Archive pour la catégorie ‘Transport’

EU Funding: Third maritime safety package

Mardi 26 août 2008

In its work programme for the second half of 2008, the French Presidency has set itself the objective of making progress on the third maritime safety package (”Erika III”)

 
 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants in the frame of the Trans-European Networks for transport

Erika III consists of seven legislative proposals presented by the European Commission in November 2005. On the basis of five of these proposals, the EU Transport Council meeting on 6 June in Luxemburg adopted six common positions, which were subsequently transmitted to the European Parliament for a second reading in the framework of the co-decision procedure. The Council seeks a swift agreement with the Parliament on the six dossiers.

The Erika III package intends to amend the existing European legislation on maritime safety and complete it by new measures. The texts agreed upon in the Council would strengthen the present provisions concerning the inspections carried out at ports on vessels flying foreign flags (port state controls) as well as the monitoring system set up in 2002 to enhance the safety and efficiency of maritime traffic in Community waters. They would also reinforce the control of the organisations which inspect ships and issue the relevant safety certificates on behalf of the flag states (so called classification societies). In addition, they foresee EU-wide rules governing the investigation of accidents at sea as well as compensation for passengers involved in maritime accidents.

Following the accidental oil spill of the tanker “Erika” in December 1999 off the French coast, the EU member states adopted in 2001 a set of measures (”Erika I” package) to improve safety at sea. Erika I, which entered into force on 22 July 2003, provided for stricter port state controls and the accelerated withdrawal of all single-hull oil tankers. Simultaneously, the requirements for classification societies were raised. These measures were supplemented in 2002 by the “Erika II” package, which included the creation of the Community vessel traffic monitoring system as well the establishment of the European Maritime Safety Agency to ensure the effective implementation of the EU’s maritime safety rules.

 
  Source:
EU Council

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EU Funding: The EU improves access to air transport for people with reduced mobility

Jeudi 24 juillet 2008

The day after tomorrow – 26 July 2008 – sees the entry into force of new rules that will give the disabled and the elderly access to air transport comparable to that enjoyed by all other passengers flying to or from, or passing in transit though, airports in the European Union, with no discrimination and at no additional cost

The Commission believes that the application of these measures will provide an effective response to the needs of a large and – with Europe’s demographic ageing – growing section of the population.

About a third of the EU’s population suffer from reduced mobility. These are mainly disabled persons and the elderly, while others are unable to walk the long distances often required in modern airports. For some years, many airports and airlines have genuinely been trying to help. However, comprehensive assistance, free of charge, is not provided everywhere or by all airlines. This reality constitutes a major obstacle to access to air transport for persons with reduced mobility.

These problems are addressed by Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006, adopted by the Parliament and the Council on 5 July 2006, which will enable persons with reduced mobility to travel by plane without difficulty. The Regulation’s provisions deal with three areas; those covering the first area have been in force since 26 July 2007. The other provisions complementing these will enter into force the day after tomorrow, 26 July 2008.

Equal treatment of persons with reduced mobility

For flights from airports in the EU and for flights from third countries to an airport in a Member State, if the carrier is European the Regulation prohibits airlines and tour operators from refusing to take bookings from passengers, or to carry them, because of a disability or reduced mobility. The only restrictions allowed are on safety grounds, these having to be duly substantiated by national or international regulations, or if it is technically impossible to carry such passengers, e.g. because of limited space in the aircraft. This should put an end to the – generally unintended – discrimination seen up to now.

Free assistance in all EU airports

As from the day after tomorrow, European airports will have to provide a specific set of services for persons with reduced mobility from the moment they enter the airport to the boarding gate, at both the airport of departure and the airport of arrival. The assistance must be adapted to the mobility of the person benefiting from it. These passengers will be able to use airport infrastructure in the same way as any other passenger. When boarding starts, they will enjoy priority boarding, under the best of conditions and with the necessary equipment.

Assistance on board

On flights from EU airports and from airports in a third country to an EU airport, if the air carrier is European airlines will be obliged to provide certain services, such as carrying wheelchairs and guide dogs, free of charge. These rules will also enter into force the day after tomorrow.

