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Press Office

Athens, 7 June 2022

Parliamentary Committees briefed on European Transport Policies

The Members of the European Affairs and Production and Trade Committees were briefed today by EU Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean, and the Greek Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Konstantinos Karamanlis, in the framework of a joint meeting on "Current and future priorities in European transport policies".

In his introductory speech, the Chairman of the meeting George Vlachos, identified the transport sector as severely affected by the pandemic; he underlined that the EU response has been successful via the adoption of uniform measures, in contrast to sector responses lacking coordination. As a characteristic example of coordination he mentioned the European Digital COVID-19 Certificate, proposed by the Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis, which ultimately led to the full resumption of safe transport services and tourism in the EU .

With regard to the impact of the war in Ukraine, Mr Vlachos identified the increase in oil and gas prices, as well as the disruption of supply chains as the major immediate challenges, also noting that the issue of food security requires international coordination and cooperation with third countries. Finally, referring to European legislative proposals related to energy transition in transport, Mr Vlachos stressed that Greece supports the promotion of ambitious European goals, yet emphasising the need for flexibility and the promotion of feasible solutions. This issue, he concluded, is crucial for Greece due to its extensive coastal shipping network connecting the mainland with the islands.

In her intervention, Commissioner Adina Vălean stressed, among other things, that the European transport sector successfully responded to the crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, characteristically referring to the European Commission "Solidarity Lines" initiative to support Ukrainian exports and avoid a food crisis.

She also called attention to the need for transport modernisation, digitisation promotion and emissions’ reduction, in line with the European Green Deal provisions. The Commissioner referred to initiatives towards the use of alternative sustainable fuels in shipping and air transport, which are part of the Fit for 55 legislative package, as well as to the development of appropriate cross-border infrastructure to facilitate alternative vehicle fuels distribution. Mrs Vălean also mentioned the need to invest in the promotion of combined European transport, emphasising the major European funds to be allocated in this direction, and welcomed the Greek plan for railway network development, also congratulating the Greek government on its infrastructure investment plan.

In his intervention, the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Mr Konstantinos Karamanlis, pointed out the European and national transport policy interconnection, aiming at promoting green, efficient, interoperable and sustainable transport. At the same time, the minister underscored e-mobility in road transport as an EU priority, outlining Greece’s comprehensive plan in this context. More specifically, he referred to the provision of motives to speed up the renewal of the car fleet, pointing out that Greece records the largest increase in the market for electric vehicles among European countries.

Mr Karamanlis referred to the gradual release of new modern and environmentally friendly buses, as well as the advancing of charging points for the development of e-mobility, also mentioning the e-mobility market registry of infrastructure and operators, established by the ministry, at the same time promoting modernization of services provided to users, such as the licensing and operation of repair and maintenance shops for electric vehicles. Mr. Karamanlis then referred to the Greek railways’ support and modernisation plan via the adoption of the largest railway project ever implemented, with a budget of over 4.5 billion euros, also stressing Greece’s active participation in the framework review for trans-European transport networks, pursuing the inclusion of the port of Alexandroupolis in the extensive trans-European network and the development of a complementary branch of European routes. 

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