EP Committee guide: TRAN striving for 'ambitious EU transport policy'

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Europe needs to 'reconcile mobility needs, climate protection and job creation', says Michael Cramer.

The new chair of parliament's transport (TRAN) committee Michael Cramer is calling for "a holistic and ambitious EU transport policy that reconciles mobility, climate protection and job creation". Cramer, who has been an MEP and member of the Greens since 2004, was also determined to underline the fact his committee would work to "improve democratic control and transparency".

The chair continued by outlining the main issues that TRAN would be handling, citing the commission's 2011 white paper on transport as a basis from which the committee would act. He identified three key issues in particular; climate protection, the approach to investment in transport infrastructure and social dumping.

Regarding climate protection he explained that "by 2050 the EU wants to achieve a carbon emissions cut of 60-80 per cent". He also pointed to the parliament's aim of achieving "a first step by the end of this decade: a 20 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020 – compared to 1990 levels". For Cramer, the 2050 and 2020 targets are "both necessary and achievable".

On the issue of transport infrastructure funding, he cited the example of the "connecting Europe facility, which will have a budget of €26bn", adding that the parliament now wanted this money to be "used in a clever way to reconnect Europe… by closing gaps in cross-border rail connections". On the issue of social dumping, where competitors undercut local service providers through lower labour standards, he revealed that "all political groups have expressed great interest in this fight". "We want to put an end to 'wild west' competition," he added. Cramer also reiterated his desire to "strive for more transparency... and persistently defend the prerogatives of our institution", highlighting the fact that too many deals in previous committees had been carried out "behind closed doors". He was keen to emphasise that his committee would scrutinise legislation more seriously and publically.

Cramer concluded by saying that "working with the outgoing commission hasn't always been easy for our committee". The German deputy attributed these strained relations to "the enforcement of adopted laws often being neglected", highlighting the example of "passenger rights that are often only applied in theory or the many truck drivers that see their rights ignored". However, he was optimistic about the new legislature, saying, "I am confident that with the new commission, we can really leave this behind and agree on an ambitious transport agenda for our continent. Jean Claude Juncker made some big promises and now his commission has to deliver".

Michael Cramer is chair of parliament's transport and tourism committee.

SOURCE: The Parliament Magazine, October 16th 2014: https://www.theparliamentmagazine.eu/articles/feature/committee-guide-tr...