Recent reports in the media claiming that rail users “are facing fare rises of 50 per cent, forced through by new regulations from Brussels” are on the wrong track. The price of train tickets are a matter for the rail companies and national authorities.
The cited Commission white paper on transport, published in March, is a long term strategy to safeguard Europe’s transport future and ensure the sustainability of this key sector of the economy. The White Paper makes no new rules or regulations.
Transport cannot develop by relying on “business as usual”. The paper takes a global look at developments in the transport sector, at its future challenges and at the policy initiatives that would need to be considered in order to meet the challenges posed by, for instance, scarce oil, increasing congestion and reducing emissions.
Transport infrastructure across the EU has a funding gap that will need to be filled in order to meet the cost of an increasing demand for transport. A range of sources of finance both from public (EU, national and regional governments) and private (financial institutions and corporate) sources will be required.
As always, EU ministers and MEPs have the opportunity to debate and make comments. In June, Member States ministers welcomed the white paper as a comprehensive contribution to achieving the EU’s environmental goals, tackling the dependence on oil and completing the internal market. MEPs have yet to debate the paper.