Slovenia’s EU priorities in transport will be sustainability, resilience

Luxembourg – Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec attended a meeting of EU transport ministers in Luxembourg on Thursday to present the priorities of Slovenia’s upcoming EU presidency in transport. He said the country would promote sustainability and resilience, the Infrastructure Ministry said.

The first priority of Slovenia’s EU presidency will be resilience, recovery that will be based on the digital and green transition, and the strategic autonomy of Europe, Vrtovec stressed.

“In transport, the Slovenian presidency will pursue two main goals – sustainability and resilience. Transport is one of the main sectors that can make the decarbonisation policy a success. On the other hand, transport is one of the sectors that was hit the most by the pandemic, so we must enable its recovery and improve its resilience.”

Slovenia’s two main political priorities in transport will be e-mobility and alternative fuels, he added, noting that a legislative package on infrastructure and digitalisation aimed at boosting resilience of the sector and promote the internal market was expected this year.

The ministers also talked about the decree on the implementation of the Single European Sky (SES) initiative, agreeing on the reform. According to the ministry, the new proposal aims at improving the organisation and management of the air traffic in Europe through modernisation and the setting up of more sustainable and efficient routes.

Discussing land transport, the ministers agreed on a general approach to the revised rule on the use of hired vehicles for transport of goods. The ministers also formed a view on the proposal addressing the loophole allowing member states to continue hiring citizens of third countries in the inland waterways shipping sector.

In the debate on the strategy for sustainable and smart mobility, Vrtovec said the pandemic had affected everyone, including the transport sector and thus the EU economy and the functioning of the internal market.

“We have to secure recovery and at the same time use the crisis as an opportunity to build new, environmentally more acceptable, digital and more resilient transport systems.

“For Slovenia, the key predisposition for the green transition is construction of the necessary infrastructure. We need the infrastructure that will enable transition to low-emission vehicles, infrastructure for multi-modality, infrastructure for connectivity etc.”

The minister believes finishing the TEN-T network remains crucial, including in the Western Balkan and other neighbouring countries. “Urban hubs are also essential part of the pan-European transport network.”

On the sidelines of the ministerial, Vrtovec held talks with his Spanish and Danish counterparts, Jose Louis Abalos Meco and Benny Engelbrecht, respectively. He presented the priorities of Slovenia’s upcoming EU presidency in transport to both of them.