Statement from Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar
Following a very positive engagement at Council, Minister Varadkar brokered political agreement on all five legislative files before Transport Ministers today in Luxembourg.
- A revision of the 2003 directive on the reporting of occurrences that could endanger aviation safety, which will represent a step change in aviation safety systems in the EU;
- A recast of the 2008 directive on the interoperability of the EU rail system, which is part of the technical pillar of the ‘fourth railway package’ published by the Commission in January - this was a priority identified from day one and a key pillar in the Commission’s proposals to enhance the competitiveness and secure the long-term future of European Railways. Agreement today provides a strong basis to build consensus on the remaining elements of this package and advance towards a fully-integrated rail system in Europe
- Two directives which are part of the ‘roadworthiness package’ presented by the Commission in July 2012:
- Firstly, an update of the 2000 directive on the ad-hoc technical roadside inspections to which commercial vehicles are subject in addition to the regular roadworthiness checks;
- Secondly, a revision of the1999 directive on vehicle registration documents.
Agreement on these files will now enable Lithuania to open negotiations with the EP to commence on the overall package
- A revision of the 1998 directive on the rules applicable to marine equipment to be placed on EU ships.
Minister Varadkar said:
“Right from the start of our Presidency we have set ambitious targets in the transport field. The EU Transport Council today reflected this ambition with five important files tabled for general approach agreement, as well as a progress report setting out the substantial progress made on one of our key priorities: the Connecting Europe Facility. We also had a very useful first exchange of views on the Commission’s new proposals to secure Air Passenger Rights.”
“We also discussed developments in the transport sector since the publication of the Commission's White Paper on transport in 2011 and the potential contribution that EU transport policy can make to competitiveness, growth and job creation.
Our over-riding priority for the EU Presidency was to promote a safer, more efficient and sustainable transport network for Europe. Most of the legislative files we have prioritised in the transport sector will contribute to making Europe’s transport infrastructure and operations more competitive, more efficient and safer for its citizens.
Today’s Council builds on recent successes including agreement with the EP on the Trans-European Transport Network Guidelines (TENT). We also marked progress on the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) which I hope will be finalised in the very near future.
We have already brokered agreements with the European Parliament on six major transport files. These include TENT; two directives to implement the Maritime Labour Convention; the Recreational Craft Directive; Galileo Funding and Governance Regulation; and the Tachograph Regulation. We now await formal approval of Council to the final text on two of these – TENT and Flag State - hopefully this week.
All told this represents a substantial success for the Irish Presidency in the transport sector, fulfilling the high ambition set at the outset.”