Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2003-10-21-Speech-2-020"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, a great deal is staked on the restructuring of Europe’s railways. We must ensure that the twenty-first century marks the revival of rail travel in Europe, otherwise we shall have a gridlocked road network with all its repercussions on people’s lives, on the environment and on the economy. The railways, of course, cannot be synonymous with long-distance transport as they were in the nineteenth century, but they should be an important link in a chain comprising all the modes of transport – air, road, sea, waterway and rail. In order to play their part in this chain, the railways must be up to the tasks required of them. They must be fully integrated within their own structures, and the grandiloquent concept of intermodal transport must be fleshed out so that the links between the various modes of transport can actually work in practice. Time is short, which is why Parliament was dissatisfied – and, indeed, is still not quite satisfied – with the original timetable, but we do see signs of movement, and we hope that there will be further movement – and very soon, please, if possible. Accordingly, we stand by our earlier proposals. Especially with regard to the package covered by Mrs Ainardi’s report, we stand by our stated position, and we must insist on the realisation of interoperability throughout the network. This, of course, cannot be fully achieved unless it is an effective binding requirement for all parts of the rail network and unless steps are taken to ensure that international transport operations are not obstructed again by piecemeal measures. In the drafting and adoption of technical specifications, consideration must be given to the economic costs, and care must be taken to ensure that the requisite safety standards are in place and that due account is taken of environmental and social concerns too. One of the main prerequisites for an entirely effective and safe trans-European high-speed rail network is a functioning system of communication, especially between those who conduct operations and those who oversee them. For this reason we need an appropriate code of terminology for operational communications. Rather than organising all of this on the basis of the lowest common denominator and minimum safety levels, we must guarantee compliance with the highest possible standards. Finally, allow me, as an Austrian, to take this opportunity to comment on another subject that has been in the news again in recent days. I refer to the proposed regulation on the ecopoints system for HGVs travelling through Austria, which was the subject of the Caveri report and which has now gone to conciliation, although the conciliation process has not yet begun in earnest. In this context, may I make an urgent appeal, especially to the Council and its President-in-Office, Mr Lunardi, to ensure that the most directly affected countries are able to agree on a common position so that they can signal to everyone, including Parliament, that the deadlock is being broken. The deadlock needs to be broken; once it has, Mr Schmid’s earlier quotation from Goethe can be applied to the ecopoints issue too, albeit in a slightly modified form: ‘For he whose strivings never cease will finally achieve success’."@en1

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