Europe’s 2029 ambition? Rethinking tomorrow's mobility to reinvent a fairer social contract

Faced with ever-widening social divisions across the continent, accessibility must become a top priority in the EU’s transport policies, writes MEP Karima Delli

By Karima Delli

Karima Delli (FR, Greens/EFA) is chair of Parliament’s Transport and Tourism committee

04 Apr 2024

On 9 June, the fate of Europe will be decided at the ballot boxes. The European elections will decide the future of our continent and, for me, will mark the end of fifteen years in the European Parliament, including seven as chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN).

Europe does not exist without mobility

Europe was born out of the shared conviction that the challenges of our time can only be met by transcending borders, through co-operation and exchange. This vision, rooted in the heart of Europe, is also mine.

Today, perhaps more than ever, mobility intersects with a key concern for Europeans: purchasing power, or the power to live. Against the anachronistic model of the private car advocated by the rising nationalists, I have devoted my presidency to promoting the accessibility of sustainable mobilities. From the bicycle to the electric car, via night trains, my mission has been to give a vision to the industry and develop a fairer model of mobility.

European transport policy is not just about setting targets

The legislative term coming to an end will have achieved the historic feat of launching the Green Deal. While the transport sector is the only one that has not reduced its CO2 emissions in Europe since 1990, the Commission has set decarbonisation targets for all means of transport.

The ecological transition is an opportunity for European industry, not a constraint: we have set a course and now we must support it. Ending sales of internal combustion engines for cars by 2035 must not lead to the European market being invaded by Chinese electric cars. In the years to come, Europe must reaffirm the principle of protectionism in the service of the ecological transition: from bicycles to electric cars, ‘Made in Europe’ must once again become the norm. This is the path we must take by 2029 if we are to achieve our climate targets.

Sustainable transport begins when the greatest number of people benefit

Reinventing mobility to resolve the territorial divide

Access to mobility is too often forgotten in social policies: the social divide is, first and foremost, a territorial divide. Transport is the non-negotiable part of people's daily lives, enabling them to work and to live. It's not just a question of extra kilometres and extra travel time – people deprived of mobility are excluded from the social model.

The gilets jaunes in France are the expression of this feeling of abandonment and downgrading. Relegated to the outskirts, the protestors are condemned to forced mobility and to paying ever more for fuel, which has become a basic necessity.

Accessibility must be the top priority of our transport policies. In the face of the ever-widening territorial divide, sustainable transport begins when the greatest number of people benefit.

Read the most recent articles written by Karima Delli - EU Mobility Week: A change of paradigm