Any person affected by a disability or reduced mobility and wishing to receive assistance is requested to indicate his or her particular requirements to their travel agency or air carrier as soon as possible. It is not compulsory to do this, but it must be done at least 48 hours before departure if the person wishes to be given assistance adapted to their needs.

The EU Member States, for their part, have to set up enforcement bodies responsible for ensuring that the Regulation is applied on their territory. Any person affected by a disability or by reduced mobility who considers that these rights have not been respected can bring the matter to the attention of the management of the airport or the airline in question, as appropriate. If they are not satisfied with the response, a complaint can be made to the national enforcement body designated by the Member State concerned.

Most of the Member States have already sent the Commission a list of the names and address of their enforcement body, while others have indicated their intention to name their body shortly. The Commission will carefully check to make sure that every Member State fulfils its obligations in this area and that it introduces a system of penalties, as it is required to do.

 
  Source:
Press room - European Commission

EU Funding: 5 million euro repair of major regional road in eastern Serbia completed

Mercredi 23 juillet 2008

A red ribbon was cut across the M25 regional road near the eastern Serbian town of Zajecar on 10 July, marking the completion of a €5 million EU-funded project to repair and rehabilitate key sections of this important transport route

The project was carried out as a follow-up to the municipal support programme which the European Agency for Reconstruction managed for this part of Serbia - a region relatively under-developed but with high potential for economic growth.

The ribbon was snipped by Daniel Giuglaris, head of the European Agency’s Belgrade office, and Zoran Drobnjak, director of “Roads of Serbia”, the government agency which had been the EAR’s partner in the project.

The M-25, or route E-752 on the European road map, is a key regional traffic artery running south for over 200 km from the town of Kladovo on the river Danube to the southern city of Nis. Many parts of it were badly in need of repair. Nine segments, totalling 30.24 km, have therefore been renewed and upgraded.

In addition, “Roads of Serbia” had spent an additional €5 million repairing and upgrading a further 54 km of feeder roads. Works started in August 2007 and were carried out by a local company from Zajecar.

Speaking at the ceremony, Daniel Giuglaris pointed out that the Agency had been active in eastern Serbia for five years

 
  Source:
European Agency fir Reconstruction

EU funding: All-inclusive air fares just around the corner as MEP back legislation on transparency

Mercredi 9 juillet 2008

Air travellers will soon be able to see at a glance exactly what they have to pay for their tickets, as Parliament approved new EU rules.

Air fares as displayed will have to include all taxes, fees and charges added to the basic ticket price and known at the time of publication. Parliament approved a deal on this legislation reached with the Council, as it takes on board the EP’s key first-reading amendments.
The price you actually have to pay

Booking via Internet - often the only possibility with low-cost air carriers - is a particular concern. Under the EU regulation, all carriers will in future have to provide the general public with comprehensive information, “including on the Internet,” on their air fares. Air fares that are “addressed directly to the travelling public” will have to include all applicable taxes, non-avoidable charges, surcharges and fees known at the time of publication.

The following information, at least, must be specified: air fare or air rate, taxes, airport charges and other charges, surcharges or fees, such as those related to security or fuel. Optional price supplements must be communicated in a clear, transparent and unambiguous way at the start of any booking process and their acceptance by the consumer must be on an “opt-in basis”.

Security taxes and charges

With security charges on the rise, MEPs successfully argued that the consumer has a right to know how high these costs are, and what they are used for. Where airport or on-board security costs are included in the price of an air ticket, these costs will have to be shown separately on the ticket or otherwise indicated to the passenger. And, whether levied by the Member States or by air carriers or other entities, security taxes and charges must be transparent and be used exclusively to meet airport or onboard aircraft security costs.

A wide-ranging regulation

The new rules on transparency of air fares are part of a regulation which updates existing EU legislation on a range of matters to do with the operation of air transport services in the Community.

Among other things, it aims to establish a level playing field for leasing aircraft and to clarify who has administrative responsibility for revoking or suspending licences.

In addition, stricter controls on the financial situation of airlines should ensure that, if a carrier is on the verge of going bankrupt, passengers’ rights can be safeguarded.

Moreover, Member States must now ensure the proper application of Community and national employment legislation to employees of any Community carrier operating air services from an operational base outside the Member State where that carrier has its principal place of business. In the past, the use of bases outside the country of origin has made it difficult to determine which territory’s employment laws apply to crews.

