Written by Marketa Pape,
Transport is the backbone of the EU economy, connecting people and businesses across various EU regions and countries. The coronavirus pandemic has shown the impact of mobility restrictions on the free movement of people, goods and services and, at the same time, confirmed the essential role of transport in safeguarding the functioning of vital supply chains. However, transport also generates significant costs to society, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, environmental pollution, accidents, congestion and loss of biodiversity.
EU ambitions to address these negative impacts have increased over the years. In December 2019, the European Commission put forward the European Green Deal that aims to make the EU carbon neutral by 2050. This goal was subsequently endorsed by the European Parliament and EU Member States. To achieve climate neutrality, the EU transport sector has to cut its CO2 emissions by 90 %. This requirement is in stark contrast with the past trend: despite previously adopted measures, transport is the only sector in which greenhouse gas emissions have kept growing.
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The Commission has therefore proposed a strategy outlining how it wants to transform the EU transport sector and align it with the European Green Deal, by making it green, digital and resilient.
While transport stakeholders have welcomed parts of the strategy as steps in the right direction, concerns about the text’s high ambitions and lack of concrete elements have been voiced.
The Commission is to start proposing the measures envisaged in 2021. It remains to be seen to what extent, with what modifications and how fast they will be adopted and then implemented by EU Member States, shaping transport transformation for the years to come.
Read the complete briefing on ‘Sustainable and smart mobility strategy‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.