Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


Letter from Stephen Ladyman MP, Minister of State for Transport, Department for Transport to the Chairman

  I thought you might find it helpful to have an update on a number of transport proposals that will be progressed in the next few months, including the Finnish plans for their Presidency.

  Logistics improvement is the underlying transport theme for the Presidency, but the focus will be on dealing with the inherited agenda, on which EU/US and Galileo are understood as the main items. The dates for the two Councils have been confirmed as 12 October, in Luxembourg, and 11-12 December, in Brussels. There will be no Informal Transport Councils.

  The Commission's Communication on freight transport logistics was published on 28 June and will be the subject of EM 11312/06. There will be an exchange of views on it at the October Council, leading to Conclusions in December. Germany is expected to continue with the subject during its Presidency. Short sea shipping will be part of the logistics priority, as it was during the previous Finnish Presidency.

  The mid-term review of the Commission's 2001 transport policy White Paper appeared in June in a Communication entitled "Keep Europe moving—Sustainable mobility for our continent", and is the subject of EM 10954/06. There will be a policy debate on this Communication in October, a summary of which the Presidency plan to report to the Commission, rather than agreeing formal Council Conclusions.

  The Common Position on the third rail package (7147/04) will be transmitted to the European Parliament in September, where it will be handled as a package, and the Presidency are aiming for a second reading agreement.

  The proposal on public passenger transport (11508/05) is expected to go to the European Parliament in November or December, so EP consideration may be under the German Presidency.

  In Road Safety, proposals on infrastructure safety assessment and on retrofitting of blind spot mirrors will be taken to the December Council for general approach if Commission proposals come forward in time. The Finnish Presidency is working closely with Italy on plans for "Verona IV", the fourth informal Ministerial conference on Road Safety, to be held in Verona in November.

  Finland has started examination of the supply chain security proposal (6935/06). It is on the provisional agenda for the October Council, for a general approach, but early discussion of the proposal suggests this may be optimistic.

  On Galileo, a conference/seminar on services and future applications is planned for 12 September in Brussels. The Presidency envisage Conclusions in October on the Commission's state of play report and on third country links, and in December decisions on amending the regulations on the Joint Undertaking and the Supervisory Authority.

  In aviation, EU/US is recognised as being potentially the big issue for the Presidency, and Gillian Merron is writing to you separately about this.

  The Presidency will be working towards a general approach in October or December on the amending Regulation on the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The Austrian Presidency began a preliminary examination of the dossier (EM 14895/05 & 14903/05), which identified several key elements which the Finnish Presidency will take forward. As expected these discussions have been complex and we do not expect the dossier to be completed before late 2007 at the earliest. The European Parliament First Reading is currently scheduled for January 2007. We have received 28 separate responses to our recent consultation on this matter, and these contributions are now being analysed. In addition to assisting with the production of the RIA they are informing our negotiating stance on the dossier. We expect the RIA to be produced, along with the Consultation Response Document, in late summer.

  Finland is also prepared to start work on ground handling or the revision of the third aviation package if the proposals appear in time, but this seems unlikely.

  Of current maritime proposals, the Presidency will continue with port state control (5632/06) for possible general approach in December. There may also be an initial Council discussion on the proposal on classification societies (5912/06). The European Parliament may give a first reading to the seven current proposals as a package during December/January.

  The consultation process on the Maritime Green Paper will last throughout the Finnish Presidency, and into the following one.

  I hope that this summary of our expectations is useful. Further information will, of course, be provided to you in the future on the progress of these dossiers.

14 July 2006

Letter from the Chairman to Stephen Ladyman MP

  Thank you for your letter of 14 July, which Sub-Committee B considered at its meeting on 24 July.

  We were grateful to you for your helpful update, and look forward to hearing from you further as the proposals progress under the Finnish Presidency.

25 July 2006

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