Gisteren hielden de Europese ministers van transport een bijzondere vergadering inzake het verstoorde luchtverkeer door de aswolk uit IJsland.
Siim Kallas, commissaris voor Transport, verklaart dat veiligheid boven winst staat, maar na een aanbeveling van diverse experten, zal het luchtruim terug opengesteld worden.
Ook de groenen in het EP vinden veiligheid belangrijk. Toch wijzen ze erop dat deze crisis aantoont hoe het Europees transportbeleid foute keuzes maakt door geen kerosinetaksen te heffen in de luchtvaart en weinig te investeren in spoorwegverkeer.
Verklaring van Siim Kallas, Europees Commissaris voor Transport
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to be able to report back to you on the outcome of the meeting of transport ministers today. I will repeat now, as I have repeated throughout the past days the three key principles that guide all the work that we are doing: There can be no compromise on safety. All decisions must be based on scientific evidence and expert analysis. We need more European co-operation to find solutions for this crisis.
The European Commission has worked intensively in the past days - with the Spanish Presidency, Eurocontrol, industry and national partners - to facilitate a way forwards. This evening, I am pleased to report that we have made real progress. On the basis of a recommendation agreed unanimously by the national authorities and experts of the 38 Members of Eurocontrol, transport ministers have agreed to intensify European co-ordination and risk assessment of airspace management. The new air control measures come into effect from 0800 CET Tuesday morning. From tomorrow morning on, we should see progressively more planes start to fly. This is good news for Europe's stranded passengers, and good news for the airline industry and other sectors of the economy hard hit by this crisis. It shows that more Europe can deliver real results.
Today with the ministers, the main discussions focused on the safety issues and better co-ordination of airspace. That was the right thing. It is the central issue which holds the key to relief for both stranded passengers and the air industry. There is still a lot of work to be done. The European Commission is working on many fronts to respond to this crisis: on safety; on the economic consequences; on passenger rights.
I am pleased that the Spanish Presidency has agreed to hold another extraordinary Transport Council to discuss in more detail the economic impact of the crisis.
We will also look intensively at passenger issues in the coming hours and days. There has been a request from ministers for the Commission to facilitate measures to help repatriation through different modes of transport. We will do everything we can to co-ordinate measures in that regard.
We will continue to keep you updated as the situation evolves.
PERSBERICHT VAN DE GROENE FRACTIE IN HET EP
Safety more important than profit
With regards to the impact of the volcanic eruption in Iceland on the transport in Europe, Michael Cramer and Eva Lichtenberger , spokespersons on transport for the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, state:
"Mobility in Europe has changed drastically in the past six days. This time, the reason was not an accident, the fight against climate change or the high prices of kerosene. This time, it was nature itself. The volcano in Iceland has shown mankind once again, how powerful nature is.
This danger must not be underestimated! Therefore, we Greens vehemently condemn the resolve of the airline industry, which puts profit before the safety of passengers and pilots. We demand: The European airspace must only be opened again, when there is definitely no further risk for cockpit personnel or passengers. We ask all politicians to withstand the pressure of the air carriers. The responsibility for the safety must not be transferred to the airlines.
The events of the past few days also clearly show us the mistakes that have been made in European transport politics in the past few decades. It has been - and often still is - a common belief that the railways can be neglected. On the other hand, all attention has gone towards the air traffic. To give just one example, the European airlines are given 14 billion Euros by the European tax payer every year, due to the fact that there is no tax on kerosene. However, the situation is very different for the railways. These and other facts put the temporary loss of profits of the airlines into perspective.
The volcanic eruption in Iceland should be a warning to us all. What we are experiencing now is the implementation of future transport politics. However, this will only be successful if we do not have to implement it over night. Therefore we call upon all member states of the European Union, to set new priorities on the national and international political transport agenda and shift the necessary funds to the railways. Thanks to the additional efforts of the railways, quite a few passengers were taken safely to their destinations in the last few days. This is the only way we will secure mobility in the future and stop climate change!"