OPP Meeting Summary: EP TRAN Committee – A European strategy on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (7 September 2017)

A summary of the committee’s exchange of views with Commission representatives is now available.

EP TRAN Committee – 7 September 2017
6.  A European strategy on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems
– Exchange of views with Commission representatives
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Claire Depre, Head of Unit, DG MOVE C3, Intelligent Transport Systems from the European Commission made the following remarks

  • the Commission was aiming to achieve “cooperative, connected and automated mobility“. This was the overall vision under which the strategy had been developed;
  • legislation was not on the table yet, but a lot of work had been done with stakeholders. There were a number of policy initiatives, some of which used EU-funding;
  • fully automated transport was the end-goal, and she stressed that it was crucial to ensure that it worked properly;
  • a stakeholder group had been established in 2014 in order to enable to the Commission to involve the whole value chain of cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS), including the telecommunications industry;
  • a number of projects had been launched under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which were crucial because they helped the Commission to develop the technical specifications for a European framework;
  • European ITS was not a “top-down thing” but a partnership between different stakeholders that had a shared vision;
  • DG MOVE was not working alone on the issue, and there was a lot of coordination with other departments, including DG CONNECT. Member States had also agreed to work together closely, especially on 5G;
  • the 2016 Declaration of Amsterdam aimed for a political commitment to C-ITS.

Rapporteur István Ujhelyi (S&D, HU)

  • he stated that it was exciting that an actual European strategy for C-ITS was being discussed. It was no longer “a matter of dreams” and he believed that it could be achieved sooner than 2040;
  • it has been a decade since the Commission and the Parliament began working on the topic;
  • the transport sector needed to pay attention to three aspects: safety, efficiency and sustainability;
  • the significance of digital technologies was that they were able to communicate in real-time data during traffic. It enabled the creation of a multi-modal system;
  • the reduction of greenhouse gases and pollutants was also important;
  • he had consulted with about 30 stakeholders from the automotive and telecommunications industries, as well as Commission and Member State experts;
  • automated transport was a consequence of the digitisation of industry;
  • he asked the Commission about the ambitious timeline. 2019 and 2030 were the scheduled milestones, and he asked about the necessary investments for infrastructure would be prepared. Telecommunications companies were likely to state that infrastructure was not their issue, and should be completed with the public budget;
  • interconnectivity and how information could be exchanged were central issues, but he stressed that data protection also needed to be ensured. He had discussed with Commissioner Gabriel on possible policy initiatives;
  • he wanted to know more about hybrid technologies. Society also needed to know more information, and he asked how the Commission envisaged to carry out an information campaign;
  • he also asked how the Commission would be addressing the digital divide in society;
  • response to cyber-attacks also needed to be improved;
  • he stated that progress had been made at the European level, but there was competition from the US and China. The EU needed to be able to protect the European automotive industry.

Wim van de Camp (EPP, NL) spoke on the behalf of Henna Virkkunen (EPP, FI)

  • he thanked the Commission for the enthusiastic approach to C-ITS;
  • he questioned whether the European citizens were aware of the technological innovations happening in transport. He believed that the publicity over C-ITS was “restricted”; 
  • he wondered whether the EU was too slow compared to China and the US;
  • the EU had very strict data protection rules, and he questioned how the C-ITS project could be pursued in line with those rules. A balance needed to be struck between development and protection;
  • he asked whether the Declaration of Amsterdam was having any meaningful impact;
  • he asked the Commission to comment on powered two wheelers and C-ITS;
  • regarding the MFF, he questioned whether the Commission and DG MOVE were “strong enough” to ensure that C-ITS projects would receive more funding.

Pavel Telička (ALDE, CZ) read out a statement on the behalf of Matthijs van Miltenburg (ALDE, NL) 

  • the strategy was a key aspect of making transport safer and more sustainable, but a clear regulatory framework was necessary;
  • privacy and the protection of personal data was crucial. He urged the Commission to ensure the efficient implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and believed that manufacturers should not be able to sell in-car data without the consent of the consumer;
  • he supported the current exchange of best practices, but he underlined the need for dedicated cross-border cooperation.

Pavel Telička (ALDE, CZ)

  • he wanted to see a clear impact assessment into the EU’s position in comparison to competitors, and where the deficiencies were.

Roberts Zīle (ECR, LV) read out a statement on the behalf of Kosma Złotowski (ECR, PL) 

  • the protection of data, secure radio frequencies and adequate funding, especially for SMEs, was crucial;
  • infrastructure challenges for the deployment of C-ITS also needed to be addressed.

