It can sometimes be difficult to see the direct benefit of the work done by the European Parliament. Often national governments claim European successes for themselves and blame the EU when tough legislation must be enforced.
But, what you may not know is that, when it comes to many of the everyday concerns of Europeans, the European Parliament has a big role to play. Issues such as ensuring better road maintenance, mandating safer cars, harmonising mobile roaming fees, limiting the amount of CO2 emissions from your car or protecting your the rights as an air passenger are all areas that the European Parliament is legislating on.
This is why it is important to know what your MEP plans to do about mobility issues when he or she is in office.
Many Europeans might not first think that mobility is a top concern, but the FIA would like to ask: would your life be the same without reliable mobility options, be that your car or public transport? How would you get to work? How would your kids get to school?
At the FIA, we aim to ensure that mobility is safe, affordable, sustainable and efficient. With these aims in mind, our work focuses on Road Safety, Consumer Protection, Environmental Protection, and the promotion of Sustainable Motoring.
For this election, we’re taking a closer look on what the European Parliament has done for mobility in Europe.
What has the European Parliament done to improve mobility?
On transport-related topics the European Parliament is an important player that defends European citizens, protects the environment and works to enhance freedom of move within the 28 EU Member States.
What has the European Parliament done to protect the environment?
- As a contribution towards meeting the EU’s goal of cutting overall greenhouse gas emissions, MEPs voted on stricter emission targets for cars. Passenger cars will have to emit no more than 130g CO2/km by 2015 and 95g by 2020. More stringent targets are expected for 2025 to make the transport sector more environmentally friendly.
- Use of more efficient and alternative fuels such as electricity, hydrogen and biofuels are highly promoted so as to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. The European Parliament aims to reach a balanced approach among the different technologies and encourage consumer uptake and infrastructure development for these vehicles.
- Labelling of tyres has been an important step forward. Clearer information helps to better communicate the fuel efficiency, wet grip and external rolling noise via clear pictograms, understandable to all EU citizens. The new labels voted by the MEPs allow consumers to make informed choices when buying tyres.
- The Parliament adopted a Regulation aiming at improving environmental protection and public safety by ensuring a better quality of life and health, by reducing major sources of noise caused by motor vehicles.
Does the European Parliament defend consumer rights?
- Thanks to the Parliament, millions of holiday-makers travelling in the EU are protected by comprehensive passenger rights whether travelling by air or rail, and now also by ship, bus and coach. For air passengers for instance, these rights apply on all flights departing from an EU airport and on flights operated by EU air carriers when departing from a non-EU airport. More information: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/passenger-rights/en/
- It can be a hassle getting new registration plates for a car when you move it to a new country. Drivers often face costly and cumbersome national registration procedures. The Parliament is working on a common set of registration rules for vehicles moved permanently across national borders within the EU. These will simplify registration procedures, cut red tape and reduce costs.
How is the European Parliament acting for a safe and efficient mobility?
- The Parliament is currently working on the standards for the deployment of the EU-wide emergency call (eCall) system. In the near future, your car will have an electronic safety system automatically calling emergency services in case of a serious accident. The system is expected to save 2,500 lives per year.
- The Parliament voted for the 3rd EU driving license which is effective from 2013. Its main purpose was to improve the harmonisation of driver licenses throughout the EU, which consisted of: validity period, entitlement and the size of the license.
- With the Roadworthiness Package, the Parliament took an important step towards increasing the safety of the European road transport system. It established minimum common standards for technical inspections of vehicles, facilitating mutual recognition of roadworthiness certificates across the EU.
- To improve road safety, the Parliament approved a Directive setting out the possibility to allow Member States to exchange data on traffic offenses and vehicle related data.
- The Tunnel Directive, adopted by the Parliament, lays down a set of harmonised minimum safety requirements for tunnels as accidents in tunnels, and particularly fires, can have dramatic consequences and can prove extremely costly in terms of human life, increased congestion, pollution and repair costs.
See also: Infographic: ABCs of the EU institutions