Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-09-04-Speech-2-309"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, in the long term, our views are not so very different. As far as we can tell from the Commissioner's future plans as they stand now, she wants the same thing we all want and need, i.e. specially sensitive transport rules for specially sensitive areas. That was precisely the intention of the original Transit Agreement between the Community as it was then and Austria, standing as it did on the brink of accession in every sense of the word. And the solutions worked out just under ten years ago and the compromises brokered for Alpine transit at the time have, on the whole, worked. The ecopoint system has brought about a net improvement in the environmentally problematic nitrogen oxide situation, despite all its weaknesses, and the quantitative upper ceiling and 108% rule, which is what this is all about, has at least gone some way towards acting as a safety net, as hoped, despite a whole series of problems. So why now and why, given the current situation, terminate a fundamental element of the arrangement prematurely for such as short period of time? This is the question people in Austria are asking and they are not getting an answer. Unless the idea is to end transit traffic restrictions, including – more to the point – in sensitive Alpine regions. I think we shall all be doing future European transport policy a disservice if we jeopardise the common, long-term objective or completely lose sight of it for the sake of a few relatively minor inconsistencies and squabbles. That is why I think the position adopted two months ago by an admittedly narrow majority in the Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism is the right one. This committee position could be used as a springboard for renewed efforts to find jointly acceptable solutions, rather than creating huge emotional and political problems for Austria and its citizens. Austria versus the rest of the world? That cannot and should not be. We should all being pulling together to find good, forward-looking solutions to European transport problems. That should be our objective and I trust that we shall return a vote tomorrow which guarantees that."@en1

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