takes the form of social dumping. The EESC in this context
underscores the importance of social dialogue as well as the importance of appropriate
surveillance measures in order to eliminate abusive practices and infringements of social
CESE 1314/2012.
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Given that the EU has no mandate to harmonise labour law standards fully and that it can only
introduce minimum standards, it is the task of sectoral dialogue to provide for a harmonised
set of labour, occupational health and safety standards, applicable in a uniform way across the
Member States. The necessary resources and support for implementing the result should be
The Commission should take steps to improve the implementation of the sector's legal
framework and consolidate it so that can rise to the challenges. Loopholes in legislation on
access to the different transport professions/operation licenses, on the coordination of social
security, on temporary agency workers have to be closed. Adequate measures to counteract
bogus self-employment are needed, based on already existing definitions.
As the Commission points out in its communication on the state of the Union road transport
market (COM(2014) 222 final), the failure to fully uphold labour legislation may be the result
of the absence of binding measures regarding on the number and frequency of checks, a
shortcoming that the EESC demands be put right as a matter of urgency. More frequent
checks and enforcement and the tools for simplifying checks are necessary also for other
transport modes such as inland waterways or railways.
The EESC would suggest that use is made of a participative dialogue when preparing the
revised version of the Roadmap and refers in that context to its opinion of 11 July 2012 on
Transport White Paper: getting civil society on board14 .
See footnote 7.
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