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Memo on Transport Council of 5 June 2014

Date: 14/07/2014

The Council met in the formation of the Transport ministers in Luxembourg on Thursday 5 June 2014. Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport and mobility, represented the European Commission.

Ministers focused us their discussion on the fourth railway package, safer and greener lorries, ports and air passenger rights.

The Commission also informed ministers about the report on airport charges, the ruling of the European Court of Justice of 6 May 2014 concerning the Directive on cross-border enforcement of traffic offences and the measures it proposes to improve the tracking of aircraft.

Fourth railway package: Technical pillar

On 30 January 2013, the Commission proposed the 4th railway package: a series of legislative measures to deliver better quality and more choice in rail services in Europe. Improvements in service quality and efficiency are needed to make rail a more attractive choice for passengers and to encourage the shift from other modes of transport to rail.

In order to cut the administrative costs of rail companies and facilitate the entrance of new operators into the market, the Commission proposed that the European Railway Agency should become a "one stop shop" issuing EU wide vehicle authorisations in the form of "vehicle passports" as well as EU wide safety certificates for operators. To reflect these changes, the proposal also covers the Railway Safety and Interoperability Directives, providing an opportunity for clarification and simplification of existing provisions. ERA should also play an enhanced role in the facilitation of the deployment of European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS).

The Commission expected transport ministers to reach a political agreement on the technical pillar of the package and hopes for rapid progress on the three other files in the package.

Greener and safer lorries

The European Commission proposed in April 2013 new rules, revising the current legislation on weights and dimensions of certain road vehicles, to allow manufacturers to develop more aerodynamic lorries which will reduce fuel consumption by 7-10%, cut emissions of greenhouse gases, and also enhance the safety of vulnerable road users.

The proposal aimed at allowing cabs with a rounded shape and aerodynamic flaps at the back of the trailer. These measures will considerably improve the aerodynamics of vehicles, saving approximately €5,000 per year in fuel costs for a typical long-distance lorry covering 100,000 km. This represents a 7–10% cut in greenhouse gas emissions (or 7.8 tonnes of CO2 for the same long-distance lorry covering 100,000 km). At the same time, the field of vision of the driver will be improved, helping to save the lives of 300 to 500 vulnerable road users such as pedestrians or cyclists every year.

The Commission is pleased with the progress of this file under the Greek presidency and expected ministers to reach a political agreement. The European Parliament endorsed the Commission's proposal in April 2014 (IP/14/443), so that negotiations between the legislators could start in autumn.

Air passenger rights

Ministers adopted a progress report on the Commission proposals to strengthen passenger rights to ensure that air passengers have new and better rights to information, care and re-routing when they are stranded at the airport. At the same time there will be better complaint procedures and enforcement measures so passengers can actually obtain the rights to which they are entitled. The proposal (presented March 13 2013) clarifies legal grey areas and introduces new rights where necessary – for a full list see MEMO/13/203.

The Council adopted a progress report, although the Commission would have prefered a full general approach. There are several points still under discussion, delaying the entry into force of revised provisions.


The Presidency reported also to the Ministers on the progress made examining the Commission proposed regulation establishing a framework on market access to port services and financial transparency of ports. The regulation was proposed in May 2013 in order to create fairer conditions of competition and a legal and stable framework for port service providers and investments.

Ruling of ECJ on the Directive on cross-border enforcement of traffic offences

The Commission informed the Ministers on the European Court of Justice ruling about the directive seeking to facilitate the exchange of information concerning eight road traffic offences in order to allow for the identification of non-resident drivers when they commit one of these traffic offences in another Member Sate. The Directive was proposed in March 2008 and adopted by the legislators in 2011. It ensures and organises Member States access to each other's vehicle registration databases in order to be able to determine the person liable for the offence.

The Court, in its judgement of 6 May 2014, annulled Directive 2011/82/EU and maintained the effects of the Directive until the entry into force of a new Directive within a reasonable period of time, which may not exceed twelve months from the date of delivery of the judgement.

Aircraft tracking

In reaction to the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, the Commission is proposing a number of measures to ensure that the accurate position of aircraft is known at all time. The Commission will seek ministers' political endorsement of the approach.

Positioning and communication technologies already available today should enable the tracking of aircraft throughout the flight. However, not all large aircraft have the essential equipment installed, and a number of technical issues need to be addressed to make flight tracking systems sufficiently robust.

This is why the Commission envisages measures at several levels:

Amending EU aviation safety regulations in 2014-15, following scrutiny by the European Parliament and the Council;

Supporting the efforts of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to define short-term, mid-term and long-term solutions for flight tracking, because only a global approach will bring the greatest practical benefit;

Working with the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA), Eurocontrol, the SESAR Joint Undertaking and the aviation industry to encourage air carriers to use existing equipment and procedures and to promote the practical development and use of suitable technical solutions.

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