Published on January 21, 2017

Efficient transport for a real social cohesion

By Antonio Tajani, President European Parliament

Efficient, safe and sustainable transport is key for the practical achievement of two of the four ‘fundamental freedoms’ of the EU: the free circulation of people and goods. In the past – from 2008 to 2010 -, I held the position of European Commissioner for Transport, so I am well aware of the strategic scope of logistics and freight transport activities, two key sectors for the European industry and economy. Thanks to the development of the so-called trans-European networks (TEN-T, ed), Europe now has a modern, integrated and intermodal transport system, capable of making the most of all the different transport modes: by road, rail, inland waterway and air. Transport, be it passenger transport or freight transport, also allows us to achieve the European social cohesion objectives, as it is inclusive by definition, serving and reaching territories the development of which is lagging behind, as well as the weaker and more disadvantaged parts of society. In addition to strengthening the existing networks and their proper interconnection with extra-European countries, Europe today is also in charge of ensuring that passengers’ rights are fully respected, an issue I was very committed to as a Commissioner. In this sense, Europe’s recommendations, even when they may concern a single country, are always part of a much broader, European strategy. Although inequalities between the more advanced countries and those in which the efforts to strengthen and innovate are lagging behind should be considered normal, it should also be pointed out that today there are technologies and interoperability standards that allow everyone to make substantial progress on the strategic area of intermodality. For this reason, special and constant attention must be paid to the quality of planning, which, from the outset and at all levels – from European to national, regional and local – must pursue unique and shared objectives, showing consistency and sustainability. The same applies to logistics, which plays a central and crucial role, not only on the transport front, but also for a truly incisive and innovative European industrial policy. I believe that Italy and Europe must equip themselves with a greater number of modern logistics infrastructures, with the dual objective of making it efficient and sustainable, in terms of reducing transport times, consumption and costs, while also fostering the reduction of harmful emissions. I could mention, for example, the satellite navigation technologies related to the European space programmes: Galileo and Copernicus. These entirely European infrastructures allow us to develop countless applications in the fields of transport and logistics, combining and integrating different innovative concepts, including the Internet of Things. This is a clear example of the concrete, tangible added value of what Europe is doing to improve the quality of life for all its citizens

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