I will attend the first Transport Council of the Danish presidency (the presidency) which will take place in Brussels on Thursday 22 March.
The presidency hopes to achieve general approach on the following:
A proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on Union guidelines for the development of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). Progress to date has been encouraging. The revised text issued by the presidency has gone some way to addressing our concerns, particularly in relation to binding standards and deadlines. And also by recognising the need to take account of member states’ finances and to consider the economic viability of projects. Additionally, I will continue to push for changes on the core network and TEN-T corridors to minimise risks to the UK. I will consider whether the improvements achieved are satisfactory to justify UK support for a general approach.
A proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EEC) No. 3821/85 on recording equipment in road transport and amending Regulation (EC) No. 561/2006 of the European Parliament and the Council. This proposal would amend the specification for tachographs, which measure hours spent at the wheel by commercial lorry and bus drivers. The proposed general approach addresses many of the concerns raised through negotiations, including:
Removing the proposed ban of operators with tachograph workshops from installing or calibrating tachographs in their own vehicles. Member states are left to take appropriate measures to prevent conflicts of interests between workshops and operators.
Removing the proposal to merge the driving licence with the tachograph card.
These represent significant gains for the UK with regard to minimising costs and burdens on industry and the Government.
A proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on ground-handling services at EU airports and repealing Council Directive 96/67/EC (part of the airport package). The proposed regulation has been subject to intense official-level scrutiny by Council working groups and these discussions are ongoing. Progress to date has been encouraging from a UK perspective, and we believe that the resulting regulation could potentially help further open up market access while minimising administrative and financial burdens for industry. However, at this stage, it remains unclear whether or not it will be possible to seek a general approach at the March Council. If it is not possible, there will be an orientation debate instead.
Under any other business, the Commission will provide information on the Costa Concordia accident, the aviation emissions trading system and the Galileo and EGNOS programmes.