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Mobility - 17.01.2006
CEMR's response to the review of the White paper on transport: "Mobility must be at the core of policies at all levels"
Sustainable mobility policies should be placed at the core of the EU, national, regional and local actions. This is the main point of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions's (CEMR) response to the European Commission's public consultation on the transport White paper.
First and foremost, as the representative of Europe's local and regional governments, CEMR welcomes the review of the White paper on transport; many cities are faced with serious road congestion problems. These problems have wide consequences such as increasing pollution, damaging public health and contributing to climate change.
However, CEMR believes that local and regional authorities should have the freedom to choose how to manage their public transport. Therefore the principle of subsidiarity should be taken into account when drafting new regulation on transport.
Another important aspect is that economic growth in Europe is accompanied by a strong increase of transport by road. CEMR therefore calls on the European Commission to renew its efforts to better balance the transport of passengers and goods in the EU over road, rail and alternative, sustainable modes of transport. In addition, in light of the growing pollution and mobility problems, CEMR strongly shares the Commission's view to provide alternatives to the use of cars and lorries.
Currently, society as a whole and not individual car users pay the social and environmental costs of large-scale use of cars. CEMR believes that individual car users should contribute to these costs through environmental taxes, taxes on energy, taxes on CO2, urban congestion charges, etc. It can also encourage citizens to increasingly use public transport. However the different traffic and transport conditions in the different member states and regions must be taken into account when considering such levies.
Finally, CEMR welcomes the numerous EU programmes and projects that investigate innovative transport policies. Nevertheless, it regrets that the European Commission does not offer financing to cities and regions (or at least to some of them) for the development of strong alternatives to car use.