Out of COVID, towards a Green Deal: POLIS responds to Commission's transport recovery guidelines
The European Commission’s new guidelines on restoring transport services and connectivity touch on several important points.
We would like to underline the following positive steps:
1. Local is European
Local Government is an indispensable layer of European governance. We can provide key leverage to the implementation of European policies, and accelerate European priorities. Subsidiarity remains a pillar for Europe, but we must make sure it doesn’t become a wall to cooperation and innovation. So it is good to see the Commission establish guidelines for the transport sector applicable also within Member States, including local and regional transport.
2. Public Health
The Commission equates transport restrictions with the protection of public health. We must emphasise the importance of this principle – it should have been granted many years ago, but it is still too often ignored when key decisions are made. We disagree, however, on treating all transport modes alike, and rather defend the prioritisation of the modes that provide for higher capacity and thus a more efficient use of our streets, i.e., Public Transport, Cycling and Walking (they’re also the safest and more sustainable, by the way).
3. Facilitate active, collective and shared mobility
On point 24, “the Commission encourages and supports the development and implementation of new urban mobility solutions and measures to facilitate active, collective and shared mobility in a safe manner”. Yes, yes, yes.
4. Public Transport
The Commission recognises the key role of Public Transport, calls attention to its increased costs and financial stress, and will work further on this. We must await more concrete measures.
5. Lessons to be learned
The Commission will “listen to local authorities and stakeholders active in the field of urban mobility (…) to analyse impact of this outbreak, draw lessons and gather experiences gained so far, and identify the opportunities for future, more sustainable mobility in the EU, in line with the European Green Deal. (…) Lessons learnt from the COVID-19 crisis will be reflected in the upcoming Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy in 2020.” We sure hope so, and remain fully available and committed to help.
Overall, we see 5 positive steps in the right direction. We invite the Commission to keep walking (and cycling) together with us.