604

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European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS): An EU industrial programme to raise railway competitiveness

17-12-2019

In recent decades, the European Union has been promoting rail as one of the main pillars of its transport decarbonisation policy. This is likely to be even more the case with the European Green Deal and the ambitious emission reduction targets proposed recently by the new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. However, in order to contribute effectively to the decarbonisation of transport, railways must offer a harmonious, efficient, fast and safe service. Whereas over time the ...

In recent decades, the European Union has been promoting rail as one of the main pillars of its transport decarbonisation policy. This is likely to be even more the case with the European Green Deal and the ambitious emission reduction targets proposed recently by the new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. However, in order to contribute effectively to the decarbonisation of transport, railways must offer a harmonious, efficient, fast and safe service. Whereas over time the EU Member States had each developed their own railway signalling systems, the EU launched an industrial project to develop and deploy a single control, command and signalling system, known as the European rail traffic management system (ERTMS). The aim was to improve rail technical compatibility, efficiency and competitiveness. Since the late 1990s, the EU has been working on a regulatory framework, technical standards and ERTMS deployment plans. Given the scale of investment required, the EU has also allocated funding to the project through the Connecting Europe Facility and the EU structural and investments funds. ERTMS deployment is also supported by the active involvement of EU rail operators, infrastructure managers and the supply industry and the first commercial lines using ERTMS were opened in 2005. Although it offers benefits to both the rail sector and passengers, ERTMS still faces challenges, the greatest being low and patchy development, insufficient funding and coordination between Member States and slow migration from national legacy systems to ERTMS. Recent announcements of ERTMS full-scale deployment plans and commitments in Europe could be read as a sign that ERTMS is increasingly perceived as a top priority.

Research for TRAN Committee - Postal services in the EU

16-12-2019

This study aims at providing the European Parliament’s TRAN Committee with an overview of the EU postal services sector, including recent developments, and recommendations for EU policy-makers on how to further stimulate growth and competitiveness of the sector.

This study aims at providing the European Parliament’s TRAN Committee with an overview of the EU postal services sector, including recent developments, and recommendations for EU policy-makers on how to further stimulate growth and competitiveness of the sector.

External author

Henrik BALLEBYE OKHOLM, Martina FACINO, Mindaugas CERPICKIS, Martha LAHANN, Bruno BASALISCO

Low-cost air carriers and tourism

26-11-2019

The liberalisation of air transport, which resulted in the creation of new routes and new business models for airlines, in particular the development of low-cost carriers, has led to lower fares and wider access to air transport. In many countries, air transport is a catalyst for the development of tourism. As low-cost carriers in the EU have experienced substantial growth, serving mostly short-haul destinations, they are increasingly looking into investing in the long-haul market. This is an updated ...

The liberalisation of air transport, which resulted in the creation of new routes and new business models for airlines, in particular the development of low-cost carriers, has led to lower fares and wider access to air transport. In many countries, air transport is a catalyst for the development of tourism. As low-cost carriers in the EU have experienced substantial growth, serving mostly short-haul destinations, they are increasingly looking into investing in the long-haul market. This is an updated edition of an 'at a glance' note from June 2017, PE 607.263.

What if hydrogen could help decarbonise transport?

22-11-2019

Cheap hydrogen produced with excess electricity from fluctuating renewable energy sources such as wind could help fuel-cell technology to break into the mainstream. This could at the same time further boost the competitiveness of wind and solar energy production

Cheap hydrogen produced with excess electricity from fluctuating renewable energy sources such as wind could help fuel-cell technology to break into the mainstream. This could at the same time further boost the competitiveness of wind and solar energy production

Commitments made at the hearing of Adina-Ioana VĂLEAN, Commissioner-designate - Transport

22-11-2019

The Commissioner-designate, Adina-Ioana Vălean, appeared before the European Parliament on 14 November 2019 to answer questions put by MEPs from the Committee on Transport and Tourism. During the hearing, she made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to her portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to her by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: - a sustainable, safe and affordable transport.

The Commissioner-designate, Adina-Ioana Vălean, appeared before the European Parliament on 14 November 2019 to answer questions put by MEPs from the Committee on Transport and Tourism. During the hearing, she made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to her portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to her by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: - a sustainable, safe and affordable transport.

Commitments made at the hearing of Frans TIMMERMANS, Executive Vice-President-designate - European Green Deal

22-11-2019

The commissioner-designate, Frans Timmermans, appeared before the European Parliament on 08 October 2019 to answer questions from MEPs in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to him by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including "A European Green Deal" and a "Climate ...

The commissioner-designate, Frans Timmermans, appeared before the European Parliament on 08 October 2019 to answer questions from MEPs in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to him by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including "A European Green Deal" and a "Climate Action". The quotes included in this document only make reference to the oral commitments made during the hearing.

Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Adina-Ioana Vălean - Transport

11-11-2019

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication ...

