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Transport Council on 3 December 2014 in Brussels

Date: 16/01/2015

European Union Transport Ministers met in Brussels on Wednesday 3 December 2014 under the Italian Presidency of the EU. Commissioner Violeta Bulc, responsible for Transport and Mobility, represented the European Commission.

Main agenda items for Transport Ministers included:

  • Single European Sky II+
  • 4th Railway Package
  • Danube Ministerial Meeting

1. Single European Sky 2+

What was expected at this Council? The Ministers discussed the adoption of a general approach on the Commission's Single European Sky 2+ proposals.

Commission position: The Commission regrets that the progress on the file has been blocked for such a long time and encourages the Transport ministers to support the file in the upcoming Latvian presidency.

Background: The SES 2 + initiative looks to head off a capacity crunch as the number of flights is forecast to increase by 50% over the next 20 years. Inefficiencies in Europe's fragmented airspace bring extra costs of close to 5 billion Euros each year to airlines and their customers. They add 42 kilometres to the distance of an average flight forcing aircraft to burn more fuel, generate more emissions, pay more in costly user charges and suffer greater delays. The United States controls the same amount of airspace, with more traffic, at almost half the cost. In March 2014 the European Parliament voted to support strengthening and pushing forward the Single European Sky 2+ (SES 2+) initiative as a key move to accelerate the implementation of Single European Sky.

For more information:




2. 4th Railway Package

What was expected at this Council? The Commission expected the policy debate to continue on the 4th Railway Package, which will focus on domestic market opening, fair and equal access to the network, financial transparency and the competitive award of public service contracts.

Background: In January 2013, the Commission adopted a package of measures to deliver better quality and more choice in railway services in Europe (the 4th Railway Package). Rail is a vital part of EU transport, with a key role in addressing rising traffic demand, congestion, fuel security and decarbonisation. But many European rail markets are currently facing stagnation or decline.

The Commission proposed far reaching measures to encourage more innovation in EU railways by opening EU domestic passenger markets to competition, as well as substantial accompanying technical and structural reforms.

After the Council reached a political agreement on the technical aspects of the Package (IP/14/643), it started the examination of the market-related aspects in July 2014.

For more information:



Video: The future of rail in Europe 


3. Danube Ministerial Meeting

What was expected at this Council? After the Council meeting, the Transport Ministers of the riparian States of the Danube met to discuss a number of commitments to endorse the Master Plan for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the river and its tributaries.The Ministers of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Hungary are expected to sign the conclusions.

Background: The meeting is organised to reassert existing commitments and obligations to maintain the fairway to a good navigation standard and undertake measures to tackle problems like low water or ice.

For more information:

TEN-T Rhine-Danube corridor 

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