For the last six months, Slovakia held the presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU). During the time it was in this position, the country had several key public transport items on its agenda. Let’s have a look back at the achievements of the Slovak Presidency.
Fourth Railway package
The political pillar of the fourth railway package was adopted by the European Parliament on 14 December. As a reminder, the texts forming this package include a regulation governing public service contracts (PSO Regulation 1371/2007) and a directive on the establishment of a single European railway area (Governance Directive 2012/34).
The texts should now be adopted by the Council – not necessarily by the Transport Council, any formation of the Council can adopt the texts. After that, the texts will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and will officially become EU law.
The consolidated texts will be soon available. There is no major modification since the agreement reached in trilogues last April.
New investment platform for clean transport
Following an announcement of the European Commission to create a new investment platform for clean transport last June, the Cleaner Transport Facility (CTF) was officially launched at the last Transport Council meeting on 1 December. This new platform, resulting of a collaboration between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Commission, aims at encouraging promoters to submit projects in the field of clean transport. The support for clean support is in line with recently-adopted strategy of the European Commission on low-emission mobility.
CTF is an umbrella initiative combining financial resources from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) fund and EIB resources. Its objective is to support the accelerated deployment of cleaner transport vehicles and their associated charging and refueling infrastructure.
The first project under the new platform is expected to be signed early next year and will support the purchase of new hydrogen fuel cell buses, trolley buses and associated infrastructure in Riga. (Read more)
Women in transport
The issue of women in transport was discussed for the first time at a Transport Council meeting on 1 December. Transport is not a gender-balanced sector as only 22% of people working in transport are women. The European Commission and EU member states consider that focused action is necessary to increase the participation of women in the transport sector in order to introduce a more gender balance in this area.
As a reminder, UITP and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) organised a conference to discuss key challenges in hiring and retaining women employees in the sector on 17-18 October.
On 5 December, Violeta Bulc, the Commissioner for Mobility and Transport, had an exchange of views with the members of the Transport and Tourism Committee of the European Parliament. She gave a brief overview of the Commission’s Work Programme for 2017 and the Commission’s agenda for transport policy. Priorities include the implementation of the Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems, Low-Emission Mobility, the adoption of the road package, security in the transport sector, as well as the revision of the rail passenger rights regulation. Negotiations will also continue on the Directive for a European Accessibility Act.
UITP will be closely monitoring all of these dossiers in the coming years.