The new regulation should enter into force later this year or early next year.

 
  Source:
European Parliament

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EU funding: Rail transport: new agreement for the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS)

Vendredi 4 juillet 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants in the frame of the Trans-European Networks for transport

The European Commission and the rail industry (manufacturers, infrastructure managers and undertakings) today signed a memorandum of understanding in Rome aimed at accelerating deployment of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERMTS) throughout Europe.

Deployment of ERTMS, which is equally suited to high-speed and conventional railway lines, will enable trains to carry a single signalling system on board. This new European concept will reduce operating costs and enhance the efficiency of the system.

ERTMS can succeed only if, on the one hand, there is full technical compatibility between the tens of thousands of kilometres of track and the trains to be equipped and, on the other, deployment is carried out swiftly and in a coordinated manner. Failing to equip just one kilometre of a route can seriously jeopardise the competitiveness of rail transport on the entire route.

The memorandum of understanding signed today is aimed at addressing these two fundamental issues, mainly by:

* using a single technical baseline[1] for all railway lines equipped with ERTMS in the European Union up to the end of 2012;
* getting manufacturers to agree to include software updates in new contracts at a client’s request. Clients (rail companies and infrastructure managers) currently complain about the excessive costs imposed by manufacturers;
* agreeing on a programme enabling a new version of the specifications[2] to be drawn up by the end of 2012 in such a manner that trains equipped with this new version can run on lines equipped with the old version;
* improving and harmonising test procedures for checking the compatibility and compliance of equipment;
* accelerating deployment of ERTMS, particularly by adopting a binding European plan and equipping new models of engine.

In the autumn the Commission will present a draft of this binding European deployment plan and at the beginning of 2009 will publish a new call for proposals amounting to around €250 million to provide financial support for the deployment of the system from the trans-European transport networks budget. Deployment of ERTMS on infrastructure is also eligible for financial support from the Regional Fund and the Cohesion Fund.

Background

Over twenty different signalling systems currently coexist on railway lines in Europe. For instance, the seven signalling systems installed on the high-speed Thalys train plying between Paris and Brussels increase the risk of breakdowns and generate extra costs. These costs are such that engines do not generally cross frontiers.

The ERTMS concept is simple: information is transmitted from the track to the train, where an on-board computer uses it to calculate the maximum authorised speed and to slow the train down automatically if necessary. The on-board computer therefore has to understand the information sent from the ground.

ERTMS can bring about a significant increase in competitiveness. That is particularly true in the case of freight when the system is deployed in a coordinated manner along a route and is accompanied by relevant measures, such as harmonisation of the operating rules or enhancement of the infrastructure if necessary. On the Rotterdam-Genova corridor, for example, the volume of goods transported could be doubled by 2020, which would be the equivalent of an additional heavy goods vehicle passing along this route every 37 seconds.

Around 2 000 km of track is currently in use in the European Union but contracts already cover almost another 30 000 km, as well as 5 000 vehicles, within Europe and even outside. These contracts consolidate the European rail industry’s leading position in the world.

In March 2005, the Commission signed a first memorandum of understanding with the sector with the chief aim of studying the feasibility and economic viability of deploying ERTMS on major trans-European network routes. The rail-freight and high-speed sectors are particularly affected by this project, which was first developed thanks to a European research programme, and then funded from the trans-European network budget.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission

EU funding: Volunteering: Commission proposes a boost for the mobility of young people

Jeudi 3 juillet 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for any informal youth initiative by means of a transnational European voluntary service for the youth

The European Commission today proposed the launch of an initiative to create more opportunities for young people to volunteer across Europe.

Young people who wish to volunteer in another Member State currently do not have enough opportunities to do so. With this proposal, the Commission is putting forward a solution that respects Europe’s diversity of volunteering schemes and allows them to better inter-operate and open up to volunteers from other EU countries.

Youth volunteering

The initiative concerns young people in the European Union under the age of 30 who wish to volunteer in a country other than their own. Such voluntary activities differ from formal employment, since they are usually unpaid (except for some pocket money and expenses) and cover a limited period of time, typically several months. Volunteers are active in a whole range of areas, from civil protection and social inclusion to cultural preservation and the environment.

