Transform transport to put EU on track for a green future, PES ministers urge

29/03/2021

PES transport ministers meeting by videoconference

PES transport ministers meeting by videoconference

The EU must push ahead with green and digital measures to transform the continent’s transport system. This is a unified message from the PES ministers who met online today to exchange views on the EU Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, the potential of Europe’s railways, and the European Green Deal.

Progressive transport ministers held the discussion, chaired by the Finnish Transport Minister Timo Harakka today. This is particularly good timing to launch this statement, as the Portuguese Presidency of the European Council prepares to kick-off the European Year of Rail initiative on this day, and ahead of the informal videoconference of EU transport ministers tomorrow.

Finnish Transport Minister and meeting Chair, Timo Harakka, said:

“Remarkable public investment is on the horizon to ensure that our economies and societies bounce back from the coronavirus crisis. We must make the most of this for transport, using it to shift to a new model that is both more green and more digital.

“As progressives, we have fought hard to secure the European Green Deal and continue to back Frans Timmermans’ efforts to put it into effect. If our continent is to achieve a 90% cut in emissions by 2050, we must recognise that transport has to change.

“We are determined to deliver a sustainable, smart and affordable transport system for Europe. This means making use of a broad range of approaches and technologies, from cycling infrastructure to electric vehicles. In short, we need a transformation.

“2021 is the European Year of Rail and we look forward to the Portuguese Presidency’s announcement on this today. Railways connecting European cities as well as urban rail systems are vital for citizens and will be central to achieving our Green Deal targets.” 

In December last year, the European Commission published its Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy with the aim of making the European transport system sustainable, smart and resilient. The meeting agreed that the Strategy is a good step forward for making sure the transport sector contributed to the objectives of the European Green Deal – an initiative of the socialist family.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Timo Harakka, Chair, Minister of Transport and Communications, Finland
  • Benny Engelbrecht, Minister of Transport, Denmark
  • Ian Borg, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects, Malta
  • Pedro Saura García, State Secretary for Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Spain
  • Tomas Eneroth, Minister for Infrastructure, Sweden
  • Ismail Ertug, MEP, Vice-President of the S&D Group, Member of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, European Parliament
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES