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To link to another discussion: Is this the kind of thing the EP should be more involved in than they are?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Jan 17th, 2009 at 07:02:45 PM EST
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Difficult to answer that one.

Yes, the European Parliament should do more on this. But where can they? The only time they can exert meaningful influence on transport funding is during the annual debate on the EU's budget. A sizeable share of that budget (the first pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy) is locked. Mandatory expenditure, as they call it. Can't be changed, can't be blocked.

Meanwhile, the major part of the financing for the budget still comes directly from the national governments.

Transport policy falls under co-decision, so the Directives and Regulations can be amended and rejected. But the right of initiative remains with the Commission, which limits the EP's ability to drive changes.

Practically speaking, the EP can only improve this at the margins.

The EP might exert more pressure on the Member States to finish their TEN-T projects if it would work more in tandem with the Commission. The EP has in general been getting more power at the cost of the Commission, not the Council. This is unfortunate, but not necessarily with regard to transport policy.

The sitting Commission has not treated transport as a priority and has not had a good transport policy to begin with. The main thing I remember is moving away from a modal shift (toward rail and water) to 'co-modality', which was stupid.

The European Parliament elections could also change the kind of Commission we get. The Commission has to be approved by the EP and the national governments will have to deal (to some extent) with the outcome. So I think it is a theme that should be big in the EP elections.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Jan 17th, 2009 at 08:07:13 PM EST
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