The EU Commission White Paper on Transport in 2001 aspired to change the direction of EU transport policy acknowledging the growing congestion and raising pollution and the related adverse impacts due to the important increase in transport activities accompanying economic growth.
The mid term review of the White Paper in June 2006 and the Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment identified urban transport as an area than can significantly contribute to achieve policy objectives in the field of climate change, energy efficiency, congestion, modal split, and lead to a better competitiveness, health and social inclusion across Europe.
The issue of sustainable urban transport came even more in the fore front since the beginning of 2007, when different reports and communications were released. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in February 2007 stated that the warming of the climate system was unequivocal and furthermore was very likely related to human activity responsibility.
In the month of February 2007 also, the Council of the European Union meeting on Environment (20/02/2007) reckons that stimulating a substantial improvement of energy efficiency on both the demand and the supply side will reduce Green House Gas but stresses that international collective action will be critical to drive an effective, efficient and equitable response on the scale required, and finally welcomed the Energy Policy for Europe “Limiting the global climate change to 2Â°”.
Also, the Council meeting on Competitiveness about the renewed Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs and the Sustainable Development Strategy stressed the continuing need for a EU sustainable transport policy enabling Europe to meet its social, economic and environmental interests. The Council adds that in this respect, innovation in transport plays a major role in increasing Europe competitiveness and development.
Meanwhile, the Commission having decided to elaborate a Green Paper to outline a new role for urban transport within the European transport policy, embarked on a large consultation of the stakeholders.
To support the preparation of the Green Paper, key events and meetings are organized by the Directorate for Transport and Energy DG-TREN :
A conference has been held on 31 January 2007 in Brussels “Urban Transport : problems, solutions, responsibilities” gathering all stakeholders in the urban transport area, in which EMTA took part. Besides, a series of technical workshop are planned.
– The first workshop on clean energy and efficient vehicles took place during the Energy Week in Brussels 24-27 January 2007.
– The second workshop on urban transport financing and the third workshop on efficiency, intermodality and intelligent transport took place on 6 and 7 March 2007. EMTA was invited to present examples of good practice.
– A fourth workshop is planned on 15 May and a final conference is foreseen on 4 June 2007.
– The Green Paper should be released by the Commission in the autumn 2007.
The Commission also launched an electronic consultation on the Green Paper to reach more actors.