Council meeting in Luxembourg examines EU urban transport issues (LU)

EU Transport ministers met in Luxembourg at the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council on June 24. The meeting focused on the adoption of conclusions on an action plan for urban mobility presented by the European Commission in September 2009.

The action plan is designed to help local, regional and national authorities attain the goal of a sustainable, healthy and safe urban mobility. Key initiatives include the move to low-carbon transport, development of a strategic research agenda for transport technology and ensuring effective transport and logistics networks throughout the EU.

Although little was concluded at the meeting, the council indicated that each member state should create all response strategies in this field. In addition, the council encouraged the commission to examine future needs for the improvement of urban mobility and to explore all available resources within the existing financial framework to finance urban mobility.

At the meeting, the Belgian delegation presented its priorities for the EU presidency (starting on 1 July). In the transport sector, the Belgian EU presidency intends to reach an agreement on Eurovignette. The directive aims to put in place road tolls that reflect the external costs generated by the transport of merchandise by lorry (pollution, noise and congestion, according to the European Commission's proposal). Given the current economic context, reaching an agreement on this directive will prove very challenging.

Another priority will be the new white paper on the EU's transport policy, which will contain the main areas for action in the next 10 years on infrastructure, decarbonisation, "clean" vehicles and intelligent technologies. The Belgian EU presidency will start discussions with all member states on the white paper, which the commission will present in December.

Sources: Council, Europolitics

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