Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2002-09-24-Speech-2-260"

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"Mr President, the Commission's proposal for a European Parliament and Council regulation on the granting of Community financial assistance to improve the environmental performance of the freight transport system has much to recommend it. However, there is also much – if not even more – to criticise. The objective is positive. In the future more freight is to be shifted from road to other more environmentally friendly modes of transport. Ideally, this should check the growth in road freight transport resulting from enlargement of the Union. For my country, Austria, this is an absolutely fundamental political issue. The instruments provided to achieve this are also sensible: start-up support for new, non-road freight transport services, which should however be economically viable in the medium term; support for launching freight services or facilities of strategic European interest, and common learning actions to foster more cooperation in the freight logistics market. Working together makes us strong, instead of everyone being against everyone else and opposing anything new. The individual amendments proposed by the European Parliament in the Bradbourn report are also good. The more SME-friendly minimum subsidy threshold deserves a particular mention here. That, however, is the absolute limit as far as the praise is concerned. All of the measures that are intended, in the truest sense of the word, to be put in train here are long overdue. For far too long we have talked about more environmentally friendly forms of transport without taking appropriate measures. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that our roads are full and congested while rail and inland waterways have not for some time been performing at the levels of which they could and should be capable. A critical question mark should also be placed over the funds allocated. EUR 115 million may be a lot of money, but it is spread over five years and the Marco Polo programme is a different situation yet again for all of the measures that were mentioned just now. Last but not least, I would lament a further serious shortcoming at European Community level. The way that Europe drafts its legal texts, the public will never understand us. With this in mind, I quote from the fifth recital, as also amended by the European Parliament: 'The Marco Polo programme features three types of action: (1) modal shift actions, which should focus on shifting as much cargo as possible under current market conditions from road to the more environmentally acceptable short sea shipping, rail and inland waterways; such actions must not lead to a shift of freight flows from short sea transport, rail or inland waterways to another of these modes, unless the share of freight transport by road in the transport chain is thereby substantially reduced.' Does anyone here understand this language? I find it hard going even when I am reading the text!"@en1

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