Archive pour la catégorie ‘Transport’

EU Funding: Europe to be in a pole position for the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Race

Vendredi 30 mai 2008

The future of fuel cells and hydrogen technologies in Europe is on its way. The Council adopted today the regulation setting up the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking

This public-private joint technology initiative (JTI) will implement the EU target-oriented research and development to support the broad market introduction of these technologies. Founding members are the European Community and a non-profit association of European industry interests composed of a major share of Europe’s fuel cells and hydrogen companies of all sizes from micro to large multinationals. The Commission is expected to fund 470 M€ from the Seventh Framework Programme for a period of six years which will be at least matched by industry contributions. The first calls for proposals are expected to be published after this summer. The official celebration of the launch will be at the JTI’s first Stakeholders’ General Assembly the 14 and 15 of October this year in Brussels.

The main goal of the JTI is to speed up the development of fuel cells and hydrogen technologies in Europe and enable their commercialisation between 2010 and 2020. The partnership will implement an integrated and efficient programme of basic and applied research and technology development activities, demonstration and support actions focused on the most promising applications. The JTI will ensure coordination of activities at European level in order to maximise synergies with Member States and regional programmes.

Scenario analysis, undertaken in the EU-funded project “HyWAYS” indicates that hydrogen, if introduced with suitable policy measures, could reduce the total oil consumption by the road transport sector by 40% between now and 2050. Furthermore, by 2050, CO2 savings from road transport of up to 50% compared to peak levels are possible. Comparing overall spending for hydrogen production, supply and vehicles with the savings to be gained from replacing conventional fuel and conventional vehicles over time, the break-even point could be most likely reached between 2025 and 2035. Nevertheless European Industry needs additional stimulation to invest in the technology of hydrogen and fuel cells.

The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen JTI is the culmination of a 6-year effort involving the main stakeholders in the sector. It started in October 2002 with the establishment of the High Level Group for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies. They developed a common and collective “vision” on the contribution that these technologies could make to the realisation of sustainable energy systems in the future. The industry-led European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform launched in June 2003 followed this path and developed the main strategic documents for Europe and assisted the Commission in the preparation of the JTI.

The legal entity, the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, will be led by a Governing Board. Daily management and operations will be the responsibility of an Executive Director supported by the Programme Office with its seat in Brussels. A Scientific Committee composed of high level personalities will advise the Governing Board. The Member States will closely follow the activities via the States Representatives Group. The Stakeholders’ General Assembly will be held on an annual basis and be open to all public and private stakeholders to stimulate a dynamic debate and information exchange on ongoing and future activities.

Press room - European Commission

Roadmap on visa free travel opens EU doors to Serbia

Mercredi 7 mai 2008

European Commission Vice President Jacques Barrot, in charge of Justice, Freedom and Security officially presented the Roadmap on visa liberalisation with Serbia in Belgrade today. The Roadmap gives clear indications to the Serbian authorities on the measures that need to be taken in order to grant visa free travel to all Serbian citizens

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Assistance to the Candidate countries to support their progressive compliance with EU rules and policies, including the acquis communautaire if necessary, in preparation for their accession

Since 1 January 2008, Serbian citizens enjoy the benefits of a visa facilitation agreement with the European Union. This agreement provides simplified conditions for visas, including a waiving of a visa fee for a broad range of categories of citizens including students, sportsmen and sportswomen, cultural workers, journalists, people visiting family members living in the EU, people in need of medical treatment, economic operators working with EU companies, etc. Up to 80% of Serbian citizens can currently be exempt of a visa fee. People who pay for visa are charged the special reduced rate of 35 euros instead of 60 euros.

Yet the EU sent another strong message of openness/encouragement to all Serbian citizens. On 30 January 2008 the dialogue on visa liberalisation was launched. The General Affairs and External Relations Council of 28 January 2008 welcomed this step and invited the Commission to present detailed roadmaps setting clear benchmarks to be met by all the countries in the region in order to gradually advance towards visa liberalisation. The Roadmap presented to Serbia officially today is the first in line.

The Roadmap follows a balanced approach setting benchmarks which are realistic and achievable in the near future. It sets clear requirements for the reforms to be implemented in key areas such as security of documents, border management, fight against illegal migration, fight against organised crime and corruption and fundamental rights.

The process will be closely monitored by the Commission assisted by Member States’ experts. The Commission will report regularly on the implementation of the Roadmap and will consider the possibility to present a proposal for the lifting of the visa obligation for Serbian citizens.

