13.11.2012-Transport Choice Or Industry Protection
The car industry has bypassed transport policy to maintain its subsidies by acting as a business, not a transport choice.
November 13, 2012-Brussels, Belgium. -Despite rhetoric, the European Commission is allowing the car industry to be favoured over more sustainable modes of transport. The European Commission has repeatedly called for more active forms of transport. The EU White Paper on Transport demands a “transition from a primarily car based personal mobility in cities to a mobility based on walking and cycling” and no more conventionally-fuelled cars in cities by 2050.
The automotive industry however is still receiving the lion’s share of European (EU) funding. In a “Cars 2020” strategy, unveiled last week by the European Commission, the industry will have access to a share of €80 billion in funding and a further €2.5 billion Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs programme.
“Different modes of transport need adequate funding but what happened to strategic thinking and transport equality?” demands Bernhard Ensink, Secretary General of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF).
In addition to industry subsidies in the form of research, road infrastructure receives 47% of the EU’s transport infrastructure funds, which can be used to leverage national investment. Only 0.7% of EU funding has been allocated to cycling infrastructure between 2007 and 2013.
“7% of Europeans choose the bicycle as their main mode of transport so where is their share of the budget?” Ensink adds.
ECF has been repeatedly pushing for the EU to invest more in cycling, demanding 10% of transport subsidies be earmarked for cycling so that 15% of all trips are done by bicycle by 2020. Yet top officials continue to be influenced by more powerful lobby groups. ECF met last week with Siim Kallas, the EU Commissioner for Transport, calling for the EU to give priority to cycling in its transport policies and funding.
Even with substantial EU Subsidies, the car industry so far has been unable to increase the sales of more ‘sustainable’ electric vehicles. In 2011, only 11,500 were sold in Western Europe, despite billions spent on subsidies and infrastructure. The equivalent figure for electric bicycles was more than 700,000.
Ensink says: “The EU budget plans for 2014-2020 are currently being drafted. We’re here to help the Commission achieve its official goals stated in the White Paper, but this needs investment. We have to act not just as a lobby group but as an industry that can make a 600 billion annual contribution to the European economy.”
Notes to the Editor
- For a copy of ECF’s response to the White Paper on Transport See: http://www.ecf.com/wp-content/uploads/ECF-Paper-on-White-Transport-in-Layout-JF.pdf
- For figures on sales of bicycles and e-bicycles see: http://www.colibi.com/docs/issuu/European%20Bicycle%20Market%20&%20Industry%20Profile%20-%20Edition%202012.pdf
- For Information on the EU’s Car 2020 strategy see: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/automotive/files/com-2012-636_en.pdf
- For the EU’s White Paper on Transport, visit: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/strategies/2011_white_paper_en.htm
Royalty free images are available at : http://www.flickr.com/photos/eucyclistsfed/sets/72157631996589031/
Economic Benefits Of Cycling
ECF has calculated the economic benefits of cycling to be worth more than €600 billion to the European Economy using figures regarding health benefits, cycling tourism, cycling industry, fuel savings, reduced air pollution and CO2 emissions.
About the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF)
With over 70 members across nearly 40 countries, the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) unites cyclist’ associations from across the globe, giving them a voice on the international level. Our aim is to get more people cycling more often by influencing policy in favour of cycling. ECF is a partner in the Cycle Logistics project.