Transport Committee auditions Transport Commissioner nominee Maros Sefcovic
MEPs welcomed the fact that the nominee came very well prepared with the technical knowledge on transport related issues. Šefcovic is currently Vice President of the European Commission and commissioner for internal administration and has established good relations with the European Parliament. With a strong capacity for conciliation in his spoken address to the different groups in the Committee, he also framed the various transport and space issues in a strategic manner.
What was said with respects to urban mobility?
In his opening speech, Šefcovic set the tone by listing the pieces of legislation in the area of transport that member states have signed up to and then not followed through on. As regards urban mobility, he acknowledges that it is difficult for the EU to make policy in this area because it is mostly a municipal and national competence. But he says that during this term the Commission can work closely with local authorities on public transport solutions, while still respecting the subsidiarity principle and not trying to bypass national governments.
Maroš Šefcovic said he believes public transport is an area that the EU needs to get more involved in, pointing out that 1% of EU GDP is lost through traffic congestion. He also made a link between transport and Climate Change, underlying that the best environmental result achieved in transport was through car CO2 targets, which pushed carmakers to make more fuel-efficient cars. This could be significant as it shows his intention to keep the focus on greening vehicles and therefore keeping the issue in the remit of DG MOVE.
Committment to Europe
After transport-related questions, the discussion moved to a discussion on what Mr. Šefcovic views of the future of the EU. He stressed his commitment to work for a united Europe to help break down more barriers after mentionning that he was born behind the Iron Curtain.
A diplomat by trade (see a previous Polis news item presenting the new Transport Commissioner) Maroš Šefcovic, nevertheless has done the preparation to endorse his new portfolio. And even if he will not be Vice-President in the next European Commission, he gave all the indications of wanting to continue the collaborative approach with Commissioners on portfolios related to the transport area in the new College.
The European Parliament will vote on the entire Junker Commission at the plenary session in October. If one or more of the nominees fails to get the approval of the relevant Committee in the European Parliament, this risks a rejection of the Commission college in its entirety. The European Parliament does not vote on each nominee individually, but can only accept or reject the entire College.
The new Commission will take office on the 1st of November 2014.