Press room - European Commission

More funds for vital investment in EU’s neighbourhood

Mardi 6 mai 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Support for local development projects that target sustainable development and approximation to EU policies and standards in neighbour countries

The EU’s Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF) will be formally launched tomorrow, the 6th of May, by Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, representatives of EU Member States and ENP partner countries. The NIF is a key instrument of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and will mobilise additional funding for infrastructure projects mainly in the energy, transport and environment sectors in the entire area of the European Neighbourhood Policy by providing grant support for lending operations of public European financial institutions

The Commission has already made available €100 out of the €700 million it intends to allocate to the NIF for the period 2007-2013. On top of this, the Facility is open to contributions from all EU Member States so that resources from the Community budget and of the EU countries and public financial institutions will be pooled and better streamlined for the benefit of partner countries. Germany (€10 million), Italy (€1 million) and Sweden (€1 million) plan to allocate funds to the NIF in 2008; others Member States are expected to announce their contributions shortly.

Although the NIF will concentrate on the energy, transport and environment sectors, its support may also be provided for SME development and to social sector projects. It is expected that the Facility will generate up to €5-6 billion of lending.

Geographically NIF operations will focus on countries with ENP Action Plans agreed with the EU, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia, Jordan, Lebanon, Moldova, Morocco, the occupied Palestinian territory, Tunisia and Ukraine. Moreover, on a case by case basis, the other Neighbourhood countries may also profit from NIF grant support for projects of cross border or regional nature to which the EU and its neighbouring partners attach particular interest.

Commission facilitates interoperability for Europe’s trains

Jeudi 24 avril 2008

 European funds

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

Today the European Commission adopted an amendment to the European standard for train signaling and speed control – the European Train Control System (ETCS) - which guarantees a common standard that enables trains to cross national borders and enhances safety

Deployment of ETCS across key freight and high speed corridors will greatly improve the competitiveness of European railways.

The ETCS concept is simple: information is transmitted from the ground to the train, where an on-board computer uses it to calculate the maximum authorised speed and then automatically slows down the train if necessary. ETCS is one component of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS).

Currently, there are more than 20 different signalling systems in operation in Europe and their incompatibility is a major technical barrier to international traffic. ERTMS is a tool to establish an integrated and intelligent railway transport system in Europe. Using the most up-to-date technologies, ERTMS allows for reduced transport costs and improved punctuality and safety. It helps make rail a more competitive alternative to road, air and sea transport. ERTMS is also a key element of several trans-European transport network (TEN-T) priority projects and is important for the overall upgrade of European railways.

Following an intense ten year phase of research and development, validation of the ETCS standard was carried out from 2000 to 2007 with real scale projects underway in parallel. Since 2005, feedback from projects prompted the need to fine tune the specifications in order to move from local to global compatibility and ensure interoperability between all projects in Europe. Today’s decision eliminates the risk of any ambiguities that might have resulted in incompatible projects and guarantees that Europe’s trains equipped with ETCS can travel on any line equipped with ETCS.

ETCS is already installed on over 2,000 km of track and by 2012 over 11,000 km of ETCS will be in operation. Freight transport will benefit significantly from ETCS and when complemented by other measures, freight volume is expected to increase by 55% along certain corridors, travel time is expected to be reduced by 20% and reliability is expected to increase by 26%. All of this makes rail a more attractive option for freight transport. Rail safety will also be enhanced.

Press room - European Commission

EU on the fast track to a greener, safer, smarter road transport system

Lundi 21 avril 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for commercial projects that stimulate competitiveness of combined transport as against exclusively road transport
 Grants for projects promoting the objectives of the common energy and transport policy
 Grants for research to improve transport systems in society and minimise the negative impacts and consequences of transport on the environment
 Grants in the frame of the Trans-European Networks for transport

Today in Ljubljana, EU Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potocnik opened the Transport Research Arena 2008 Conference and Expo, together with Radovan Žerjav, Slovenian Minister for Transport

This four-day flagship event brings together over 1000 CEOs and senior executives from EU road transport industries, national and EU administrations, infrastructures operators, public and private R&D organisations, as well as users’ associations. It showcases the latest policy developments and technology breakthroughs which contribute to make road transport greener, safer, smarter and more user-friendly, while strengthening EU industries’ leadership in that key economic sector.

Road transport industries represent a major source of economic revenue, employment and technological development in Europe. Efficient road transport systems are also crucial to ensure the competitiveness of many sectors of the European economy, strengthen the Internal Market, and answer EU citizens’ increased needs for mobility. At the same time, innovative transport solutions must respond to climate change and pollution concerns, rein in energy consumption and decrease dependence on fossil fuels, alleviate road congestion, and cut traffic fatalities. To respond to these challenges, both private and public sectors are joining forces and increasing investments in research. The automotive industry already spends more in R&D than any other European industrial sector. At the same time, the European Commission allocates over EUR 4 billion to road transport research in the current EU Framework Research Programme (FP7).

