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Document 51996IP0419

Resolution on public transport and state aid

OJ C 33, 3.2.1997, p. 127 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)


Resolution on public transport and state aid

Official Journal C 033 , 03/02/1997 P. 0127


Resolution on public transport and state aid

The European Parliament,

- having regard to its resolutions of 27 May 1993 ((OJ C 176, 28.6.1993, p. 164.)) and 18 January 1994 ((OJ C 44, 14.2.1994, p. 53.)) on the future development of the common transport policy,

- having regard to its resolution of 6 June 1996 on the communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Comittee of the Regions on the Common Transport Policy Action Programme 1995-2000 ((OJ C 181, 24.6.1996, p. 21.)),

- having regard to the Commission's Green Paper on the Citizens' Network (COM(95)0601) ((OJ C 212, 22.7.1996, p. 77.)),

- having regard to the principle of subsidiarity,

- having regard to its opinion of 29 February 1996 on the proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EEC) No 1107/70 on the granting of aids for transport by rail, road and inland waterway ((OJ C 78, 18.3.1996, p. 24.)),

- having regard to Articles 77, 90, 92 and 222 of the EC Treaty,

- having regard to the communication from the Commission on services of general interest in Europe (COM(96)0443) ((OJ C 281, 26.9.1996, p. 3.)),

- having regard to the Commission White Paper on a strategy for revitalizing the Community's railways (COM(96)0421),

- having heard the statement to Parliament by the Commission on 4 September 1996 on public services in Europe ((Verbatim report of proceedings of that date.)),

- having regard to its resolution of 13 March 1996 embodying (i) Parliament's opinion on the convening of the Intergovernmental Conference, and (ii) an evaluation of the work of the Reflection Group and a definition of the political priorities of the European Parliament with a view to the Intergovernmental Conference ((OJ C 96, 1.4.1996, p. 77: cf. paragraph 11: 'Public service obligations: A European Union which promotes the general interest')),

- having regard to the substance of the term 'public service' as defined in Council Regulation No. 1191/69 of 26 June 1969, as amended by Council Regulation No. 1893/91 of 20 June 1991 (for transport by rail, road and inland waterway), and in Council Regulations No. 3577/92 of 7 December 1992 (for maritime transport) and No. 2408/92 of 23 July 1992 (for air transport); whereas the concept of 'public service' is defined in these regulations as 'public service obligations' which Member States may lay down for transport enterprises,

- having regard to Rule 148 of its Rules of Procedure,

- having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A4- 0419/96),

A. whereas the common transport action programme seeks to improve the standard of the European transport system by establishing an integrated, safe, accessible, effective, efficient and environmentally compatible system of transport which responds to the needs of consumers and workers in the transport sector,

B. whereas this policy is also aimed at reducing the use of cars and improving public transport,

C. whereas the distinguishing features of public passenger transport are free access for every citizen, regular services reflected in a timetable and fixed routes,

D. whereas individual public transport routes are usually part of a network and as a result there are connecting interchange facilities,

E. whereas, although public passenger transport is possible by road, rail, water or air, not all collective passenger transport can also be described as public,

F. whereas there are major differences in the ways in which public transport is organized in the various Member States, and at regional and local level within Member States and within the various sectors,

G. whereas even in the future public transport by road, on certain routes, and by rail, at network level, cannot be operated entirely without a loss,

H. whereas state aid must be transparent and consistent with the objectives of the common transport policy and with the relevant provisions of the Treaty on European Union,

I. having regard to the current ISOTOPE research into the various ways in which public transport is organised in Europe which has been commissioned by the European Union ((See the fourth framework programme: OJ L 126, 18.5.1994, p. 1.)),

Competence of the European Union

1. Notes that citizens of the Union are increasingly travelling across borders, both for business and for personal reasons;

2. Notes that the public transport market is undergoing increasing liberalization and an open European market is being created;