Cross-border volunteering offers young people a special experience that can have strong beneficial effects on their personal development. This kind of ‘non-formal education’ — learning outside the classroom — can improve young people’s employability and career prospects while at the same time strengthen their sense of solidarity with, and active citizenship of, the society of which they are a part.

The current situation

Youth volunteering differs widely across Europe, and there are many schemes. While these may be based on civic services organised by public authorities in one country, they may be run by non-governmental organisations in another.

At the European level, there is the EU’s Youth in Action programme, which offers opportunities for volunteering, among them the European Voluntary Service (EVS). This enables young people to be full-time volunteers for up to one year in another country participating in the programme. However, the demand for cross-border volunteering among youth in Europe exceeds by far the capacities of the EVS alone.

The proposal

The Commission is encouraging Member States to improve the interoperability of national youth volunteering schemes in order to make it easier for a volunteer from one country to participate in the volunteering schemes of another.

Actions proposed to Member States include:

• gathering knowledge on existing schemes within their territories

• disseminating information about available opportunities

• increasing the number of cross-border volunteering opportunities under different national schemes

• providing a reasonable level of quality assurance of volunteering activities

• ensuring appropriate recognition of the learning outcomes from volunteering

• providing targeted support to socio-educational instructors specialised in youth (commonly called ‘youth workers’) and young people with fewer opportunities.

These efforts would be supported through the Europass and Youthpass services, and the promotion of trans-European youth volunteering towards employers, authorities and institutions. The Commission would support the use of these instruments and continue to develop the European Young Volunteers’ Portal as part of the existing Youth Portal.

The ambition of the proposal is not to bring about radical change but rather an evolution of mechanisms already existing within Member States. Based on existing Resolutions on youth volunteering and Recommendations on mobility, the goal is to propose operative recommendations towards improved mobility of young volunteers in Europe.

The proposal is part of the EU’s “Renewed Social Agenda: Opportunities, Access and Solidarity in 21st century Europe”. It contributes to the agenda’s objectives by opening up access to new opportunities for mobility, non-formal education and solidarity across borders.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission

EU Funding: Commission opens up new prospects for transport links with the Western Balkans

Jeudi 26 juin 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants in the frame of the Trans-European Networks for transport

The European Commission opened on june 24th negotiations on a treaty establishing a Transport Community with the Western Balkans

This first meeting, held in Brussels with the region’s Transport Ministers, will be followed in the autumn by technical meetings with a view to concluding the Transport Community Treaty in 2009.

The treaty aims to establish an integrated market for infrastructure and land transport, maritime transport and inland waterways and to align the relevant legislation in the Balkans region with the EU legislation, so as to enable transport users and the general public to benefit sooner from the advantages of accession.

The treaty will help to accelerate the integration of the transport systems and to harmonise rules on safety, environmental protection and services. A Transport Community is a solid way to foster cooperation, stability and peace in the region.

Also, for the Balkans, this Community will go alongside the rapid development of a region with exceptional economic potential, providing a major boost to sustainable economic growth and the revitalisation of the rail networks.

For the EU, the Transport Community will help to promote stability and prosperity throughout Europe. It will also allow our trans-European transport network to expand and contribute to the further development of our internal market.

 
  Source:
Press room - European Commission

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Eu funding: The Commission launches Single European Sky II for safer, greener and more punctual flying

Mercredi 25 juin 2008
 
 

The European Commission adopted today the second package of legislation for a Single European Sky (SES II).

These proposals aim to further improve safety, cut costs and reduce delays. That will in turn mean lower fuel consumption, so that airlines could save up to 16 million tons of CO2 emissions and cut their annual cost by between two and three billion euros. This full reform of the European air traffic management system will be key to managing the doubling of traffic expected by 2020. Not only airline passengers, but also freight forwarders and military and private aviation will benefit. The package will create additional jobs in aviation. Meanwhile, European manufacturing industry will gain from being at the forefront of innovation in air traffic management technology (i.e. satellite based systems - Galileo, datalink, etc.), thus giving it a competitive edge on global markets.

