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The EESC opinion on the Commission package "Aviation: Open and Connected Europe" welcomes the European Commission's proposals as a step towards implementing the "Aviation Strategy for Europe" from December 2015. This is of key importance in light of multiple challenges faced by the stakeholders of the aviation sector, including the development of markets in multiple directions, growing pressure on people and companies, increasing competition inside and outside the EU, and new disruptive technologies and digitalisation. The package "Aviation: Open and Connected Europe" – with its one legislative and three non-legislative proposals – addresses some of these challenges.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomes the fact that the European Commission has established a Digital Europe programme, which underscores the intention to make Europe a leading player in digitalisation and to increase its economic strength and competitiveness on the world stage. The aim of the Digital Europe programme is to enable a digital single market and to shape the digital transformation in a positive way for all citizens of Europe.
The EESC endorses the European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility (the strategy), including its aims and methods, and its holistic approach, which provides coherence between transport and other policy areas. It would have liked this approach to be further developed in terms of the links between the strategy and the communication on the upgrading of the internal market. This also applies with regard to the prospects of the digital economy and the development of a sharing economy and a circular economy. It underscores the potential effects of these developments on transport patterns, and draws attention to their social implications.
The EESC welcomes the adoption of the Paris Agreement by the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and of the intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) of the EU and its Member States, committing to a reduction in domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of at least 40% by 2030 and by 80 to 95% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.
The objective of reducing transport-related GHG emissions by 60% can therefore still be considered to be relevant and in line with the EU's general objective under COP 21, provided the associated actions and initiatives are implemented urgently, with the necessary determination and as soon as possible.