The 2011 Commission White Paper "Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system" is the key document of the European Commission to shape the European transport policy until 2020.
The CoR issued an opinion on the White Paper in 2011 (COTER-V-014, rapporteur: Mr António Costa (PT/PES)) and has requested, in its resolution on "Proposals of the Committee of the Regions for the new European Union legislative mandate", a mid-term review of the transport White Paper, which should also include a debate on the Union's future transport policy beyond 2020.
The obejctive of the own-initiative opinion is to express the CoR's point of view on this important matter against the background of the elaboration of an own-initiative report on the matter in the European Parliament.
The European Parliament adopted its resolution on on the "Implementation of the 2011 White Paper on Transport: taking stock and the way forward towards sustainable mobility" on 9 September 2015. Although the wording of the resolution is different from the wording of the CoR opinion, it takes a similar position on a number of topics, such as the internalisation of external costs, the promotion of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, the Promation of multimodal travel information, planning and ticketing, or the importance of the transport sector in developing tourism.
The European Commission concluded from its conference on "Taking stock of EU transport policy - the 2011 White Paper: achievements and challenges", which was held on 12 November 2015, that the 2011 White Paper remains a relevant document that does not need major revision, especially of its overall aims and targets, but that would benefit from punctual adaptation, in particular to integrate new developments such as digitalization.
This conclusion is in line with the CoR opinion, which recommended that the European Commission gives consideration, in the mid-term review and the possible updating of the goals, to new challenges such as (...) new technological developments(...).
On 1 July 2016, the European Commission presented its report on "The implementation of the 2011 White Paper on Transport 'Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – towards a competitive and resource-efficient transport system' five years after its publication: achievements and challenges" (SWD(2016) 226 final), with the aim of taking stock of the implementation of the White Paper and providing an overview of the respective achievements and challenges, as well as providing a factual ground for upcoming policy debates and actions. The report makes an explicit reference to the position of the CoR and its opinion on the matter.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- emphasises that the mobility of people and goods is a precondition for achieving the fundamental EU objectives of economic, social and territorial cohesion and completion of the single market;
- recommends that the European Commission give consideration, in the mid-term review and the possible updating of the goals, to new challenges such as geopolitical developments, the shift in transport flows, the emergence of new competitors, new technological developments, social dumping, and the specific conditions unfolding in each Member State and region. It should also establish intermediate goals for the period beyond 2020;
- underscores the wider role of local and regional government in urban and regional transport planning and mobility and their decisive importance when it comes to people's quality of life and regional competitiveness. The CoR therefore calls for local and regional authorities to be more actively involved in the decision-making process;
- underlines the importance of adequate and properly funded transport networks and means for geographically and demographically disadvantaged areas, such as those with highly dispersed populations, and for island, outermost, cross-border and mountain regions, as a basic factor in bringing about territorial cohesion. The needs of such regions are not sufficiently recognised in the EU’s policies and programmes affecting transport;
- is disappointed that little progress has been made so far on intermodal ticketing, especially for multimodal transport across regional or national borders; expects significant progress in this area by 2020;
- calls for coordinated action with a view to strengthening multimodal transport, above all by creating the necessary links to nodal points (such as airports, ports and intermodal transport centres), and highlights the need for coordination at Member States' borders.