Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Brussels, 1 June 2023

Ministers responsible for transport met in Luxembourg to discuss the Commission’s proposal for a revised directive on driving licences and take stock of progress on a revised directive aiming at facilitating the cross-border exchange of information on road-safety-related traffic offences.

The presidency also informed ministers about the state of play of the transport components of the ‘Fit for 55’ package and other pending legislative files.

Reform of the driving licences directive 

On 1 March 2023, the Commission submitted a proposal for the fourth reform of the driving licences directive as part of the ‘road safety package’ with a view to improving road safety and facilitating the free movement of persons.

The Council held a policy debate with ministers exploring possible ways this piece of legislation could further contribute to increasing road safety in the Union. Ministers expressed their views on the requirement of a health self-assessment before a driving licence is issued or renewed and on whether the Commission’s proposal provides the right elements in terms of digitisation and adaptation to technological development. As regards digital driving licences, ministers expressed their opinions on key elements in their design and implementation, e.g., in relation to EU standards, controllability, phasing-in and gradual replacement of physical licences. The ministerial debate brought good practices applied by member states to the fore, which can be exploited for the ongoing legislative process, and highlighted the basic principles that need to be followed when national experts continue their discussions at the technical level within the Council’s preparatory bodies in the coming months.

Cross-border exchange of information on traffic offences 

The Commission’s proposal to amend the 2015 directive on cross-border exchange of information on road safety-related traffic offences was submitted on 1 March 2023, as part of the road safety ‘package’, aiming to ensure that non-resident drivers respect the rules in other member states.

Ministers took note of the progress report on the work undertaken so far at the Council’s preparatory bodies on this proposed revision. They agreed that this piece of legislation is a helpful tool in enhancing road safety by helping the competent authorities to identify persons responsible for cross-border traffic offences. However, the ministerial debate showed that more work is needed within the Council in the coming months with a view to reaching a good outcome on this legislative proposal.

Any other business
Fit for 55 package

The presidency informed ministers on the state of play of the transport components of the ‘Fit for 55’ package, namely:

  • the regulation on the use of renewable and low-carbon fuels in maritime transport (FuelEU maritime initiative)
  • the regulation on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure (AFIR)
  • the regulation on ensuring a level playing field for sustainable air transport (ReFuelEU aviation initiative)
Current legislative proposals

The presidency informed the Council on the state of play of the following pending legislative proposals:

  • the regulations on Singe European Sky 2+ (SES2+ package)
  • the revision of the directive on the framework for the deployment of intelligent transport systems (ITS)
  • the revision of the regulation on Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T)
  • the directive on the Union-wide effect of certain driving disqualifications
Other topics
Ukraine

The Commission informed ministers on the developments in the transport area in response to Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine with a focus on the solidarity lanes initiative and specific transport sanctions against Russia.

Aviation

The Commission provided possible guidance on preparations for the summer air travel season, such as coordination of air navigation service providers and measures to limit disturbances linked to industrial actions, to prevent congestion and delays for passengers.

The Austrian, French, Irish and Netherlands delegations addressed the environmental impact of private jet travel at EU level.

Land transport

The Czech delegation informed the Council on the upcoming congress of the world road association (PIARC) due to take place in Prague from 2 to 6 October 2023.

The Bulgarian, Czech, French, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Romanian and Slovak delegations addressed the new EURO 7 vehicle emission standards and their impact on mobility in the EU.

The German and Italian delegations addressed the issue of the free movement of goods along the Brenner motorway.

The Austrian and Netherlands delegations presented the third progress report of the platform on international rail passenger transport (IRP).

Shipping

The Finnish delegation presented the Finnish candidature for the post of Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

Presidency’s work programme

The Spanish delegation presented its priorities and work programme for the second half of 2023.

The Council also adopted without discussion the items on the lists of non-legislative A items.

Informal lunch

Over an informal lunch, ministers exchanged views on possible measures for more efficient and environmentally friendly freight transport. Ministers discussed the most important measures and challenges in achieving this objective in Europe in the coming years. The debate showed that special attention should be paid to aviation and maritime transport, as these are, for the time being, still the most difficult sectors to decarbonise, given their global nature, the role of international regulations, long investment cycles and long lifetimes of the assets. Ministers also noted the importance of coordinating public and private investments and explored possible ways in further improving the energy efficiency when transporting goods. Finally, ministers highlighted that member states should also consider  the overall industrial policy, including  possibilities to increase production capacity in Europe, hence reducing the need and dependency on imports and long transport routes.

Source – EU Council

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