Jointly organised by the European Commission, the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC) and the Confederation of European Directors of Roads (CEDR), TRA 2008 provides a unique platform for all partners to drive forth cooperation, focus strategic agendas, and better coordinate research activities, programmes and policies across Europe. Among key issues addressed at this year’s conference are urban mobility, new engines and power trains, alternative fuels, hydrogen technologies, future vehicle concepts, “smart” cars, intelligent logistics, active and passive safety, improving infrastructures in new Member States, noise abatement, emissions reductions, and the low carbon transport economy.

Looking to the future, TRA aims to stimulate interest in transport research by spotlighting the most exciting scientific promises in that area. The 2008 YEAR Awards, an FP7 project coordinated by University College Dublin, recognize outstanding R&D projects submitted by engineering graduates from across Europe. Presented by Commissioner Potočnik in a special ceremony, these Awards will reward outstanding and creative research being carried out by students from all over Europe in 6 categories.

  More information:
Transport Research Arena TRA 2008 website

Justice and Home Affairs Ministers adopt EU Action Plan on Enhancing the Security of Explosives

Vendredi 18 avril 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 New framework programme for research and technology aiming at better exploiting research capacities in Europe and transforming scientific results into new products, processes and services.
 Grants for research projects focussing on security with a civil application in fields such as transport, health, civil protection, energy and environment
 Grants for police cooperation and training for organisations in charge of combating crime

On 18 April 2008, the Council of the European Union adopted the EU Action Plan on Enhancing the Security of Explosives

The Action Plan is based on the Commission’s Communication of 6 November 2007 on enhancing the security of explosives and has been adopted following intensive negotiations between the Member States and the Commission.


On 25 March 2004, in the immediate aftermath of the Madrid attacks, the European Council, in its Declaration on Combating Terrorism, established as a priority the need “to ensure terrorist organisations and groups are starved of the components of their trade”. The European Council noted in particular that “there is a need to ensure greater security of firearms, explosives, bomb-making equipment and technologies”. In response, a policy on enhancing the security of explosives started to be developed. One of the key measures undertaken was the setting up of an Explosives Security Experts Task Force (ESETF), composed of private and public sector representatives, with a view to preparing recommendations for actions in the explosives security field. The ESETF completed its work in June 2007 with the identification of 50 recommendations for actions. These recommendations form the basis for the Action Plan.

Structure of the Action Plan

The Action Plan is built on:

- Three pillars: prevention, detection and response containing specific measures on explosive precursors, the supply chain (storage, transport, traceability) and detection.
- A horizontal set of measures concerning public security which complement and consolidate the three pillars.

Concrete actions

The Action Plan contains 48 specific actions under the horizontal, prevention, detection and response headings, along with deadlines for their implementation. If it is possible that a particular action could have significant economic consequences, the implementation of that action will depend on further feasibility work.


- The European Bomb Data System will constitute a common EU system enabling authorised governmental bodies at EU and Member States level to have 24/7 access to relevant information on incidents involving explosive devices. The system should be setup by Europol with certain funding provided by the Commission (it is part of the Crime Prevention Annual Work Programme 2008).
- The Early Warning System on Explosives (EWS) would link public security authorities of the Member States and Europol. It would provide for early warnings on such issues as:
* Immediate threats
* Theft of explosives
* Theft of detonators
* Theft of precursors
* Suspicious transactions
* Discovery of new modi operandi

The EWS could be built on the existing system functioning between the G6 states. The Commission could provide funding for the extension of the G6 network to all Member States.


Funding will be made available for measures falling under the Action Plan by way of two programmes:

- The Prevention of and Fight against Crime programme;
- The 7th Framework Research Programme

Press room - European Commission

EU Transport Ministers adopt conclusions on the Single European Sky and grant a mandate to the Commission to open negotiations with Israel

Mardi 8 avril 2008

EU transport ministers today adopted conclusions on the implementation of the Single European Sky regulations, based on the report of the Commission. This report and today’s conclusions provide a legal basis for the preparation of further legislation in this field.

The conclusions call upon Member States to actively participate in the implementation of the Single European Sky, but the importance of expanding the single European sky over EU borders is also stressed.

The European Union wishes to strengthen external relations with neighbouring countries in the field of aviation in order to achieve unification of conditions to perform air transport activities outside its borders.The aim of negotiations is to increase the number of flights between the EU and Israel and thereby increase trade and tourist flows. An important share of the benefits will be taken by the European airlines and also by the European economy as a whole. The obvious political and economic added value of the air transport agreement with Israel could – in the long term – encourage other countries in the region and help strengthen regional co-operation in the Middle East as well.


