Better integrated and more sustainable mobility infrastructure for an Ever Closer Union

Resolution submitted by the Political Commission 2 – Internal European Affairs
Resolution adopted by the online Federal Committee on 5 April 2020

Climate change and, therefore, climate action have become topics of high importance in the past few years and have become one of the top priorities on the political agenda of the European Union with the installation of the von der Leyen Commission. Transport is one of the key sectors affected and connected with climate action. The mobility of people is one of the most significant parts of the European project and it will be affected by climate-related reforms. Therefore, we call for developments in the transport sector which are beneficial for citizens and in compliance with climate-friendly standards.

JEF Europe,

  • Welcoming the proposal and adoption of the European Green Deal in order to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050;
  • Taking into account the Strategy on Sustainable and Smart Mobility;
  • Taking into consideration the initiatives to increase and better manage the capacity of railways and inland waterways;
  • Recalling the “Genuine Free Movement for All – Advancing Citizenship and Welfare Rights across all EU Member States” resolution;
  • Noting the current costs of cross-border rail travel;
  • Welcoming the Commission’s proposal to make 2021 the European Year of Rail;
  • Stressing the importance of free movement across borders for all the citizens of the EU, no matter the means of transportation;
  • Recalling the “Environment does not stop at the borders: Towards a Sustainable Europe and a Sustainable Global Climate Policy” resolution;
  • Recognising the lack of adequate public transport infrastructure in certain regions of Europe;
  • Condemning the lack of respect for the Schengen Agreement by some of the member states in regards to cross-border travel;
  • Acknowledging the significance of the free movement of people as a core value of the European project;
  • Further emphasising free movement as one of the key factors in building a European identity;
  • Welcoming the DiscoverEU initiative as a tool for young people to discover European cultural heritage by using sustainable means of transport;
  • Reaffirming the necessity of having an affordable and well-developed rail-network, with competitive prices relative to air travel, in order to make environment-friendly modes of transport the best option;
  • Taking into consideration the current revision of the Rail Passenger Rights directive;
  • Deplores the difficulties in the purchase of train tickets through Europe, where the passenger rights of our citizens remain limited.

JEF Europe, therefore,

  1. Calls for the coordinated action on the EU level for transnational transport networks;
  2. Demands for transnational transport networks of strategic importance to be identified at EU level, in line with the EU’s objectives for sustainability, and that interconnectedness and sustainability be reflected in the upcoming programmes such as Connected Europe Facility, InvestEU, Cohesion Policy and European Structural and Investment Funds;
  3. Stresses the fact that any transport infrastructure project should be subject to strong climate and biodiversity proofing to avoid detrimental impacts on the climate and the environment;
  4. Asks the European Union to develop a transport hierarchy which prioritizes sustainable means of transportation and in which new investments into highways remain a last resort if no other option is feasible and available to open up and connect an isolated region;
  5. Highlights the need for a public transport network across the EU which is viable, accessible and affordable for all citizens;
  6. Encourages the development of more long-distance rail routes and night trains, not only in the central parts of the continent but also to the peripheral regions of the EU;
  7. Stresses the importance of the interlinks between the transport of people and goods to change the modal split towards the railway;
  8. Demands an increase in funding for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) in order to close the current gap between local transport networks in border regions and core long-distance rail routes;
  9. Requests the national authorities to fully cooperate in good faith when negotiating and realizing cross-border transport projects;
  10. Calls for the establishment of a European public transport ticketing system, to make public transport travel more efficient and accessible across borders;
  11. Calls for the introduction of a single platform to purchase different train tickets across Europe (without impacting passengers’ rights) and for the introduction of a “catch the next train available” principle, if a train is delayed.
  12. Calls for the EU (and especially the Council of the EU) to strengthen Rail Passenger rights by abandoning the clause for exceptional circumstances (force majeure). This exception would weaken passengers’ rights and prevent a shift towards more sustainable rail;
  13. Calls for an integrated European strategy on electric and hydrogen vehicle charging points to guarantee sufficient coverage especially in border regions;
  14. Stresses that the European strategy on electric and hydrogen vehicle charging points should come with strong guarantees of origin to ensure the electricity and hydrogen come from clean energy sources;
  15. Encourages more ambitious pricing of harmful greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector by aligning the Energy Taxation Directive with European climate targets and strengthening the Emissions Trading System;
  16.  Demands that Member States respect the Schengen Agreement for all citizens of the European Union when they use public transport across borders;
  17. Commits to lead by example and to promote clean means of transport when its members have to travel for JEF purposes;
  18. Recommends the EU instill a clean transport culture in all its policies, in particular Erasmus+, by incentivizing students benefiting from Erasmus grants to use sustainable means of transportation.
  19. Calls for the expansion of the European cycle route network “EuroVelo”.

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