Amendments of the European Parliament’s TRAN Committee on a European Strategy for low emission mobility

Brussels – July 5, 2017

After the European Strategy for low emission mobility was proposed by the Commission in June 2016 it was transferred to the Transport committee of the European Parliament. In this next step of the legislative process, the committee with the help of rapporteur Bas Eickhout, green MEP from the Netherlands, can amend the proposed strategy. Therefore, amendments were tabled in the Transport committee in May (see here and here) and the Environment committee added multiple suggestions to the draft report of the Transport committee (see here).

Many of these amendments want to make sure that cycling becomes an integral part of the low emission mobility strategy. Concrete recommendations and objectives present in the amendments are

  • Fostering networks among cities that promote sustainable forms of transport such as biking and the sharing of best practices
  • Encouraging a modal shift for mobility distances of less than 6 km from road to the intermodal mobility chain including cycling
  • Supporting the Commission, the Member States and the regions to invest more in the combination and integration of the EuroVelo Cycling Network with the TEN-T railway networks
  • Urging the European Commission and Member States to develop a European Cycling Strategy
  • Asking for a 25% increase in the area given over to cycle routes and greenways, and a 50% increase in the rate of use of bicycles, by 2025
  • Supporting Member States to introduce tax incentives that foster low-emission mobility such as cycling
  • Calling on the Commission to encourage the use of cargo bikes for last mile logistics
  • Increasing and improving biking infrastructure EU-wide

These amendments from a wide variety of MEPs will be voted upon in the transport committee on September 25. Then they will be sent for an overall vote to the plenary before negotiations between all EU institutions can start to finalize the strategy.

Big Bike Event and the role of Intelligent Bicycles in Road Safety

Brussels – June 28, 2017

The official introduction of the EU Cycling Strategy in Brussels took place on June 28 at the Big Bike Event, in presence of a high-level, distinguished audience.

 

 

 

The list of guest speakers included:

  • the Belgian Federal Minister for Mobility, François Bellot,
  • the Luxembourg Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, François Bausch,
  • the Dutch Ambassador to Belgium, Maryem van den Heuvel,
  • the Professor at the History Division of Technological Innovation of the Eindhoven University Ruth Oldenziel,
  • the Director for Investment, Innovative & Sustainable Transport of the European Commission DG Move, Mr Herald Ruijters
  • The Director-General for Transport and mobility of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, Mark Frequin
  • The Advocacy Director of ECF, Adam Bodor
  • PON’s Director of Public Affairs and Future Technologies, Raymond Gense

Among the interventions, Mr Gense gave a very interesting presentation about the future of Bicycles, which will soon become “Smart Bicycles”: they will include tablets as HMI, vibrating handlebars and saddles, radars, haptic pedal assistance, computers, speed sensors and cameras – just to name a few features. The progress towards the Smart Bicycle will undoubtedly increase the safety of Cyclists, especially in situations where the road conditions, the mix of road vehicles and the traffic will make it difficult for cyclists to be enough safe.

The seminar was followed by a bike ride through Brussels with the European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc and in a closing session, Pascal Smet, the Brussels Minister of Mobility and Public Works, bridged the gap to local politics by reflecting on his challenges in turning Brussels into a cycling city and how Europe can help municipalities and regions in doing so.

EU Industrial Strategy: update

Brussels/Berlin – June 30, 2017

Follow-up on the Competitiveness Council conclusions and the Berlin Declaration

On the occasion of the 5th Ministerial Conference of the Friends of Industry – focused on key issues such as Digitisation, Investments, Sustainability and Trade – 18 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Spain) signed the so-called ‘Berlin Declaration’.

In this Joint Declaration, the Ministers of Economy and/or Industry of the mentioned 18 Member States “reiterate the necessity for the European Commission to draw up a new industrial policy strategy” and insist once again: “as far as the timeframe is concerned, we would like to pick up on the Competitiveness Council Conclusions of May 2017 which ask for an extensive industrial policy strategy to be presented in time for the spring meeting of the European Council in 2018”.

