In Fall 2019 we published our Manifesto for the next five years of EU regulation of transport as an input for the incoming European Commission, and the Directorate General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE), in particular. It contained our ideas and recommendations for how to further advance the Single European Transport Area (SETA).
It is fair to say that, of all the EU policy areas, transport was probably most dramatically hit by the recent COVID-19 pandemic, both internally and across the Member States. But, at the same time, the past three months have also demonstrated how crucial a well-functioning transport sector is for each country and for the EU as a whole. As a matter of fact, transport is foundational for the very functioning of a country and of Europe, be it in times of crises, or not.
Against the backdrop of the pandemic we, at the Transport Area of the Florence School of Regulation, have concluded that our original Manifesto needed updating, not so much in terms of its objectives, but rather in terms of making sure that proposed objectives are not sidelined, rolled back or even abandoned. We remind readers of the EU’s overarching objective - to achieve a decarbonised SETA by making optimal use of both market and funding instruments as well as of digitalisation.
Because of the virus, national priorities have come to overshadow common European interests. These fragmented approaches have thrown us back to pre-SETA times, and sometimes even beyond, and greener modes of transport appear to be less of a priority at the present, especially, if judging by the allocation of State aid, for which the main beneficiaries have been the aviation and the automotive sectors. It is our contention that the original agenda towards a digital and decarbonised SETA remains not only valid, but is needed more than ever before.
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