Karima Delli | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual
1. What do you see as the committee’s main achievements in the first half of the current mandate - and what do you see as its main priorities for the coming two and a half years?
The main topic that marked the first half of the mandate is the finalisation of the fourth railway package.
Although the political pillar was not sufficient for me and my colleagues from the Greens group, the new regulation fosters major progress in terms of technical harmonisation, necessary to strengthen rail competitiveness over road and air sectors.
For the next two and a half years, we will focus on achieving the aviation and maritime strategy and begin the massive work on the road package.
This involves crucial pieces of legislation such as the revision of the Eurovignette and the rules of cabotage in tackling social dumping in transport, as well as reindustrialisation plans for the car and bus industry.
2. What do you believe are the main challenges and issues facing the committee for the remainder of the current legislature?
I have three main goals for this legislature.
First, we must mobilise all available means for reducing transport emissions. Climate is an absolute priority because transport, unlike many other sectors, has increased its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent since 1990 and was not included in the COP21 negotiations. This is why I would like the EU to push for the opening of a transport chapter for COP23 in Bonn.
Second, we must find concrete answers to social dumping in transport which is a plague killing both our industry and the European spirit.
Finally, as with other committees, TRAN must play its part in anticipating the digital revolution in order to boost innovation such as the collaborative economy and autonomous driving with regard to their potential social impact.
3. What impact, if any, will Brexit and other events such as national elections in France, the Netherlands and Germany, have on the committee’s work?
Of course there will be an impact. When a country withdraws behind its borders and sets protectionist rules, this provokes a decrease in the circulation of services and persons.
The attempted Trump Ban is a perfect illustration of this trend. Closer to home, a hard Brexit would mean that the UK leaves the single European sky - British airlines would no longer have access to the single market, and would therefore not be able to operate flights between Paris and Rome, for example.
This would bring about many uncertainties and new entry barriers to the air market, from which both the EU and UK would suffer, with consequences on growth, employment and above all, mobility.
4. How can citizens become more engaged in what your committee does and how can you better communicate its work to voters and stakeholders?
Transport is a part of citizens’ everyday life. The decisions we make have a direct impact on them. It is therefore my duty as Chair of this committee to be transparent and communicate on the work that we do in a way that is understandable and devoid of any of the technocratic terms that have kept European citizens so distant from their institutions.
I am also planning on opening up the transport committee to citizens twice a year, in order to create a new dialogue between people and their elected members. During these public meetings, I want frank discussions without taboos, particularly with the younger generation. I look forward to debating with them.
5. Are you concerned by the apparent reduction in recent weeks and months in the legislative output of the Commission due to the Refit exercise and do you expect this to continue? Will this impact on your committee’s workload and, if so, how?
They key issue with the Refit programme is to make sure that “better regulation” does not mean “less regulation”. It would be a shame to give up legislation on, for example, the environment or on women’s rights.
For instance, the air quality package was threatened at the very start of Refit, only for the dieselgate scandal to break and demonstrate that this was a major topic for our citizens.