26 Sep

The Transport Council held an extensive policy debate on how to decarbonise transport in order to combat climate change and meet the Paris Agreement objectives.

The debate built on the European Commission communication 'A Clean Planet for all - a European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy', published in November 2018.

To reflect the importance of the subject, separate sessions were dedicated to land transport (road, rail), aviation and shipping.

Most ministers acknowledged that we needed to do more to cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to stop global warming and the transport sector must, and will, play a crucial role. There is a willingness across Member States to make the most of a wide range of options: technological options, political options, changing our behaviour.

No single solution is enough, but with the right policy mix and by embracing the opportunities provided by innovation and digitalisation, we will get there. Strong climate action is supported by Europeans, and is a top priority for the Finnish presidency. Our discussion today provides a good basis for further work towards carbon-free mobility and a carbon-neutral society.

Minister of State, Mr László Mosóczi, and head of the Hungarian delegation, pointed out that achieving climate neutrality in transport is a major challenge, which requires increased efforts from the Member States. In connection with the MFF negotiations, he urged that issues relating to the reduction of the Cohesion Fund need to be addressed.

The Finnish presidency will sum up the ministers' debate as input for the European Council, which is expected to finalise its guidance before the end of the year. The European Union can then adopt its long-term climate strategy and present it to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by 2020, as required by the Paris Agreement.

The Council discussion – as well as the instruction from the European Council – will also guide the Commission in the preparation of new legislative proposals and other initiatives in this area.

Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania issued a joint statement together in drawing attention to potential negative impacts that the proposal on ‘Mobility Package I’ generates and in many cases incompatible with the current climate and CO2 emissions targets.

Over lunch, ministers discussed financial instruments for sustainable transport.