The Single Market as a Catalyst for Seamless and Sustainable Transportation in the EU

Jun 14, 2024 | Mobility, European Union

STRING welcomes the report by Enrico Letta, “Much More Than a Market: Speed, Security, Solidarity,” which focuses on enhancing the EU Single Market, among others for sustainable and prosperous mobility across Europe.

Former Italian prime minister Letta recently published his new report, commissioned by the European Council, and thereby set the scene for an urgent upscaling of Europe’s competitiveness. Opening a debate on the single market, Letta emphasised the need for speed, security, and solidarity.

The European Single Market was conceived in 1985 by Jacques Delors when the EU had fewer member states, and global integration was limited. At that time, Europe and the US were economic leaders, with China and India being minor players.

The European single market is described as one of the European Union’s greatest achievements, but industry stakeholders say it’s now stuttering, burdened by too much fragmentation, excessive bureaucracy, and a lack of harmonised rules.

What does the Single Market mean for sustainable transport?

The crucial role of the transport sector is supporting the European Single Market by facilitating the free movement of people, goods, and services, thereby enhancing economic integration and competitiveness. It emphasizes the need for improved transport networks to ensure social cohesion and access to remote areas, which fosters European unity.

A key goal is the development of a fully integrated Trans-European Network of Transport (TEN-T) to remove logistical barriers and improve connectivity across various transport modes. The EU aims to create a comprehensive high-speed rail network linking all EU capitals and major urban centers and to establish extensive charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

On June 13, the European Council adopted a revised regulation regarding EU guidelines for the development of the TEN-T. The new law aims to build a reliable, seamless, and high-quality transport network that ensures sustainable connectivity across Europe without physical interruptions, bottlenecks, and missing links. This is an important step in the right direction towards a seamless transport infrastructure in Europe. Maintaining the freedom of movement between member states and opposing restrictions, such as suspensions of the Schengen Agreement, is crucial.

How does the report align with STRING´s views?

The report aligns with STRING´s views on the need for increased public funding, expanded EU financial frameworks, and attracting private investments. It emphasizes the importance of a well-functioning TEN-T and the necessity of connecting European capitals and major cities with high-speed rail.

Key technological advancements such as the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC), and Digital Capacity Management (DCM) are highlighted, with a call for strong governance to ensure their implementation.

STRING Managing Director, Thomas Becker, expresses hope that the report will guide future EU policies, supporting the rapid deployment of critical rail technologies and the expansion of high-speed rail services.

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