TRAN Discusses Blue Growth, Environmental Impact Assessment and 4th Railway Package

30 May 2013

On 29 and 30 May, the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) of the European Parliament adopted the own-initiative report on Blue Growth.

The blue growth initiative, including a motion for resolution, proposes a new political approach to the maritime economy by embracing visionary proposals for innovation and sustainable development in the maritime and coastal sectors, providing the right institutional operating framework. The aim of the report is to foster high-employment and sustainable growth in order to develop the sector by respecting the fragile marine environment. The vote of the plenary session in Strasbourg is scheduled on 1 July.

The TRAN Committee is also involved in the revision of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) directive by expressing a non-binding opinion to the ENVI Committee. Rapporteur Cuschieri (S&D/Malta, photo), presented his draft opinion on 29 May, which contains few minor adjustments, such as better definition of some environmental criteria, cooperation among competent authorities in case of projects with trans-border effects and alignments with the legislation of TEN-T guidelines. The shadow rapporteurs welcomed the opinion as balanced and rightly addressing the most important issues but expressed some concerns on the exclusion of deadline extension for projects of strategic common interest. The TRAN Committee will vote the draft opinion on 18 June while the ENVI Committee will vote the draft report on 10 July.

Finally, on the same day, MEPs of the TRAN Committee had an exchange of views on the Technical Pillar of the 4th Railway Package, namely the measures regarding Interoperability, Safety and Role of the ERA, Governance and the PSO. The Committee expressed the importance of having a simple system able to reduce costs and entry barriers. In particular, the European Union needs a stronger network of regulatory bodies, and a stronger European Railway Agency with clear and independent responsibilities. On the other hand, more flexibility is needed regarding public service obligations and governance issues in order to make better use of public money.

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