Roberts Zīle (ECR, LV)

  • he questioned whether the political pressure for C-ITS would create obstacles for the internal market in transport;
  • he also stated that there needed to be “political responsibility” for the attitudes towards the collaborative economies in the transport sector;
  • he believed that Russian cyber-attacks could also be aimed at European C-ITS. This should not be used as an excuse to undermine the democratic decision-making process in the EU;
  • automotive industries in the EU were facing a challenge because a lot of the value added now came from the ICT-functions, which were not produced in the EU. He called for measures to enable the automotive industries in the EU to stay competitive.

Jakop Dalunde (Greens/EFA, SE) 

  • he welcomed the strategy, especially as means to provide as clearer framework for the industry and other actors involved;
  • he asked the Commission to give some examples of projects or ideas for integrating intermodality, as well as minimising external costs related to climate change.

Gesine Meissner (ALDE, DE)

  • she asked about the timeline for full step-by-step deployment of C-ITS in the EU, and “who was paying for it”, and if there was more money coming from CEF;
  • data protection was very important and she questioned how data would be processed and stored.

Ismail Ertug (S&D, DE)

  • he stated that the future could only be planned in a positive way if vehicles were capable of communicating with each other;
  • the Commission services needed to work with each other in order to properly deliver on the strategy, as well as show to Member States that there was a framework for it, because they had different levels of ambition regarding C-ITS;
  • ethics needed to be addressed;
  • he asked the Commission how it would ensure that the networks necessary for C-ITS would work not only at the national level, but also across borders. This was essential, especially because there were still problems with the deployment of mobile networks across the EU;
  • he believed that cars equipped with older technologies constituted a safety risk, and he asked how older cars could be updated.

Jens Nilsson (S&D, SE) 

  • the Committee needed to link the strategy to the road package;
  • the value of monitoring new technologies should not be underestimated. It was essential for ensuring that developing regulatory frameworks;
  • Member States would have to decide how to invest in new infrastructure. He suggested the introduction of a road tax.

Isabella De Monte (S&D, IT)

  • infrastructure limits would have to be addressed, e.g. automation would require a much better defined corridor for vehicles to travel on smoothly. Funding would be necessary for connectivity;
  • she stated that money should not be taken out of other programmes to pay for the Juncker Plan, and she also asked about the kind of financing that was being planned.

Dominique Riquet (ALDE, FR)

  • he did not believe that automated cars, connected drivers and infrastructures that could communicate with each other should be combined. He stated that connected vehicles did not exist.

The Chair Karima Delli (Greens/EFA, FR)

  • responding to the comments made by Dominique Riquet (ALDE, FR), she stated hat people often used terms related to intelligent transport interchangeably and did not know precisely what they meant. Definitions needed to be made clearer;
  • 10 years ago, no one could have imagined smartphones. They revolutionised everyone’s life and were a part of connected mobility;
  • the digital divide needed to be addressed;
  • she asked whether the Commission was looking into open data;
  • regarding infrastructure, she stated that the data protection legislation would need to be taken into account;
  • liability was also crucial, and she questioned whether there should be a framework in the EU for responsibility.

Claire Depre, Head of Unit, DG MOVE C3, Intelligent Transport Systems from the European Commission made the following remarks

  • the strategy was not only about cars, but about connected mobility as a whole;
  • the complexity of the issue required the involvement of many Commission services. Complimentary technology was necessary;
  • regarding retrofitting, she stated that she did not have precise answers but she was aware of the fact that there would be different types of vehicles on the road for a long time;
  • on the issue of funding, she stated that the Commission was working on it;
  • regarding the cost, she stated that investments would be strategic once there were more intelligent vehicles on the road;
  • the Commission had been working extensively with stakeholders and Member States, as well as with the Article 29 Working Party and the European Data Protection Supervisor on the issue of data protection and privacy;
  • on the issue of the digital divide, she stated that CEF had not only been used as a funding tool, but as a means to reach communities around the EU. The digital divide would continue to be addressed by the Commission.

The Chair Karima Delli (Greens/EFA, FR)

  • there was a need to be clear about the definitions of connected vehicles, connected infrastructure and connected mobility because they all addressed different pieces of legislation.

Rapporteur István Ujhelyi (S&D, HU)

  • he reiterated the comment made by Pavel Telička (ALDE, CZ), on the need to understand where the EU stood in terms of technology and industry.

Source: One Policy Place

The simultaneous interpretation of debates provided by the European Parliament serves only to facilitate communication amongst the participants in the meeting. It does not constitute an authentic record of proceedings. One Policy Place uses these translations so this text is only a guide and should not be relied on as an official account of the meeting. Only the original speech or the revised written translation of that speech is authentic.

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