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Journal Article / Transport

EU Transport Policy

Author(s): FINGER Matthias, BERT Nadia, KUPFER David

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The history of European transport policy can be broadly divided into two main periods: the first covers the period from the '50s to the '80s, and the second from the late '80s onwards. At the early stage, transport policies were mainly within the competence of Member States, and their evolution followed national priorities. As in the other network industries, up to the 1980s transport operators were generally publicly owned, they enjoyed (local, regional and national) monopolies and their operations were strongly influenced by public service oriented policies. After the 1980s network industries were challenged by neo-liberal ideas of competition, technological progress (mainly in the telecommunications sector) and, most of all, by the European Union that, in the meantime, had acquired new powers in matters of infrastructures in general and of transport in particular. After some 30 years of relative paralysis of the European institutions in matters of infrastructures, the European Union endeavoured, as of the middle of the 1980s, to create the single European market also in the different infrastructures, including transport.

In this article, we give an overview of the latest developments of EU transport policy and sectoral policies. In particular, the goals outlined in the 2011 White Paper will be taken into account.