The Assembly of European Regions organised a workshop on “The Regions and sustainable transport” on 19th April in Florence, Toscana-I, in the aim of demonstrating the role which the Regions must play in future European transport policy.
Several examples of good regional practices in the field of sustainable transport, and their concrete impact and added value in comparison to European and national initiatives in particular, were looked at by over fifty participants at this workshop. In this context, participating Regions talked of their experience in the implementation of European and national policies and of European programmes (INTERREG IIIB, PHARE, ISPA…), gave their point of view on the advantages and drawbacks of these programmes and current legislation and laid out the content and objectives of the regional policies used towards sustainable development in transport by the Regions.
The President of the “Regional policy, Transport and Tourism” Committee of the European Parliament, Luciano Caveri, spoke on the theme “What future for Common Transport Policy? The European Parliament’s contribution of the definition of new Governance”. “Subsidiarity only currently exists at state level, and it is up to the Convention to give the Regions a real role” he declared. “There will be no sustainable development in any field as long as both local and regional levels of government are not the main actors. The reform of Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) and the incorporation of new routes on these networks requires the involvement of the Regions” he concluded.
Riccardo Conti, coordinator for AER sub-Committee “Sustainable Transport Development and the Environment”, and Assessore for the Region of Toscana, host of the event, stressed that “Common Transport Policy is but an instrument for harmonisation, and the Regions must develop their own transport policies”. He added that “the transport network must allow for sustainable economic development and not simply turn the Regions into transit zones”.
This AER workshop is the first real step towards a long-term strategy aiming to: – bring the attention of national and European authorities to the efficient role of the Regions in the field of transport, – request that the Regions wield the necessary legal and financial means for the implementation of their policies in this field, – encourage the exchange of good practices and experience as well as cooperation between Regions in the EU and Regions in accession countries.
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