Association, Inc.

Issue No. 2, 2010

Moving towards an efficient and integrated transport network

The European Commission adopted on 3 March the Europe 2020 Strategy, a ten-year plan for growth to be implemented at EU and national levels. According to Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, this is “about what we need to do today and tomorrow to get the EU economy back on track”.

In fact, Barroso explained that “Europe has a growth deficit which is putting our future at risk and we must decisively tackle our weaknesses and exploit our many strengths”.
In November 2009 the European Commission launched a public consultation on this new programme baptized the 2020 Strategy. This will replace the current Lisbon Strategy and is intended to deliver greener and socially inclusive growth.

Moreover, on 11 February the EU leaders had an informal discussion on this topic. They then agreed that the decarbonisation of the transport sector needs to constitute a key element of a strategy for a competitive and sustainable economy. According to Jose Manuel Barroso, the EU’s industrial production fell by 20% compared to its peak in 2008 to reach a level not seen since the 1990s. Jobs in the eco-industry have increased by 7% every year since 2000 and the market for green technologies is forecast to triple by 2030. As regards automotive production, Commission figures show that given GDP and population growth across the world, the global vehicle park is expected to increase from the current 800 million vehicles to about 2 billion by 2030-2035. At the same time, Barroso explained, “global competition is fierce and our economies are interdependent”.

The European Commission says that the transport sector represents 7% of EU GDP and emits one quarter of total CO2 emissions, with 97% of the sector depending on oil. Congestion costs amount to more than EUR 100 billion per year. A rethink of the EU’s transport policy is thus necessary. Better integration of transport networks, promoting clean technologies and smarter infrastructures represent essential elements.

Against this background, the Commission proposes a horizontal approach for sustainable growth targeting competitiveness (especially when it comes to preserving the EU’s lead in the market for green technologies), climate action and a more resource efficient economy. From a policy perspective, this would mean putting forward measures to modernise and decarbonise the transport sector but also working on the basis of a “vision of structural and technological changes required to move to a low-carbon resource efficient and climate resilient economy by 2050”.

The Spring European Council to be held in Brussels on 25-26 March is to focus on the basic structure for this new EU model of economic policy, and an endorsement of the strategy is foreseen for next June.

JAMA agrees that initiatives for the decarbonisation of transport clearly open up new opportunities to boost Europe’s competitiveness. Furthermore, JAMA is a strong supporter of an integrated approach towards a low-carbon society which the Europe 2020 Strategy promotes. Indeed, sustainable mobility can only be achieved through a good mix of policy tools that would favour an integrated approach combining elements such as, for instance, improving vehicle technology, investment in infrastructures, road congestion mitigation, and eco-driving, which will help further enhance the competitiveness of European industry.

JAMA member companies are fully committed to continuing their cooperation with EU policy-makers so as to ensure that the automotive industry plays a significant role in achieving this objective.