The EESC strongly welcomes the European Commission's initiatives to decarbonise the transport sector, particularly its determination that the provision of alternative fuels infrastructure should be accelerated so that there are zero greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions by 2050.
The EESC strongly recommends that implementation of the Action Plan on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure be prioritised by the EU and by all stakeholders. However, the EESC is concerned that the national policy frameworks agreed by each Member State as instruments to achieve decarbonisation are currently falling significantly short of their stated aims and objectives. Therefore the EESC recommends that the national policy frameworks be reviewed as a matter of urgency by the Commission with a view to ensuring that they will meet the stated targets.
At the same time, the EESC recommends that any obstacles, including loss of tax revenue from fossil fuels, should be identified and eliminated by each of the Member States. Moreover, the EESC is extremely concerned about the low level of consumer involvement and interaction with relevant stakeholders. It therefore strongly recommends that consumers have a much more prominent role in all aspects of rolling out alternative fuels.
The EESC notes the significant financial commitment made by the EU for the provision of alternative fuels infrastructure. However, it is concerned that the estimates of the financing required are too low and that the leveraging of funding from the private sector is falling behind.
While the EESC welcomes the prioritisation of measures in urban areas, there is a need to devise programmes that are also suitable for rural transport. Therefore, the EESC recommends that such programmes could include the establishment of infrastructure based on the use of biofuels, mainly originating from agricultural waste, as well as waste from other sources, and use of technology that supports biodigesters.