The SES II package is based on four pillars: updates to existing legislation from 2004; the SESAR ATM (Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research) Master Plan or ‘technological pillar’; the ’safety pillar’ and an airport capacity action plan.

The first pillar introduces several enhancements to the original SES legislation, including binding performance targets for air navigation service providers, a European network management function to ensure convergence between national networks and a definitive date for Member States to improve performance ,initially through a cross border cooperative approach known as Functional Airspace Blocks.

The new package places environmental issues at the core of the Single European Sky and improved air traffic management should realise its potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation. Prospective improvements are up to 10% per flight, which amounts to 16 million tons of CO2 savings per year and a reduction of annual costs by €2.4 billion.

The technological pillar focuses on introducing better technology. The SESAR programme brings together all aviation stakeholders to develop and operate a new generation, Europe-wide air traffic management system. Its deployment will enable the safe, sustainable and cost-effective handling of twice the current traffic by 2020.

The safety pillar provides for increased responsibilities for the European Aviation Safety Agency. This would ensure precise, uniform and binding rules for airport safety, air traffic management and air navigation services, as well as sound oversight of their implementation by Member States.

Finally, the airport capacity pillar tackles the shortage of runways and airport facilities, which currently threatens to become a major bottleneck. The initiative seeks to co-ordinate better airport slots issued to aircraft operators with air traffic management measures as well as the establishment of an airport capacity observatory to fully integrate airports in the aviation network.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission

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EU funding: MEPs adopt legislation on higher safety standards for road infrastructure

Vendredi 20 juin 2008

MEPs adopted a legislative report on a directive to upgrade road safety management standards.

The aim is to establish EU-wide standards on road infrastructure management. Safety standards for roads, in particular in road design maintenance, differ greatly between the Member States. The Directive requires the establishment and implementation of rules relating to road safety impact assessments, road safety audits, the management of road network safety and safety inspections by the Member States.
To raise standards, the draft directive provides for impact assessments of the effect of road building on safety, safety audits and inspections, and improved safety in the existing road network. This would include the identification of high-risk road sections as well as the use of intelligent road signs and intelligent transport systems and telematics services for emergency and signage purposes.

The EP Transport Committee initially rejected the draft directive outright, on the grounds that it risked creating too much red tape and that this area was best dealt with at national level.

EP negotiators have now reached an agreement reached with the Council, which the House endorsed in Strasbourg. The EP rapporteur is Helmuth Markov (GUE/NGL, DE) and was adopted with 498 votes in favour, 8 against and 6 abstentions.

The substance of the legislation is contained in the annexes to the directive but, under the compromise, these will be non-binding on Member States. Thus, the directive will in effect not lay down any major substantive requirements but rather serve as a set of guidelines for Member States on how to manage road infrastructure safety.

Road signs

MEPs say that Member States must ensure that signs are in place to warn road users of road infrastructure segments that are undergoing repairs and which may thus jeopardise the safety of road users. These signs must also include signs visible during both day and night time and set up at a safe distance.

Roadside parking

Parliament underlines that sufficient roadside parking areas are very important not only for crime prevention but also for road safety. Parking areas enable drivers to take rest breaks in good time and continue their journey with full concentration. The provision of sufficient safe parking areas should therefore form an integral part of road infrastructure safety management.

The rapporteur and on behalf of the EPP-ED, PES, ALDE, EUL/NGL and Greens/EFA tabled a range of amendments on assessments and audits, on sufficient roadside parking areas in order to promote crime prevention, and on the use of uniform signs EU-wide in order to warn road users of road infrastructure segments undergoing repairs.

 
  Source:
European Parliament

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Eu funding: Launch of the European programmes in the French region: Bourgogne

Lundi 9 juin 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Support for investment of economic public and private actors in order to reinforce competitiveness, attractivity of regions and employment
 Grants in the framework of national sectoral or regionalised programmes to support the improving of employment and social inclusion
 Grants available for projects at local level focusing on the diversification of rural economies and the improvement of the quality of rural life, financed by the EARDF

Participate to the conference on the 2007-2013 new programming on the structural funds and on EAFRD which will occur on June, 24th, 2008. Registrations before 12 June.

ONLY AVAILABLE IN FRENCH

 
  Source:
French region Bourgogne
 
  More information:
Registration form