Upcoming European Parliament Resolution on “Building an ambitious EU industrial strategy as a strategic priority for growth, employment and innovation in Europe

Moreover, at the initiative of 8 ITRE MEPs (Members of the European Parliament), the European Parliament organised a one-hour debate on the EU industrial strategy during its last Plenary Session in Strasbourg on 15 June. You can still watch the entire debate here. As you will see, many MEPs from all Political Groups supported the Member States’ and the Industry’s request for a Strategy and an Action Plan at EU level.

Following this Plenary debate, the European Parliament adopted a  ‘resolution on building an ambitious EU industrial strategy as a strategic priority for growth, employment and innovation in Europe’, which you can find here.

With the adoption of this Resolution, the European Parliament sends a strong sign of support to both our Joint Declaration and the COMP Council Conclusions of 29 May. MEPs indeed call on the Commission to “develop, by early 2018, together with the Member States, a Union strategy and an action plan for a consistent and comprehensive industrial policy aimed at Europe’s reindustrialisation, with targets, indicators, measures and time scales”.

Vote of the European Parliament’s INTA committee on the New Anti-Dumping calculation methodology

Brussels – June 20, 2017

Members of INTA Committee adopted on 20 June the legislative report amending the Commission’s proposal related to a new Anti-Dumping calculation methodology. Based on the inclusive work of the rapporteur Mr Salvatore CICU and of the shadow rapporteurs representing all political groups, the text defines more precisely what the significant market distortions are and how the Commission should produce reports on countries and sectors on the basis of which the new methodology will be triggered.

More in detail

On the basis of these amendments, the European Commission will not use domestic prices and costs as the starting point to construct the “normal value” in anti-dumping calculations for countries affected by “significant distortions”.

Once established the existence of significant distortions in a certain country/sector, the European Commission will therefore automatically construct the normal value on the basis of costs and prices reflecting undistorted prices or benchmarks for each and every factor of production.

In the construction of normal value, the European Commission will still be able to use domestic prices and costs, but only if exporting producers can clearly show that (i) they are not directly or indirectly affected by distortions, and that (ii) their factors of production are not distorted.

The INTA vote also guarantees that the “determinations” made as to the existence of significant distortions in a certain country or sector will remain in place until revoked. This system, similar to the US one, makes sure that EU industry does not have to prove the existence of significant distortions on a case-by-case basis.

Moreover, a determination can be revoked only if it is conclusively shown that the country or sector is no longer affected by significant distortions.

The INTA vote also strengthens the role of the macroeconomic reports issued by the European Commission to describe significant distortions in a certain country or sector. The reports showing the existence of significant distortions will constitute sufficient evidence to use the new non-standard methodology.

For countries which have a substantial number of antidumping cases, the report shall be adopted within fifteen days from the entry into force of the Regulation.

 

Then, the European Parliament includes the five market economy criteria in the definition of significant distortions, in line with what the US does. This is key to justify the use of a non-standard methodology.

Finally, concerning “grandfathering”, it is ensured that the transition period between the old system and the new one lasts until the first expiry review after the transition is terminated (and not initiated).

The EU Cycling Strategy is finally ready and has been handed over to Commissioner Bulc

Nijmegen – June 16, 2017

The EU Cycling Strategy has been finalised! Please find here both the full version and the summary.

Through the valuable umbrella of ECF, the contributions of many stakeholders (NGOs, academics, cities, Bicycle Industry) have been put together to create an 11-chapters EU Strategy: it contains recommendations directed at the EU, national, regional and local level which, if implemented by the EU, will improve conditions to get more people cycling. More in details, the strategy embraces the points that the Cycling sector advocates for, from Cycling in the EU policy to have an equal attention in comparison with other modes of transportation to considerably more EU direct and indirect investments in projects that are related to Cycling and the Bicycle Industry – just to name a few.

The Industry brought its important contribution by writing an entire chapter about the development and potential of Manufacturing and Supply Chain, concentrating on the enforcement of the rules as well as on the conditions that enable the EU to be competitive in terms of maintaining and growing its share of the Industry. The Industry provided also valuable information that is present in other chapters of the Strategy on topics like vehicle regulations and standards, Intelligent Transport Systems and the potential growth of the market.