Project develops car-safety technology

Mercredi 2 avril 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for research to improve transport systems in society and minimise the negative impacts and consequences of transport on the environment

Imagine driving down the motorway, when suddenly a car swerves dangerously out of its lane and heads straight in the direction of your car. Sensing an imminent collision, your car takes measures to protect you from a life-threatening crash. This technology is not science fiction, but will soon find its way to a car showroom near you

Over 40,000 people are killed every year on the roads in the EU, that amounts to a whole town being wiped out every year. And when it comes to injuries as a result of road accidents, the numbers reach a staggering 1.7 million a year. These numbers are unacceptable by any standard and the EU has committed itself to reducing them by half by 2010. For this reason, the EU is actively supporting measures aimed at reducing road accidents.

Just one of these EU-sponsored projects promises to revolutionise the way we drive and how we think about safety. The Advanced Protection Systems (APROSYS ) project is developing a car body that transforms an average car into an intelligent vehicle that can actively think and protect its occupants in the crucial moments just prior to or during a crash. The system will decide if there is a collision risk with another car 200 milliseconds before impact and can survey an area of 20-metre range around the car.

The technology was developed by a team of researchers working across Europe. ‘Our goal was to improve the active crash safety of motor vehicles - that is, to adapt the technical properties of the car body in such a way that it absorbs energy at the crucial moment and thus protects the occupants,’ says Björn Seipel of the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF, who is managing the project.

According to the researchers, the system developed acts as a kind of sixth sense which is able to anticipate accidents and then activate the side-impact protection system. The stereo cameras and radar sensors continually scan the environment, and a central computer analyzes the data. ‘During the journey, the system has to distinguish moving objects - meaning other cars that could potentially cause an accident - from stationary objects such as houses or trees,’ explains Dr Dieter Willersinn of the Fraunhofer Institute for Information and Data Processing IITB., who is also involved in the project.?

In addition to developing the appropriate computer software, the system also utilises the latest in shape memory alloys, which remember their shape. When the computer software senses danger, it sends a command to heat the shape memory alloy. The alloy in turn immediately triggers a spring which slackens and pushes a steel bolt, which is integrated in the car seat, by the door. At the same time a stable metal body in the door is brought into position to support the steel bolt. ‘The system of the bolt and the metal box stabilizes the car door and absorbs energy on collision,’ explains Mr Seipel. ‘We opted for this solution because it is faster than any conventional solenoid switch.’

  More information:

Common rules for safeguarding civil aviation - sky marshals must be “specially selected and trained”

Mercredi 12 mars 2008

The European Parliament adopted a new regulation that aims to ensure a high level of aviation security throughout the EU.It lays down common rules and standards, such as screening of passengers and cabin baggage, access control and aircraft security checks. The regulation also deals with in-flight-security measures, such as the deployment of “sky marshals” and the carriage of weapons on board an aircraft. The conciliation was approved with 583 votes in favour, 21 against and 35 abstentions.

European Parliament and Council representatives were able to strike a deal in conciliation on civil aviation security beginning of January after long and extensive negotiations.

Security programmes at national airport and air carrier level
Common basic security standards include, inter alia, screening of passengers and cabin baggage, access control, screening of hold baggage, aircraft security checks, security controls for cargo and mail, staff recruitment and training as well as patrols and other physical controls.

Security programmes at national airport and air carrier level shall assure that the common rules are applied and maintained.

Member States are free to apply more stringent measures. However, those measures must be “relevant, objective, non-discriminatory and proportional” to the risk that is being addressed.

Sky marshals
For the first time, in-flight security measures such as access to the cockpit, unruly passengers and in-flight security officers (’sky marshals’) are addressed at European level.

The new regulation doesn’t oblige Member States to deploy in-flight security officers.  Each Member State retains the competence to do or not to do so.

Parliament and Council agreed that those Member States that decide to deploy sky marshals must ensure that they are “specially selected and trained”. Strict rules concerning sky marshals were a crucial point for Parliament at the first and second readings.

As regards the carriage of weapons, those must not be carried on board an aircraft (with the exception of those carried in the hold), unless the required security conditions in accordance with national laws have been fulfilled and authorisation has been given by the States involved.

Financing security measures
Each Member State determines the shares of the cost of security measures to be borne respectively by the state, the airport entities, air carriers, other responsible agencies or users. Additionally, the Commission will, no later than 31 December 2008, present a report which will consider what steps need to be taken in order to ensure that security charges are used exclusively to meet security costs, and to “improve the transparency of such charges”. If appropriate, this report will be accompanied by a legislative proposal.

One-stop security checks
Passengers and/or their baggage arriving on flights from third countries that have aviation security standards equivalent to the EU law need not be re-screened. Therefore, agreements between the EU and third countries, which recognise that the security standards applied in the third country are equivalent to the EU standards, should be encouraged.

Entry into force
The regulation enters into force on the twentieth day after publication in the Official Journal and will be applied not later than 24 months after this date.