Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2003-02-11-Speech-2-154"

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"Mr President, Madam Vice-President of the Commission, ladies and gentlemen, the heavy goods vehicles that travel through Austria are seen by all Austrians as an important issue in home affairs policy. It was important when what was known as the Transit Agreement was being negotiated between 1992 and 1994, a time when we even made our consent to membership of the Community conditional upon the finding of a sound and forward-looking solution to this problem. Just as we did then, we see the Transit Regulation as a sort of leading issue. Neither then nor now did we, or do we, want some sort of preferential treatment in the form of special arrangements for our country that would amount to long-term derogations from the Internal Market. What we then wanted, and what we continue to seek, is an EU transport policy that points the way for others to follow by taking into account, along with the freedoms of the internal market, concerns relating to those parts of the environment affected by the traffic, especially in sensitive areas, and the concerns of the people who live near such traffic. We regard these concerns of ours as being in harmony with the Commission's objectives as regards transport. In its Transport White Paper, which we shall soon be discussing, it promises that the planned new transport infrastructure costs directive will include provisions on the imposition of charges for the use of the infrastructure as well as on the integration of the external costs, with such provisions reflecting serious consideration of the use of cross-subsidies to benefit more environmentally friendly means of transport. We want all those things, too. That is why it is so important that no gap should be allowed to occur between the expiry of the transit regime and the new directive entering into force. That is also why we need an appropriate transitional regime. The Danish Presidency of the Council, which worked hard to achieve a compromise at Council level between all those concerned with this highly touchy issue, came close to achieving its objective, narrowly missing it only because there were no longer sufficient transport ministers coming to Brussels. Now, following our resolution in Parliament, we will be calling on the Council, at the meeting of its transport ministers, to pass a formal resolution adopting the compromise which has already been arrived at in this matter, and it would be important in view of this if we in this House were also to be able to express our belief in a joint, sound, and forward-looking solution to this problem. On behalf of all the Austrian Members of this House, I therefore ask you to give every possible support to Amendment No 18, which enjoys the essential backing of all four of the political groupings in Austria. The environment, and the people who live in the affected areas, will thank us for it."@en1

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