Written answers

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Transport Costs

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the extent to which he intends to highlight issues affecting transport costs here during Ireland’s presidency of the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57661/12]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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The Presidency Programme on Transport is very ambitious and will focus on delivering key legislative dossiers as we enter final 18 months of current Commission and European Parliament. There are over 20 dossiers on the table or in the pipeline, some of which will have an impact in driving transport costs down over the longer term - particularly for Ireland as an island destination on the periphery of Europe.

The key dossiers in this context are the Connecting Europe Facility and the Trans-European Transport Network Regulation - both of which are intended to address bottlenecks and missing links across the key strategic transport routes in the EU -  ensuring that Europe's transport network is efficient and fit for purpose. These will feature high on my list of priorities for the Presidency.  

In addition, I am very keen to see progress in implementing the Maritime Labour Convention, launching important debates on issues such as Passenger Ship Safety and taking the next step in relation to the Blue Belt initiative – which aims to reduce the administrative burdens for short sea shipping within the EU.  The 4th Rail Package is another priority dossier which has the potential to drive greater competitiveness within the rail sector in the EU and encourage a modal shift with important environmental implications. The Airports Package - which I hope to secure agreement on during my term as Chair of the Transport Council - has the potential to make a real difference in addressing the cost base within the aviation sector as a whole with significant positive impacts for consumers in the longer run.


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