On 30 October, Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU presented the “Graz Declaration” to the environment and transport ministers for discussion. The Declaration calls on member states and the European Commission to step up their efforts by quickly implementing clean mobility measures in order to sustainably improve the health and quality of life of European citizens in both cities and regions.
The content of the declaration will subsequently be addressed and elaborated at this year’s forthcoming formal EU Council meetings.
The informal meeting of environment and transport ministers marks the beginning of a new era in which all parties will work towards a “Green Deal” for a new type of mobility in Europe, a clean, safe and affordable mobility.
“The fact that the environment and transport ministers are holding a joint meeting is an important sign that the huge task that is climate protection can only be solved in conjunction with the issue of mobility. We must guarantee people’s mobility on the one hand, while on the other hand finding and developing ways to make that happen without endangering our environment”, said Minister of Environment, Elisabeth Köstinger, and the Minister for Transport, Norbert Hofer, who currently chair the Council meetings in the respective areas of environment and transport.
According to the declaration, the European climate targets for 2030 and the long term vision until 2050 in line with the Paris climate agreement can only be achieved through political measures and the alignment of financing and support structures. This would require a holistic approach of the transformation policy that combines measures and harnesses synergies.
“In this context, the EU environment and transport ministers urge the European Commission to pursue a strategic holistic policy approach that comprises a comprehensive strategy for clean, safe, accessible and affordable mobility, an increase in innovation and competitiveness, and social inclusion in Europe,” the two ministers said.
Thus, the European Commission, the EU member states, regional and local authorities and other stakeholders should further develop measures in five areas which include clean vehicles, mobility management and planning, active mobility, safe and inclusive mobility and multimodality and infrastructure.
The informal meeting of environment and transport ministers invites the European Commission to build on these principles and proposed measures by developing and implementing by 2021 a comprehensive strategy as well as a roadmap for sustainable, clean, safe, affordable and inclusive mobility in Europe with appropriate packages of measures.