President, Honourable Members of the European Parliament,
Ladies and gentlemen, former colleagues,
I am naturally very happy to be back with you again today, and to give you a first insight into our reflections on the future of transport and mobility. I would also like to welcome your choice to put sustainability at the centre of this debate as it perfectly mirrors our common ambition. As we look to the future, and in line with President Von der Leyen’s Political Guidelines, our policy actions will on the one hand be guided by the ambition of the European Green Deal to ensure that transport makes its important contribution to climate neutrality by 2050. And on the other, by a Europe that is fit for the digital age, when it comes to harnessing digital technologies to make mobility smart as well as sustainable. The Strategy on Sustainable and Smart Mobility will have these two objectives at its very heart, and will guide us towards a transport sector that is fit for a clean, digital and modern economy.
The Commission will adopt the strategy later this year, once we have completed our preparatory work, including the public consultation, and received feedback from stakeholders. What is certain is that the strategy must include ambitious measures aimed at significantly reducing CO2 and pollutant emissions across all modes. It will exploit digitalisation and automation, enhancing connectivity to the next level and last, but not least it will ensure safety and accessibility.
Our comprehensive Strategy on Sustainable and Smart Mobility will have to be unprecedented in ambition to achieve the 90% reduction in emissions by 2050. I want to share what I see as the four principles that will guide transport’s contribution to the European Green Deal:
- Making the transport system as whole more sustainable;
- Making sustainable alternative solutions available to EU citizens and businesses;
- Respecting the polluter-pays principle in all transport modes;
- Fostering connectivity and access to transport for all.
Therefore in the upcoming transport strategy, I am planning to put forward measures in the following four areas of action:
- Boost the uptake of clean vehicles and alternative fuels for road, maritime and aviation. In this regard, we are already looking into specific initiatives to ensure the availability of marine alternative fuels and sustainable aviation fuels;
- Increasing the share of more sustainable transport modes such as rail and inland waterways, and improving efficiency across the whole transport system;
- Incentivising the right consumer choices and low-emission practices;
- Investing in low- and zero-emissions solutions, including infrastructure.
On the road to a climate-neutral Europe by 2050, it is essential that sustainable and smart go hand in hand. Digitalisation is not simply a means to an end. We must take full advantage of the opportunities presented to us by digitalisation and automation – for instance, by increasing traffic efficiency through Artificial Intelligence, or reducing traffic hazards to a minimum, to name only a few. They are the key to cleaner, seamless, smart and safe mobility across all transport modes.
Digitalisation also opens a door to Mobility as a Service and the seamless combination of transport modes for a single journey, encouraging more people out of private cars and onto shared and more efficient forms of transport. We will of course be vigilant, and watch out for any impacts on jobs and skills.
To make this happen, we need:
Accessibility, affordability, connectivity
I am 100% committed to leaving nobody behind as we embark on this green and digital transformation. The Just Transition Mechanism will be key here. It will mobilise EUR 100 billion to address the social and economic effects of the green transition, focusing on the regions, industries and workers who will face the greatest challenges. The connectivity provided by transport is fundamental to freedom of movement in the EU.
Safety and security
It should go without saying that while we must embark on a significant reduction of emissions from transport and harness digital opportunities for the sector, safety and security will continue to come first. Our strategy will incorporate measures for maintaining the highest safety and security standards in the world for transport.
A real market for green, digital solutions is emerging, and I want the EU to be a global leader in these areas – from blockchain and digital mapping and tracking, to connected and automated vehicles, trains, planes and vessels. To secure our position at global level, we need to take investment in research and innovation very seriously, and we need to work closely with industry.
I look forward to your questions and comments.
Thank you for this interesting debate and pertinent comments, which I have carefully noted. The Commission is carefully listening to all of your questions and considerations, which will help us to put together the very best strategy for sustainable and smart mobility – a strategy that will see us decarbonise transport while reinforcing connectivity and competitiveness.
It is clear that the transition to sustainable and smart mobility must be a success if we want citizens to embrace it and the whole world to follow our lead. I am confident that it will be.
The forward-looking strategy I will present this year will be comprehensive. It will pave the way for equipping the EU with a mobility that is sustainable, modern, accessible, safe, secure and competitive for the decades to come.
You can be assured that the Honourable Members of this Parliament will be invited to contribute to this work. I look forward to continuing our discussion in the months to come, and once we have concrete proposals for policy actions and measures.
- Publication date
- 12 February 2020
- Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport