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Transport control disunites the European Union

08 May 2014 / 20:05:52  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

The establishment of a common service to control transport services was one of the main topics of the informal meeting of Ministers for Transport that took place in Athens within the context of the Greek Presidency of the European Union. The positions and differences between the member states and the European Commission represented by its Vice-President and Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas were apparent at the ensuing press conference too.

The establishment of a common controlling system relating to law compliance had been discussed about 10 days earlier at a conference in Paris, where the French Minister for Transport had suggested joint actions against mass violations on the part of transport companies.

"The rate of road transport in Europe is 75%. Transport is one of the largest sectors to which, however, we have not paid proper attention," said Commissioner Kallas and continued, "Indeed, the European legislation in relation to licences for the rendering of transport services, the labour legislation in different countries, the headquarters of transport companies, etc. is not always properly applied. However, the members of the traffic police take all these violations very seriously and see to the compliance with rules. Of course, the proposal of the French Minister regarding the establishment of a common control service may be considered as well."

In turn, Greek Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Michalis Chrisochoidis indicated that the problem lies mainly in the violation of the law. "The reactions of the colleagues vary according to the interests of their countries. The establishment of such a service is a very complex task. In any case, now all support the view that it is necessary to align and harmonise the rules in all Member States for this purpose."

Road safety was another major topic of the meeting of the Ministers for Transport. According to Kallas and Chrisochoidis, the situation in the European Union has improved over the past 10 years and this is mainly due to the construction of new infrastructure. As a proof of this change, Kallas stated that the number of road deaths recorded in 2013 was 8,000 less compared to that registered in 2012. "Last year we had 26,000 road accidents and this is less than half of the 55,000 crashes registered in 2001," he said.

The Commissioner said that the European Investment Bank continues to finance the road construction projects. The European Union strategy is aimed at the construction of safer and more effective roads with the help of technology and funding mechanisms.

In parallel, the Ministers discussed the human factor in causing road accidents. The decisions adopted include improved training and examinations for the acquiring of driving licences and stricter controls of both drivers and their instructors. A common framework for traffic control is under consideration too.

It is expected that a common European database of violators of traffic laws will be created to improve the cooperation that aims at reducing accidents on European roads.

Tags: PoliticsEuropeann UnionTransportLegislationRoad safety
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