The Major Metropolises Group members (MMG) came together in Geneva, on the occasion of the 60th UITP World Congress on May 28, for a work session, in the presence of Alain Flausch, secretary general of UITP.
The members of the MMG are calling on national governments and the European Institutions for increased support for the urban public transport sector, which can play a key role against the ongoing European economic crisis.
The Major Metropolises Group members were represented in Geneva by:
- Barcelona (TMB) : Albert Busquets Blay — advisor of the executive vice president in business development and international affairs
- Berlin (BVG) : Lothar Zweiniger — executive board member and responsible for human resources
- Brussels (STIB) : Brieuc de Meeüs — CEO
- Budapest (BKK) : David Vitézy — CEO
- Lisbon (CARRIS) : José Manuel Silva Rodrigues — presidente
- London (TFL) : Sir Peter Hendy CBE — commissioner
- Milan (ATM) : Bruno Rota — chairman and managing director
- Paris (RATP) : Pierre Mongin — chairman and CEO
- Rome (ATAC) : Roberto Diacetti — CEO
- Vienna (Wiener Linien) : Alexandra Reinagl — managing director, finance.
The members of the MMG stress that urban transport must be considered a strategic element of national and European transport policies, requiring financial support in line with its economic, environmental and social stakes. Why?
- Because urban transport priorities correspond precisely with the Europe 2020 strategy: sustainable growth; the creation of stable jobs; the development of infrastructure; technological innovation; social cohesion.
- Because national governments and the European Union must concentrate their efforts on cities, where 75 percent of Europeans already live with 85 percent set to do so in 2050.
- Because the need for mobility on the part of tens of millions of passengers is growing in our European cities.
- Because the use of public transport is crucial in avoiding a dramatic progression of congestion and pollution, costing around 1 percent of European GDP, due to the use of individual cars.
- Because public transport infrastructure is a very powerful lever for sustainable growth and the creation of stable jobs.
- Because urban transport (through infrastructure, rolling stock, engineering, the operation and maintenance of the networks…) is a key element of an industrial policy focused on areas of European excellence and capable of imposing itself on a growing world market.
Consequently, the time is right, notably at the moment when negotiations are beginning between the European Council and the European Parliament on the 2014-2020 European budget, to truly stress the importance of urban public transport in the re-launching of growth and the creation of jobs.
It is a key moment for urban public transport stakeholders to highlight their concerns and their ideas. As in the context of the current crisis, there is a change in the attitudes of the European member states and the European institutions: it is now clearly affirmed that the necessary budgetary rigour is not contradictory with targeted actions for boosting growth, through investments for the future. Urban transport must be one of the pillars of the European pact for growth decided by the European Union in June 2012.
The members of the MMG address the following messages to national governments and the European Institutions:
- It is essential, in the very difficult current economic context faced by urban public transport, to preserve the stability of the regulatory framework. The MMG members underline the urgent need for legal certainty for public companies in a context where competition, both inside and outside of Europe, is pushing increasing standards of excellence. This is why the MMG members defend the PSO regulation, which is the well-balanced result of seven years of negotiations and came into effect just three years ago. In the context of the proposed revision of this regulation, it is imperative that legal uncertainty be avoided, which would be the result of an upheaval of the major principles and the equilibrium of the PSO regulation.
- It is essential to maintain the pressure to preserve the FEDER financing for urban transport in all European regions.
- It is essential to strengthen the idea of financing ‘urban nodes’ in the Connecting Europe Facility dedicated to the core European corridors of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T).
- It is essential to ensure that the budget dedicated to urban transport in the Horizon 2020 research and development program is kept at a good level.
- It is essential, in the framework of the reflections recently launched by the European Commission on long-term financing, to define, along with the support of the European Investment Bank, a major partner in our field, a strategy for the innovative financing of urban transport, combining both public and private players. The MMG members notably support the idea of the “EU Project Bonds” launched by the European Commission and underline the importance of reinforcing this initiative in the forthcoming 2014-2020 European Budget, with a strong consideration of urban transport infrastructure projects.
- It is essential, in order for the European budgetary priorities to finally meet the European strategic policies, that the future multi-annual financial framework of the European Union is connected to the reality of life in our big cities. An increasing part of financing to the transport networks in urban areas is needed, where a majority of Europeans already live and which are at the core of the sustainable development, innovation and social cohesions target for the 21st century.