Important steps towards a more sustainable and efficient transport system in the European Union were taken today, October 29, during the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy (TTE) Council dedicated to transport issues, which took place in Luxemburg. Progress was recorded on the proposed regulation on recording equipment in road transport (tachographs), the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC - 2006) Enforcement Package and a proposal which aims to optimise the use of airport capacity.
EU Transport Ministers, following a dynamic debate on the basis of Presidency’s compromise proposals, reached a general approach in the proposal for a Regulation on common rules for the allocation of slots at European Union airports which aims to optimise the use of airport capacity.
The proposal forms a part of the Airport legislative Package, which consists of three proposals and aims to enhance fair competition and competitiveness of operators. Through this development the Council expresses its readiness to commence negotiations with the European Parliament for a first reading agreement soon after Parliament’s voting, which is foreseen for November 6.
Improving working and living conditions for seafarers
The Council reached a General Approach on the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC - 2006) Enforcement Package which consists of two legislative proposals laying down the responsibilities of flag states, on the one hand, and port states, on the other. The MLC, adopted by the International Labour Organisation in 2006, will enter into force as binding international law on August 20 2013.
In his concluding remarks, Cyprus' Minister of Communications and Works, Mr. Efthemios Flourentzou, who chaired the meeting, stressed that this constitutes a major step forward in promoting improved working and living conditions for seafarers.
“Maritime transport is of course not possible without seafarers. It is essential for the future of shipping to be able to attract young people to the seafaring profession. Better working conditions also lead to less fatigue and fewer risks for accidents,” the minister underlined.
Enhancing road safety
The Council endorsed a political agreement on the proposed regulation on recording equipment in road transport (tachographs). Minister Flourentzou welcomed the political agreement stressing that “making tachographs more cost-effective should be one of the key elements of the EU strategy to further integrate the road freight transport market and render road transport safer, more efficient and competitive”.
Tachographs play a crucial role in checking compliance by professional road transport drivers with the rules on driving time and rest periods. They contribute to improving road safety, drivers’ working conditions and fair competition between road transport companies.
The promotion of a new approach on periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers in order to reduce the number of road fatalities was also addressed by the Council.
EU Transport Ministers emphasised the need to enhance protection of vulnerable road users and to provide harmonised standards for control, equipment, qualification of inspectors and assessment of defects. The orientation debate which took place during today’s meeting reinforced the willingness of Member States to work hard in the Council in order to formulate an effective legislative framework which will serve the underlying objective of enhancing road safety as well as contributing to the reduction of emissions in road transport.
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