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EC Transport White Paper debate threatens passenger choice

The European Commission`s White Paper on Transport is being recently discussed in Brussels in an all-day debate between the Commission and stakeholders…

The European Commission`s White Paper on Transport is being recently discussed in Brussels in an all-day debate between the Commission and stakeholders. The initial response from the ERA delegates attending this meeting is that whilst they welcome the opportunity to express their views in open debate, they have a number of fairly serious concerns. In their view the paper appears to be setting out to stifle fair competition between the different transport modes, and in a reversal of their previous policy to be attempting to restrict citizens` freedom of choice.



There is a high risk that people living in Europe`s regions could find that their future travel options will not meet their needs if proposals in the European Commission`s White Paper on Transport are adopted. The presentation made by Commissioner Palacio at the Commission`s Transport Policy Conference today reinforced my concerns for our 80 member airlines and the communities they serve. stated Mike A Ambrose, Director General, ERA<.>. The White Paper provides a welcome opportunity to examine and debate the Commission`s ideas and assumptions on competition, environmental factors and market needs. It rightly seeks to review issues that affect all of Europe`s citizens in striving for sustainable development.



For example, the Commission`s wish to promote intermodality is quite reasonable, but its proposed policy fails to address subsidies that affect competition between modes. In particular, regional air services already face strong competition from rail services for which fare levels benefit from massive and continuous state subsidies. The Commission`s proposed policy will increase the level of this market distortion, continued Ambrose.



The White Paper also seems to be a reversal of many of the principles and policies that the Commission has advocated over the past decade. Previously, the Commission has consistently championed the freedom of consumer choice and deliberately encouraged low airfares and the development of regional air services. Europe`s citizens are now faced with Commission policy proposals that will deliberately restrict growth for air services.



Public demand has fuelled our growth since the 1992 liberalisation of air transport yet there seems little evidence that the White Paper places much weight on public preferences, especially the travel needs and desires of citizens living in Europe`s regions, concluded Ambrose.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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