Final evaluation: The achievements of the Czech Presidency in the field of transport

The main achievements of the Czech Presidency in the field of transport include above all the aviation package and road package, and the revision of the Marco Polo programme.

A major success was also achieved in rail transport, where the Council, led by the Czech Presidency, arrived at a political agreement as to a regulation on a European Rail network, ensuring the competitiveness of freight transport. The Czech Presidency also paid great attention to the issue of road safety.

During the Czech Presidency, the Member States and the European Parliament reached agreement on two legislative proposals that will contribute to the more efficient functioning of the internal market (precisely in the spirit of the Czech Presidency’s motto a “Europe without Barriers”) and the sustainable and safe development of air transport. Both legal documents respond to current shortcomings in air traffic management and the provision of air navigation services, promote the development of new technologies, and contribute to the achievement of a balance between airport and airspace capacity. The airlines themselves welcome the adoption of these rules. The Commission estimates that these improvements should result in an average reduction of flight times by 8 to 14 minutes and fuel savings of 7 – 11 percent per flight.

The Czech Presidency also had to promptly respond to the present economic crisis, whose consequences are felt primarily by the air transport sector. In less than two months, agreement was successfully reached between the Council and the European Parliament as to the amended regulation on common rules for the allocation of airport slots. The aim is to guarantee airlines the same airport slots in the 2010 summer season as they were allocated for the 2009 summer season.  This is a temporary measure that allows carriers to respond to the current demand.

The Czech Presidency reached agreement with respect to the road package, which comprises three legislative proposals concerning access to the market and the conditions to be complied with to pursue the occupation of transport operator in international road freight and coach transport. These measures should make it easier to do business in the international transport sector. A great achievement is the agreement on cabotage, i.e., the possibility for carriers to provide domestic freight transport in an EU country other than that in which they are registered.  “This package constitutes another step in strengthening the internal market in international road transport.  It will make it easier for carriers to do business in the European Union, and it will simplify rules and limit administrative burdens,” says the Deputy Head of the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the EU, Jana Reinišová.  Another achievement is the introduction of new rules for international coach transport, which will provide greater flexibility in determining the mandatory rest periods for drivers.

The Czech Presidency also achieved agreement with the European Parliament on the issue of the revision of the Marco Polo II programme, which should make it easier for European carriers to draw financial assistance from EU funds for projects that increase the efficiency of freight transport and reduce its environmental impact.  An important aspect of this revision is the simplification and acceleration of administrative procedures for applicants.

At the June formal Council the Czech Presidency achieved political agreement on the regulation concerning the European rail network for competitive freight.  The proposal sets rules for establishing freight corridors and specifies the method of their management and administration, the planning of investments, and traffic and capacity management.  The goal is to improve the quality of services provided to rail transport operators and to increase the competitiveness of this mode of transport, and thereby to simplify the transition of the carriage of goods from the overburdened roads to the railway.  “We have managed to ensure that the development of freight corridors does not have an adverse impact on passenger rail transport,” noted Minister of Transport Gustáv Slamečka.  The creation of corridors will significantly reduce the direct as well as indirect costs related to rail transport and reduce the administrative burdens on carriers.  The carriage of goods will also be significantly accelerated.

The area of road safety enjoyed great attention from the Czech Presidency.  Above all, an agreement was reached between the Council and the European Parliament as to a proposed regulation on the type-approval requirements for the general safety of motor vehicles.  The new regulation lays down harmonised rules for the compulsory installation of new advanced safety features in vehicles.  These technical standards and requirements will contribute to the faster introduction of advanced safety technologies, thereby also significantly contributing to increased road safety.  The informal meeting of the Council of Ministers of Transport discussed the issue of using intelligent transport systems (ITS) in the planned Road Safety Action Plan 2011-2020.  Several accompanying events held under the auspices of the Czech Presidency were also devoted to the issue of road safety.  As an example, let us mention a conference held in Brno on 4 – 5 June 2009, as a part of the Brno Motor Show.

The Czech Presidency paid considerable attention to the international aspects of the EU transport policy.  At the March Council meeting, the Czech Presidency managed to achieve political consensus among the EU Member States on an agreement on air transport between the European Community and Canada, which constitutes an important step on the way to opening the aviation market between the two parties.  The agreement concerns, among other things, the lifting of a restriction on the number of flights and on points of departure and arrival, which could lead to increased competition and to a drop in ticket prices.  At the June Council meeting, a mandate was approved for the Commission to negotiate a comprehensive aviation agreement between the EU and Georgia.  The agreement should contribute to the enhancement of economic and trade relations between the EU and Georgia.  Primarily at its very close, the Czech Presidency actively worked on the issue of a planned agreement with the countries of the Western Balkans about the establishment of a Transport Community.  The future agreement should significantly contribute to the deepening of relations between the EU and West Balkan countries.  “Over time, we paid attention to all of the foreign-policy priorities of the Czech Presidency,” notes Slamečka.  “It is evident that transport plays a very important role in the deepening of international economic cooperation and removal of barriers to international trade.”

We can conclude that during the Czech Presidency, major progress was achieved in the implementation of the goals of European transport policy.  Thanks to the legislative acts and other initiatives of the European Commission that were discussed during the Czech Presidency, European transport should be more efficient, competitive and environment friendly, in the future.  “I am convinced that the Swedish Presidency has something to build on in this regard,” said Slamečka.


Contact:

  • Lada Hlaváčková, Spokeswoman of the Ministry of Transport
  • Tel.: +420 225 131 530, GSM: +420 607 946 989, E-mail: lada.hlavackova@mdcr.cz

Last update: 16.8.2011 15:17

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