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication skills'. At the end of the hearings process, Parliament votes on the proposed Commission as a bloc, and under the Treaties may only reject the entire College of Commissioners, rather than individual candidates. The Briefing provides an overview of key issues in the portfolio areas, as well as Parliament's activity in the last term in that field. It also includes a brief introduction to the candidate.

European Union Agency for Railways

29-10-2019

Established in 2004, and based in Valenciennes (France), the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) was set up to build a Single European Railway Area (SERA) and to make rail more effective and competitive. To contribute to these goals, ERA is tasked with enhancing technical compatibility and safety across EU rail systems. The EU's adoption of the technical component of the Fourth Railway Package in April 2016 has expanded ERA's powers, making the Agency a key player in rail security and interoperability ...

Established in 2004, and based in Valenciennes (France), the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) was set up to build a Single European Railway Area (SERA) and to make rail more effective and competitive. To contribute to these goals, ERA is tasked with enhancing technical compatibility and safety across EU rail systems. The EU's adoption of the technical component of the Fourth Railway Package in April 2016 has expanded ERA's powers, making the Agency a key player in rail security and interoperability.

Revision of the EU system for monitoring, reporting and verifying CO2 emissions from ships

18-10-2019

This initial appraisal assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment accompanying its proposals to revise the EU system to monitor, report, and verify CO2 emissions from ships, established by Regulation (EU) 2015/757. The proposal envisages aligning partially the EU system with the system adopted by the International Maritime Organization to monitor and report ship's fuel oil consumption. While the IA clearly identifies the problem – to facilitate the simultaneous ...

This initial appraisal assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment accompanying its proposals to revise the EU system to monitor, report, and verify CO2 emissions from ships, established by Regulation (EU) 2015/757. The proposal envisages aligning partially the EU system with the system adopted by the International Maritime Organization to monitor and report ship's fuel oil consumption. While the IA clearly identifies the problem – to facilitate the simultaneous application of the EU and IMO systems – its evolution could have been substantiated further. The general objectives identified by the IA are not entirely consistent with the manner in which the problem was defined; furthermore, there are no specific objectives, contrary to the requirements of the Better Regulation guidelines. The operational objective identified is not defined in operational terms. The only two options considered for further assessment, in addition to the baseline, do not appear to be substantially very different from each other, with the third option even being judged artificial by the Commission’s Regulatory Scrutiny Board. Moreover, the IA does not appear to have succeeded in structuring these two options convincingly. The analysis regarding the impacts of the identified options is very succinct. The Commission consulted a wide range of stakeholders, whose views were satisfactorily reported in the IA and were taken into account when considering the policy options. Overall, the IA appears to have taken on board most of the RSB's recommendations. However, the final revision of the IA report does not appear to have quantified the cost savings of the preferred option, as demanded by the RSB, and still contains Option 3, which the RSB had recommended to discard. As the IA does not explain how it has addressed the Board's suggestion regarding Option 3, it is unclear whether any changes were made to it or it was left untouched. Finally, the legislative proposal seems to be substantially consistent with the analysis carried out in the IA.

Civil and military drones: Navigating a disruptive and dynamic technological ecosystem

08-10-2019

Often labelled as one of today's main disruptive technologies, drones have indeed earned this label by prompting a fundamental rethinking of business models, existing laws, safety and security standards, the future of transport, and modern warfare. The European Union (EU) recognises the opportunities that drones offer and sees them as opening a new chapter in the history of aerospace. The EU aviation strategy provides guidance for exploring new and emerging technologies, and encourages the integration ...

Often labelled as one of today's main disruptive technologies, drones have indeed earned this label by prompting a fundamental rethinking of business models, existing laws, safety and security standards, the future of transport, and modern warfare. The European Union (EU) recognises the opportunities that drones offer and sees them as opening a new chapter in the history of aerospace. The EU aviation strategy provides guidance for exploring new and emerging technologies, and encourages the integration of drones into business and society so as to maintain a competitive EU aviation industry. Ranging from insect-sized to several tonnes in weight, drones are extremely versatile and can perform a very large variety of functions, from filming to farming, and from medical aid to search and rescue operations. Among the advantages of civil and military drones are their relative low cost, reach, greater work productivity and capacity to reduce risk to human life. These features have led to their mass commercialisation and integration into military planning. Regulatory and oversight challenges remain, however, particularly regarding dual-use drones – civil drones that can be easily turned into armed drones or weaponised for criminal purposes. At EU level, the European Commission has been empowered to regulate civil drones and the European Aviation Safety Agency to assist with ensuring a harmonised regulatory framework for safe drone operations. The latest EU legislation has achieved the highest ever safety standards for drones. Another challenge remaining for regulators, officials and manufacturers alike is the need to build the trust of citizens and consumers. Given that drones have been in the public eye more often for their misuse than their accomplishments, transparency and effective communication are imperative to prepare citizens for the upcoming drone age.

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