The EU Cycling Strategy was handed over to the Transport Commissioner of the European Commission Ms Bulc on the last day of the Velo-City in Arnhem-Nijmegen: a remarkable milestone that sets a new important step forward in our advocacy work towards a higher level of Cycling in the EU Policy, Regulatory and Financial Agenda.

ECHA publishes a new guideline for Manufacturers and Importers regarding the compliance with the REACH Regulation

Brussels – June, 2017

Introduction

Article Manufacturers and Importers are advised to use the new 109-page guidance document to verify that they comply with all their obligations under the European Chemicals Regulation REACH.

 

Main driving force for the new version of the REACH guidance document

In September 2015, the European Court of Justice issued a ruling which states:

  1. Article 7(2) of the REACH Regulation must be interpreted as meaning that, for the purposes of application of that provision, it is for the producer to determine whether a Candidate List substance of very high concern, is present in a concentration above 0.1% weight by weight of any article it produces and, for the importer of a product made up of more than one article, to determine for each article whether such a substance is present in a concentration above 0.1% weight by weight of that article.

 

  1. Article 33 of the REACH Regulation must be interpreted as meaning that, for the purposes of application of that provision, it is for the supplier of a product one or more constituent articles of which contain(s) a Candidate List substance of very high concern in a concentration above 0.1% weight by weight of that article, to inform the recipient and, on request, the consumer, of the presence of that substance by providing them, as a minimum, with the name of the substance in question.

Following the judgement, a fast-track update procedure was initiated and ECHA (European Chemical Agency) published an updated Version 3.0 of this guidance document in December 2015, correcting the key parts of the guidance that were no longer consistent with the conclusions of the court’s judgement, and in particular removing examples.

The present Version 4.0 is a more comprehensive update of the guidance, which aims primarily at aligning further the text of the guidance and introducing new examples that are consistent with the conclusions of the Court judgement.

Bicycles

In Appendix 6 illustrative examples have been described explaining the requirements under Articles 7 and 33: bicycles have been added as one of the examples of a complex object that is produced by combining a number of articles (or simpler complex objects) mechanically assembled and/or joined together by using substance(s)/mixture(s): from page 101 to 108

Enforcement

The successful implementation of REACH relies to a substantial degree on the effective enforcement of that Regulation. Whereas the European Member States are responsible for setting up and maintaining their national systems for enforcement, the Forum for the Exchange of Information on Enforcement of the ECHA plays an important role in harmonising the approaches for enforcement taken in different countries. The European enforcement forum has already announced in its work program 2014-2018 that several activities have already taken place to improve the enforcement, for instance regarding the Training of REACH inspectors.

2017 ITF Summit: Governance of Transport

Leipzig – May 31 – June 2, 2017

CONEBI attended the 2017 Summit on “Governance of Transport” in Leipzig, organized by the International Transport Forum (ITF), which hosted more than 40 Ministers and Vice-Ministers and provided valuable opportunities to discuss the current shape of Transportation at global level and its future trends.

In their Joint Declaration, Ministers highlighted the changes required to transport systems in the light of the 2015 Paris Agreement, called for responsive regulation to foster innovation and expressed the will to create frameworks for open mobility data. In a message to the Summit, UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutierrez thanked the ITF for working on policies that improve people’s lives and declared that “the United Nations stands ready in promoting Sustainable Transport and Mobility for all”.

Nowadays, a lot of the attention of the Transport community goes to urban mobility: according to the ITF Transport Outlook 2017, cities need to make a choice as soon as possible on how future mobility needs will be met as transport demand in cities will double by 2050.

The right policies can significantly cut transport CO2 emissions in cities: 70% of reductions can come from new technologies, among which electric mobility and other alternative fuels, while 30% of these emissions require policies that change human behaviour, like for instance, incentives for mobility sharing as well as pricing of fuel and parking, just to name a few.

Relying only on cars to provide accessibility in cities is not sustainable because urban sprawl and reliance on cars will require large infrastructure investments so cities need to change their model of development. Indeed, during the summit, an innovative data visualisation tool developed by the ITF showed CO2 emissions related to urban mobility patterns and how they are impacted by measures such as shared mobility schemes, parking regulations and land use planning. Among several questions, an interesting focus was put on the different sets of measures to decarbonise transport while promoting its socio-economic benefits and how exogenous factors such as consumer preferences and business models impact carbon emissions from transport.

