The European Transport Forum 2013
Debating the future of European transport
Keynote address Siim Kallas, Vice President & Commissioner for Transport, European Commission
Mr Kallas began his address by stressing that transport is responsible for an overwhelming amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, and that our dependence on conventional fuels comes at a high economic and environmental cost. The Commission’s objective, he said, is to improve energy efficiency and to develop alternative fuel uses to reduce carbon emissions and energy dependency. The EU’s dependency on oil can decrease through development of alternative fuels, and this for all modes of transport. Support of the transport industry and especially the automotive industry will be vital to this transition. Developing innovative solutions will make cars cleaner and more energy efficiency and will enable companies to reap the benefits of the new market opportunities. EU policies have sought to help the automotive industry will be vital to this transition.
Developing innovative solutions will make cars cleaner and more energy-efficient and will enable companies to reap the benefits of the new market opportunities. EU policies have sought to help the automotive industry move further along that path, Mr Kallas said, for instance through Horizon 2020, a seven-year long research and innovation project. EU public-private partnerships will also help overcome market fragmentation, will promote a comprehensive sector-wide strategy, and encourage cross fertilisation and innovative market solutions. The industry shift to innovation and alternative solutions is not only a great market opportunity for the automotive industry, Mr Kallas concluded, but will also create additional jobs in the EU and create further opportunities in other markets.
Keynote address Connie Hedegaard, Commissioner for Climate Action, European Commission
Ms Hedegaard began by pointing out that electromobility was very much a reality in urban contexts. But, she said, it is also clear that there is no one-size- fits-all approach. In terms of layout, size, geography and users’ transport needs, European cities are incredibly different. So sustainable urban mobility policies must address those different concerns and be tailored to the specific needs of cities. One of the major present challenges is therefore to find ways to scale up the various good solutions already in effect and share best practices across the EU. The efficiency of the conventional internal combustible engines of cars fuelled by diesel and gasoline can still significantly be improved to the benefit of the climate, urban air quality and consumers’ wallets. But just as important, Ms Hedegaard argued, is greater use of electricity either through hybrid or entirely battery-powered vehicles. Electric vehicles can be an attractive, realistic and economical option not just for cities, but also for transport between and in and out of cities. Her third key point was that for greater consumer trust in electric cars, the establishment of a minimum of infrastructure across the EU is critical.