Transport White Paper – a sustainable course for the transport sector up to the year 2050

© Fotolia/schulzfoto

The transport sector will still remain the driving force in the European Single Market up to 2050. With the Transport White Paper having been approved in 2011, the EU Commission now maps out the strategic course for mobility in Europe up to 2050.


In its Transport White Paper, which was approved in 2011, the European Commission set out a timetable for a transport system in the EU that is both competition-oriented and resource-friendly. The strategy comprises initiatives and measures that are to be implemented over the period 2011–2020. Apart from the consultation of the Commission, the Transport Committee of the European Parliament (TRAN) drew up an own-initiative report on the implementation of the White Paper so far and on the future procedure. This report was adopted by the committee on 14 July 2015.

The rapporteur for the European Parliament is Wim van de Camp (EPP - Netherlands), who last presented his report to the plenum on 8 September 2015. On 9 September the members of parliament subsequently approved the document for implementation. In the vote 547 members were in favour, 125 voted against and 21 abstained. The report of the Parliament is not legally binding but rather serves as a feedback instrument for an evaluation of the White Paper which came into force in 2011. In the mid-term analysis the Commission is therefore called upon to take the present own-initiative report into consideration. The evaluation is expected to be published in early 2016. No further revision is to be expected; the assumption is that there will be a brief taking of stock in a so-called “staff working document”.

BDI position

The main emphasis of the mid-term analysis clearly lies on the objective of ecological sustainability. The BDI already played a constructive part in the proposed measures when the White Paper was being drawn up and will continue to do so within the framework of the mid-term analysis. From the point of view of German industry, attention must be paid with respect to all measures to the international competitiveness of the mobility sector. On 17 April 2015 the BDI published its position paper in German on the mid-term analysis of the Transport White Paper, followed on 20 April 2015 by the English version.

The concrete BDI demands are:

EU policy and the policies of the member states must be subjected to scrutiny. The goal must be to strengthen the competitiveness of the European transport industry, in particular that of the aviation sector: this includes the abolition of national go-it-alone initiatives in regulations. Since no WTO rules apply here, aviation agreements play an important part in safeguarding fair competition. In this respect the “Fair Competition Clause” is an important step in the right direction.

Ports should do more than hitherto to create incentives for ship-owners to promote the use of ships that are as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible. In addition, under the auspices of the IMO a global system for reducing emissions should be installed in addition to the efficiency standard.

The foundation for efficient European rail transport is efficient European rail infrastructure. In addition to the adequate allocation of resources for maintenance, work must continue on pressing ahead with the continued expansion of the trans-European rail network. What is particularly important here is the completion of the nine rail freight corridors as part of the TEN-T core network. New regulatory measures should only be introduced provided that they can be demonstrated to benefit the competitive development, cost efficiency and innovative capacity of rail transport and to ensure new infrastructure investment.

An integrated approach is required with regard to the steady improvement in transport safety in Europe: equal attention must be paid to vehicles, drivers and infrastructure. With regard to vehicle technology, systems of networked and automated driving open up whole new potentials for enhancing transport safety. Appropriate framework conditions for this must be created in Europe. It is a matter of course that the demands of safety and data protection must be taken into account.