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Mobility needs to move. Commission’s Smart Strategy is a leap forward but can be more ambitious


09 Dec 2020



Mobility needs to move. It must go through a deep transformation in many respects to embrace the future. We, the Socialists and Democrats, welcome the long-awaited Strategy on Sustainable and Smart Mobility presented by the European Commission today. It intends to set a coordinating framework for more than 80 initiatives in the field of mobility; the Commission has promised to launch before the end of this legislature.

S&D coordinator in transport committee, Johan Danielsson, commented:

“This is a long-awaited and important strategy that is finally being presented. We need to make the transport sector sustainable to reach our goal of being climate neutral in the EU by 2050.

“We need a modal shift from road to rail and waterways. It’s safer, it’s cheaper and it’s cleaner. But it is not enough and we need to make all modes of transport sustainable. I am therefore glad to see that the strategy includes proposals for sustainable alternative fuels both for aviation and maritime.

“I am pleased to see that the proposal from us Socialists and Democrats on consumer rights and the creation of an EU travel guarantee fund is included in the strategy. We cannot continue to force consumers to bailout airlines and travel companies.

“However, I would have liked to see stronger proposals on workers’ rights. We need to make sure that the future of transport also ensures good working conditions for all 10 million workers in the sector in Europe. This will be a priority for me, with this strategy, but also with all the proposals to come that are mentioned in the strategy.”

S&D vice-president responsible for transport, Ismail Ertug, said:

“Any evaluation couldn’t kick off other than from the need to face the greatest challenge of our time: the climate change. We want the Green Deal to be the EU's central project and to make Europe’s economy climate-neutral, innovative and socially fairer. In this regard, the transport sector is still responsible for over 27% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. In 2017, emissions were 28% higher than in the reference year 1990, making transport the sad taillight.

“We therefore welcome the fact that with the Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy, the Commission aims at revising the CO2 standards for cars and lorries and at the same time making the directive on alternative fuel infrastructures more ambitious. It is also time for shipping and aviation sectors to become more climate-friendly, by finally including both in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).

“The second pillar of the strategy has the ambition to take full advantage of digitisation and automation to make traffic flows in Europe as efficient as possible, reducing emissions, and, above all, creating more space for housing, green spaces, playgrounds or cycle paths for our cities. Hence, the industrial policy here will play a crucial role: the global race for automated and connected driving is already in full swing. If our industry is to emerge stronger from this technological competition, we need safe, confidence-building and harmonised rules for the whole of the EU.

“However, the Commission's strategy also has several weaknesses, especially when it comes to zero-emission vehicles, rail freight transport and social dimension.

“As S&Ds, we will therefore critically monitor the Commission's projects and, where necessary, demand a higher level of ambition.”