European Commission Workplan 2023
The European Commission issued its Work Programme for 2023 setting out the key initiatives that will be put forward by the Commission next year. 2023 is an important year as it is the last full year of a legislative calendar as the end of the European Commission’s mandate approaches in 2024. Many of these proposals, particularly those published in Q3 and Q4 of 2023, are unlikely to make it through the process and as such will be picked up by the new MEPs elected in 2024.
There are a number of important proposals from a transport perspective:
- Joint Communication on the update of the EU maritime security strategy (Q1 2023)
- European Critical Raw Materials Act (Q1 2023)
- International freight and passenger transport — increasing the share of rail traffic (Q2 2023)
- Revision of the weights and dimensions Directive (Q2 2023)
- Revision of the passenger rights regulatory framework (Q2 2023)
- Revision of the combined transport Directive (Q2 2023)
- A common European mobility data space (Q2 2023)
- Greening corporate fleets initiative (Q3 2023)
- EU regulatory framework for hyperloop (Q3 2023)
- Revision of the airport slot Regulation (Q3 2023)
- Revision of the roadworthiness package (Q3 2023)
- Revision of EU rules on harmonised river information services (Q3 2023)
Important to note that all of these initiatives are in addition to already announced initiatives currently in progress, such as the review of the Air Services Regulation (Reg 1008/2008).
Another important consideration is that we are fast approaching the end of this mandate (5 year cycle) as the elections to the European Parliament will take place in 2024 and we will see a change over to a new European Commission. With this in mind any proposal launched from Q2/Q3 or later is unlikely to be able to conclude the legislative process in the following year and is likely to extend into the incoming mandate with a new composition of the European Parliament and the European Commission.
EU ASEAN Aviation Agreement signed
The European Union and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed a comprehensive air transport agreement. The agreement will open up more air transport opportunities and enhance direct connectivity between the two regions, and upgrade rules and standards.
- It replaces more than 140 bilateral air services agreements, thereby providing a single set of rules and reducing red tape. EU Members States without any bilateral agreements with ASEAN States are now also covered by a modern legal framework.
- All EU airlines will be able to operate direct flights from any airport in the EU to all airports in ASEAN States, and vice versa for ASEAN airlines. This will help EU and ASEAN airlines to compete with competitors targeting the lucrative EU-ASEAN market.
- Airlines will be able to fly up to 14 weekly passenger services to or from each EU Member State, and any number of cargo services via and beyond the two regions, to any third country (‘fifth freedom traffic rights’).
- The agreement includes modern and fair competition provisions to address market distortions.
Welcoming the signing of the comprehensive air transport agreement, Commissioner Valean said:
“This first-ever ‘bloc-to-bloc’ air transport agreement brings the EU–ASEAN aviation partnership to a new level. It will support the aviation sector’s recovery after COVID-19 and restore much-needed connectivity to the benefit of some 1.1 billion people, enabling greater business, trade, tourism and people-to-people exchanges. It replaces more than 140 bilateral air services agreements, providing a single set of rules and reducing red tape. It also gives us a new platform to work jointly towards our shared commitment to economically, socially and environmentally sustainable aviation.”
EASA and CAAS Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Urban Air Mobility
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on urban air mobility to support the development, deployment and safe operation of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.
Under the MOU, CAAS and EASA will collaborate in the following three areas:
Development of Regulatory Standards
- Development of regulatory safety standards and related requirements for the certification and operation of VTOL aircraft, including the competencies of personnel involved in the operation of such aircraft, the certification requirements for operations in hot and humid environments and the requirements for personnel training organisations.
- Strategies for outreach to relevant stakeholders on urban air mobility including educational outreach to the public and the industry.
- Analysis on public attitudes towards urban air mobility and VTOL as a mode of transport in an urban environment.
Conferences and Other Activities
- Joint organisation of conferences, workshops, talks and other activities on urban air mobility.
Mr Han Kok Juan, Director-General of CAAS said:
“In the last few years, we have seen quantum leaps in UAS and UAM development. The potential benefits are tremendous. Realising them will require concomitant development in regulation and regulators need to keep pace with technology and business developments to assure safety and security and build public confidence and acceptance. As the technology is novel, we cannot do this alone but need to work together to share knowledge and pool regulatory resources. The CAAS-EASA MOU is a pathfinder to catalyse such partnerships.”
Mr Luc Tytgat, Strategy and Safety Management Director, EASA, said:
“The CAAS-EASA MOU signed today provides us with a platform from which we can continue to develop our valued partnership and safely integrate electric air taxis into the aviation system. We know that traditionally regulators lag behind industry developments and innovations. Both this MOU and the wider symposium will contribute to regulators getting ahead of the technology curve in support of our future safety oversight responsibilities.”
European Parliament adopts targets for EV charging infrastructure — the fight for batteries is on the horizon
The European Parliament adopted it’s position on the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) on Wednesday (19 October), setting out minimum requirements for charging infrastructure for electric cars, alongside other forms of mobility. Parliament voted in the position to require Member States to build EV charging points at least every 60km on main motorways, if this position is agreed to by the the other EU institutions, Member States will have until 2026 to reach this target.
While the progress on AFIR is welcome, further concerns have been raised on the question of sourcing batteries for these electric vehicles. Fifty European Parliament lawmakers have written to the EU executive to express concerns about the shift to electric mobility, a move they fear could leave Europe reliant on third countries’ raw materials.
To cut emissions from road transport, the EU institutions have agreed to ban the sale of new combustion engine passenger cars and vans from 2035, a decision set to magnify the already increased demand on batteries for private mobility.
Collectively, China, Japan, and South Korea are the world’s most prolific battery producers, North America is the second largest producer with Europe taking third place.
The draft EU battery regulation sets mandatory targets for the recovery and reuse of raw materials, with the hope that a large portion of demand can be met through recycling rather than mining.
We will follow closely the propose Critical Raw Materials Act announced by President Von der Leyen and included in the 2023 Work Programme, for more solutions.
AFIR also addresses infrastructure for other transport technologies such as hydrogen, as well as electricity supply for ports and provisions for airports. The AFIR position of the Parliament will be subject to negotiations in the trilogue process to reach a final text.
For more information on these developments or any other transport and mobility policy topic please don’t hesitate to contact us.