Europe: SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance MEP Elena Kountoura, an invited speaker at the opening of the Mediterranean Mobility Forum in Athens, mentioned the priorities for sustainable urban mobility. This is the final conference of the Urban Transport Community – Interreg Med project, by the Greece-Cyprus network CIVINET Greece-Cyprus and with the participation of the MedCities network of Mediterranean cities and other European bodies.
Transport is responsible for around 27% of greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union, pointed out Elena Kountoura, and to achieve the ambitious climate targets under the Green Deal, carbon emissions in the transport sector must be drastically reduced by 90 % by 2050.
“This is a process of historic proportions, not at all easy for the whole of Europe and, of course, for the Mediterranean region, and especially for our cities and tourist destinations. But it is necessary to ensure the green transition because it will improve health and quality of life”, she emphasized.
The MEP referred to the key role of sustainable alternative fuels, especially electric mobility. The European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution on the upcoming Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Development Regulation (AFIR), which is portion of the Fit for 55 legislative packages, last week.
She pointed out, “It is the most robust and coherent legal framework to date, setting legally binding minimum requirements for Member States to develop the necessary alternative fuel infrastructure and aiming to create a fully interconnected and interoperable network across Europe. What we urgently requested, among other things, is the sufficiency of electric vehicle charging stations on the road networks, at least every 60 km, but also within the urban fabric, in busy places for citizens, as well as for professional groups that carry out transport work, such as a taxi. The investment in these infrastructures is necessary for our smooth transition to electrification in our everyday life and for the transportation system to withstand the major structural changes that will occur.”
In addition, the MEP referred to mobility, which will change dramatically in the coming years, combined with the critical issue of road safety as “the loss of life, every day on European roads, is a permanent genocide”.
She presented the main positions of the report that she prepared as the European Parliament’s rapporteur for the EU policy framework in road safety until 2030, and they have been adopted as a resolution. A key proposal of the resolution is to reduce the speed to 30 km/h horizontally in cities, primarily because low speed saves lives, and helps protect vulnerable network users who are most exposed, such as pedestrians and cyclists, but and because it contributes to reducing the impact of pollutants in the atmosphere.
Finally, Elena Kountoura referred to the revision of the regulation for trans-European networks, which will largely include urban mobility. She will intervene to adopt strong safeguards to improve safety and sustainability in cities.