3. Takes the view that public transport services must be provided in accordance with the principles of the Treaty;

4. Takes the view that the consumer is entitled to efficient transport services which satisfy established criteria, and in the near future cross-border criteria, in terms of continuity, regularity, capacity, affordability and standards which are best tailored to demand;

5. Takes the view, with regard to the IGC, that a new article specifically concerned with public services should be included in the Treaty;

Position of public transport

6. Takes the view that public transport could, and should, help solve safety, congestion, economic and environmental problems resulting from increased car use;

7. Takes the view that an adequate system of public transport is necessary for the social functioning of all citizens, including the disabled, who do not have the use of cars;

8. Is of the opinion that the mobility needs of citizens should be satisfied as far as possible within the constraints of the environment, space requirements and (public and private) funding;

9. Is also of the opinion that the right to mobility is not an absolute right;

Organization of public transport

10. Is of the opinion that innovation, customer service and efficiency in public transport are enhanced by a proper division of responsibilities between government and industry, with the public sector taking the political responsibility for public services and (public or private sector) undertakings making optimum use of the market mechanism to supply top- quality services;

11. Notes that an entirely liberalized public transport market provides no guarantee whatsoever of the creation or preservation of an integrated network and therefore believes that the public transport network and the way it is integrated with other forms of transport is a government responsibility;

12. Points out that liberalization of the transport market must not entail selective privatization of highly profitable branches of the transport sector with the public authorities being left to fund only loss-making sectors;

13. Believes that contracting out local and regional public transport, either at network level - where the tendering authority sets qualitative criteria - or at route level - where the contracting authority determines the network - is the best way of encouraging efficiency and effectiveness (and hence competitiveness compared with cars);

14. Is of the opinion that the interests of workers in public transport should also be one of the key features in the choice of contracting out;

15. Calls for public transport users to be effectively involved, via consumer organizations and under participation arrangements, in creating public transport networks;

16. Takes the view that if making public transport more efficient results in the need to rationalise enterprises (particularly in the public sector), state financial aid to the enterprises in question, for a limited period and covering restructuring costs only, may be desirable to offset the social consequences;

17. Calls on the Commission to investigate whether any additional rules are needed for the adequate functioning of the public transport market, both now and in the future, with particular attention to the quality of public transport in frontier regions;

Financing and state aid

18. Calls for the Community financial aid of studies, infrastructure and pilot projects to be focused to a greater extent on public transport;

19. Is of the opinion than in many instances the cost-effectiveness of public transport is too low;

20. Takes the view that the aim should be public transport which is more effective (i.e. better tailored to passengers' wishes) and more efficient (i.e. more cost-effective);

21. Considers that the most efficient and effective way of encouraging greater use of public transport is to improve its quality-price ratio;

22. Is of the opinion that public transport infrastructure and the operation of public transport should be separate, in that the construction and management costs of infrastructure may be borne by the state;

23. Is of the opinion that the transport undertakings should pay for use of this infrastructure, but that the amount in question may be subsidized in full provided the subsidy is transparent and non-discriminatory and the need for it is examined at regular intervals;

24. Takes the view that as far as possible the running costs of public transport should be financed by fares, that any additional funding that is required from national, local and/or regional authorities should not detract from the goals of efficiency and effectiveness and that such funding should therefore be concerned only with public service obligations;

25. Is also of the opinion that public service obligations may cover not just routes or services but also relatively extensive networks, particularly in peripheral or rural areas;

26. Considers that state aid for public transport should be connected with the question of internalization of external costs for all modes of transport, that it should be performance-related, that it may contain obligations to be further specified, that it may not be geared towards covering enterprises' deficits, that it must not discriminate between different tenderers and that it should have maximum transparency;

27. Calls on the Commission to conduct an inquiry into state aid for different modes of transport in the Member States, with a view to assessing their impact;

28. Instructs its President to forward this report to the Commission, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the governments of the Member States.