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Discussion held on ways to help road hauliers affected by crisis
20 May 2009:

The hearing has attracted about 100 representatives from European road haulage associations, the Commission, the European Parliament and the European Investment Bank with the aim to collect first-hand information from stakeholders on the effects of the recession and to identify ways forward.

Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, in charge of transport policy, said: "The road transport sector is the most important pillar for the exchange of goods in the internal market. This stakeholder meeting helps all actors better understand how serious the consequences of the economic downturn on road transport undertakings are. At the same time it is clear that short term measures should not be taken at the expense of market integration and the objective of a sustainable transport system. The crisis must be used as an opportunity to modernise the transport sector."

The participants reviewed the impact of the crisis, its effects in terms of employment, the role of transport innovation, and future business and policy perspectives. The speakers included amongst others Mathieu Grosch and Boguslaw Liberadzki, members of the European Parliament, Matthias Ruete Director General of Transport at the European Commission, Eduardo Chagas Secretary General of the European Federation of Transport Workers, Paolo Uggé, former Transport Secretary of State in Italy and President of Italian association Conftrasporto as well as Pere Padrosa, President of the Goods Transport Council of the International Road Union.

The stakeholder hearing was held in Brussels on 20 April 2009.

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Airlines move to clean up ticket selling websites
20 May 2009:

The findings feature in a final report on an 18 month EU-wide process to crackdown on misleading advertising and unfair practices. As a result of an EU enforcement investigation started in September 2007, 115 airline websites out of the 137 websites investigated have been corrected. Following an additional "health check" process involving independent mystery shopping in March 2009 on 67 major airlines, 52 airlines have either been given a "clean bill of health" and undertaken to maintain the same standards or immediately responded to the Commission’s consultation with undertakings to remedy outstanding issues. The Commission is now working to put in place an industry wide agreement to provide a level playing field for airlines across the EU and to maintain sites to a high standard.

Launched TEN-T 2009 Calls for Proposals
20 May 2009:

The European Commission launched last week the 2009 TEN-T Calls for Proposals, making nearly €1 billion of financing available for European transport infrastructure projects. This year’s Calls include a €500 million call in the framework of the Commission’s European Economic Recovery Plan, aimed at giving an immediate boost to the European economy by accelerating investments in infrastructure. In addition, there will be funding opportunities under the TEN-T Annual Programme and Multi-Annual Programme, whose priorities in this Call include Motorways of the Sea, Intelligent Transport Systems for Road, and the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). The Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency (TEN-T EA), which manages the technical and financial implementation of the TEN-T programme, is responsible for the management of the calls for proposals and the evaluation of project proposals submitted on behalf of its "parent", DG Energy and Transport.

EC Press Release

Greening buses and trucks
26 Mar 2009:

European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potocnik, opened recently a new facility for testing fuel consumption and emissions of trucks and buses. The new installation, "VELA 7" at the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra (Northern Italy), realistically simulates wind drag, tyre/road friction and full drive cycles for real-life articulated lorries of up to 40 tonnes or 12m long buses. It comes at a crucial time since implementation guidelines for new emission standards, notably the Euro VI regarding heavy duty vehicles, must be defined by 1st April 2010.

VELA-7 is one of the most advanced set-ups of its kind in the world and will provide independent, accurate and unbiased test results. With measurements going clearly far beyond those achievable on simple engine test stands, VELA 7 can test a whole range of alternative fuels and exhaust gas after-treatment systems in existing and future truck configurations. It can produce a broad picture – quantitatively and qualitatively – of the emissions of the whole range of heavy vehicles in the EU, which is the necessary step to then reducing those emissions effectively. Modern spectroscopy and other technologies allow detailed analysis of the most relevant gaseous components as well as the particulate matter in the exhaust.

EC Press Release

Efficiency in Sustainable Mobility - Thematic Research Summary published
24 Feb 2009:

This paper deals with the minimisation of the resource costs of a given transport system and the maximisation of its performance. Costs considered include those borne by the transport users and those by the transport operators. The relief of congestion and reliability is a significant element in the consideration of efficiency.

Click here to download.

Improving public understanding of EU transport research
24 Feb 2009:

For three days in Paris, visitors to the ‘European City of Science’ exhibition were able to learn about the work of research scientists around Europe. Among the highlights was the work of five groundbreaking EU-funded road transport research projects, aimed at making life on Europe’s roads easier and safer.

‘CERTAIN’, ‘HEAVYROUTE’, ‘ARCHES’, ‘SPENS’ and ‘TYROSAFE’ were presented at the ‘European City of Science’ exhibition by the Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories (FEHRL), as part of the organisation’s outreach programme to communicate how European research is improving road transport.

About 42,600 people visited the exhibition, held at Paris’ Grand Palais from 14-16 November 2008. Research organisations, universities, businesses and other associations demonstrated how their scientific innovations would affect the lives of everyday citizens as well as businesses.

In an opening speech, Janez Potocnik, the European Commissioner responsible for Science and Research, emphasised the integral role of science in society. “New knowledge helps create innovation and it is only innovation that can create new jobs and new wealth,” he said.

A more attractive ERA but stagnating EU R&D intensity: no time to take a break!
11 Feb 2009:

The 2008 Science, Technology and Competitiveness (ST&C) key figures report published last week provides for the first time an overview of progress from 2000 to 2006 in both EU R&D investment and in implementing the European Research Area (ERA). It shows that Europe’s pool of researchers is growing and the EU is becoming more attractive for foreign researchers and for private R&D investments from the US. However, the stagnation of the EU-27’s R&D intensity (R&D expenditure as % of GDP) at 1.84% is denting the EU’s ambition to become a globally competitive knowledge-based society.

Despite increased investment in research by many Member States and an improved efficiency of their research systems, the EU is still far from reaching its Lisbon target of investing 3% of GDP in R&D. A continued low level of business R&D investment, linked to an EU industrial structure with a smaller high tech sector than in the US, hampers the EU’s performance. The 2008 Innovation Scoreboard published in parallel provides detailed results of EU innovation performance. Both reports prove that the EU must change its industrial structure, gear up on innovation and ensure more and better use of R&D. Read more