The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2005URL (Internet address) : http://www.eu2005.lu/en/actualites/communiques/2005/06/27transports_lux/
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Lucien Lux at the Transport Council of 27 June 2005
Transport matters were on the agenda of the "Transport, Telecommunications and Energy" Council chaired by Lucien Lux, Minister for Transport, during the afternoon of 27 June 2005.
The Luxembourg Presidency welcomed the significant progress made on the maritime dossiers. An agreement was also reached with the European Parliament that allows for the adoption of the directive on pollution caused by ships and the possibility of imposing criminal penalties on those responsible. In addition, the Council and the Parliament reached agreement on two other directives. The first is on the recognition of seafarer training certificates and the second is on port security. The Council also welcomed the conclusions adopted on 24 June by the Environment Council on environmental and health conditions to be observed during decommissioning of ships for scrapping.
The Council also took note of the state of progress of works on the Third Rail Package. Under the Luxembourg Presidency, the Council came out against legislation on the quality conditions to be observed in rail freight, preferring contractual solutions to a normative framework. On the other hand, progress was made on the dossier on passenger rights included in the Community initiative on "Strengthening passenger rights within the European Union", just as there was an agreement on the part of the Commission to involve the Member States in the development of the common rail policy with a view to drafting an assessment on the execution of decisions taken with a view to determining whether all the political objectives of the past few years have been achieved.
The new draft directive on the Community driving licence, which envisages the harmonisation of the terms of validity and subdivision into classes, will contribute to facilitating free movement in Europe. Because of the disagreement of several delegations on obligatory exchange of existing licenses in the years following the introduction of a single Community model for licenses, unfortunately the Presidency had to admit the impossibility of attaining a qualified majority for adopting the compromise negotiated on this subject with the European Parliament and the Commission.
In addition, the Presidency had wanted a debate on the orientations to give to the conclusions following the mid-term assessment by the Commission on the European action programme for road safety, which envisages halving the number of road accident victims within the European Union by the year 2010. The majority of Ministers came out in favour of active involvement of the European Union in the Road Safety dossier. In particular, there was a common will to move towards a cross-border system of criminal sanctions for road traffic offences. Community work should include vehicle safety equipment, the exchange of information on best practices, the application of new technologies, the planning and development of infrastructures and the behaviour of road users, while placing emphasis on speed, alcohol and drugs, and on the protection of pedestrians and the occupants of vehicles.
Also in the area of land transport, the Council heard the Commission’s approach on the subject of the introduction of the digital tachograph in commercial vehicles, coaches and busses. The new tachograph model for controlling the driving time for drivers could be placed in newly registered vehicles or vehicles already in use beginning on 5 August 2005. The equipment in question will be obligatory starting in January 2006.
The last area on the agenda of the Council was dedicated to civil aviation dossiers.
The Council agreed on the conclusions to be drawn from the Commission communication on the development of the foreign policy agenda of Community aviation. Recognising that civil aviation is a fundamental element in the framework of the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy, the Commission and the Member States agree on developing together the portfolio of air transport agreements concluded or to be concluded with third countries. In the interest of continuity, the necessity of maintaining the bilateral agreements negotiated individually between the Member States and third countries is recognised, in the expectation that these could be replaced by agreements concluded by the Commission for the entire European Union. In this regard, the first agreement between the European Union and Chile was approved and the Commission reported on the state of progress of negotiations underway with the United States.
Following an agreement reached with the European Parliament, the Council also adopted a directive on licensing air traffic controllers, harmonising the conditions of entering and exercising this profession at Community level while emphasising that this harmonisation should not, in any case be, to the detriment of the social rights acquired at national level.
The Transport Council concluded with a cruise dinner on the M.S. Marie-Astrid, offered by the Luxembourg Presidency. The boat took delegates from Schengen to Grevenmacher.