On 28 March 2011, the European Commission presented its White Paper : ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system’. It contains an ambitious plan which aims at expanding mobility and at drastically reducing CO2-emissions by 2050 (WHP-001 and WHP-002 for the underlying working document).
The White Paper is accompanied by a Road Map from the European Commission. This is not subject to the decision-making process of the European Parliament and Council of Ministers. Every time the Commission proposes new regulations it will turn back to the White Paper and will take account of considerations already made. In the meantime, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the White Paper. When the European Commission proposes new regulations in accordance with the White Paper, it will also have to take into account the European Parliament’s position.
Limiting mobility is not an option
The White Paper wants to achieve a competitive transport sector which increases mobility and decreases emissions. The White Paper argues that resolving the climate change problem by only limiting mobility is not correct. Competition between transport systems is vital for the competitiveness of Europe in the world, for economic growth, for full employment and for the quality of every-day-life of EU citizens.
The White Paper argues that there is no need to restrict mobility no more than leaving things as they are. The dependency of the transport system on oil can be broken without sacrificing its efficiency or mobility.
The White Paper sets out a number of goals that have to be achieved by 2050. These are to cut emissions from aviation with 50 percent, from shipping with 40 to 50 percent and from road with 70 to 80 percent. At the same time, an increase of 50% in passenger travel is expected and an increase of 80% in freight. Europe will therefore have to focus on multimodality and will have to create conditions for a modal shift.
To realise these policy objectives, investments will be needed in new transport infrastructure. The Commission believes that this will have to be done differently than in the past, when Member States spent 5% of their GDP annually. In recent years, this percentage has dropped significantly and the economic crisis prevented states to raise spending to the old levels. In addition to the investment efforts of Member States, internalising the external costs and a call on private capital via bonds could solve the financial issue.
The White Paper lists 40 measures to achieve the overall goals.
Some relevant documents:
WHP-002: Commission working document accompanying the White Paper - Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system (European Commission)
WHP-001: White Paper - Roadmap to a Single Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system (European Commission)