European Commission’s Focal Point for Cycling at the CONEBI General Assembly

London – May 23, 2017

The CONEBI General Assembly held in London on 23rd May gathered not only the CONEBI Members and Directors but also several important guests, among which the European Commission’s Focal Point for Cycling Mr Rapacz.

The Focal Point for Cycling was appointed last year after the informal Council meeting of the EU Transport Ministers – organized during the Luxembourg Presidency – where EU Member States adopted the “Declaration on Cycling as a climate friendly Transport Mode”, which indeed foresees an European Focal Point for Cycling within the European Commission to serve as (a) a one-stop-shop for cycling related questions, (b) to facilitate the exchange of best practices among Member States.

As clearly stated by the Commission, ”Cities are home to over 70 % of the EU population and account for some 85 % of the Union’s GDP. Most journeys begin and end in cities. In many urban areas, however, increasing demand for urban mobility has created a situation that is not sustainable: severe congestion, poor air quality, noise emissions and high levels of CO2 emissions. Urban congestion jeopardises the EU’s goals for a competitive and resource-efficient transport system”. So, given the mentioned context, Mr Rapacz – who deals on a broader level with Urban Mobility – gave a very useful presentation on behalf of the European Commission about the EU policy for sustainable urban mobility with a focus on Cycling.

Mr Rapacz went through many topics: the 2013 Urban Mobility Package, the SUMPs (Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans), the recommendations for coordinated action on urban access regulations, ITS deployment and road safety, the EU financial support and tools, the Urban Mobility Observatory – ELTIS – but also the Member States Expert Group and the CIVITAS initiative.

For more info on the mentioned topics, please do not hesitate to contact the CONEBI Secretariat.

90 000 Direct-Indirect Jobs in the EU Bicycle Industry

Brussels – May 8, 2017

After the first study of December 2012 made by Colibi, Coliped and EBMA – which showed that around 700 companies (most of them SMEs) were directly-indirectly employing 70.000 workers – CONEBI has just contributed to the update of that document: it underlines the current expansion of the EU Industry both in jobs, investments and SMEs, therefore representing a good example of inclusive sustainable economy. The expansion is mainly due to the further development of the most important innovation of the last 20 years: the Pedal-Assist Ebikes.
In the EU there are now over 90.000 Direct-Indirect Workers, and 800 SMEs capillary distributed in 20 of the 28 Member States, generating over 1 Billion euros EU investments and approximately 12 Billion euros EU of Industrial output: for more details, you can find the publication of the results at the following link (for confidentiality reasons, you will only find the total numbers of direct employment for both the EU Bicycle and EPAC producers as well as for Bicycle Parts producers, but also the estimation regarding the accessories producers and the Indirect jobs).

EP President Tajani and Commissioner Bienkowska support a comprehensive EU Industrial Policy Strategy

Brussels – May 5, 2017

On 12 April the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, and Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, met to discuss the importance of her portfolio in promoting jobs and growth: they share the view on the need for a comprehensive industrial policy for Europe.
“I strongly support the work of Commissioner Bieńkowska in designing a new industrial strategy for Europe, attracting more investment while strengthening our industrial base. The great potential of the digital single market in boosting innovation and competitiveness is key for a modern industrial policy, together with the full completion of the single market for goods, services, capital and energy”.
European Parliament President concluded that, “Citizens want Europe to work more for growth and jobs. For this, we should increase investment to support the real economy; it is a priority that should be clearly reflected in the next EU financial framework”.
The Maltese Presidency recently published the draft Council conclusions on a new strategy for the Union’s industry, which emphasises the importance of strengthening and modernising a strong industrial base in Europe and of ensuring the Union’s industrial competitiveness by putting innovation and digitalisation at the centre of all initiatives, covering both modern industries with high-growth potential and more traditional branches of industry that often face the challenges of rapid economic changes in today’s globalised world and the risk of delocalisation. Moreover, in the draft the Council calls on the Commission to provide the Council with an evaluation of the impact of mainstreaming industrial policy into the EU strategic initiatives as called for by the European Council, by the end of October 2017, and looks forward to examining this evaluation.
More information will be provided in the months to come.