Why can't we plan or book a journey through Europe using the most sustainable way to travel in one single go - and online? writes Lib Dem transport spokesman Phil Bennion MEP.
This question stimulated the smart mobility challenge recently organised by the European Commission; a challenge to industry and stakeholders to make multimodal travel a reality by developing or submitting ideas for Europe-wide door-to-door journey planners.
This month is particularly good timing for a rolling stock special edition At the end of January the European Commission finally published the long-awaited ‘Fourth Railway Package’ to create a Single European Railway Area – a single framework for railway operators across EU countries.
A key element is a proposal to harmonise the byzantine process of type approvals and certification of traction and rolling stock.
The European Parliament has given the green light to new regulations for allocating flight slots and permitted noise levels at EU airports to maximise capacity, cut delays while protecting people living in flight corridors.
Phil Bennion MEP with Nick Clegg meeting bosses at Birmingham Airport.
Farmer and West Midlands Euro MP Phil Bennion has welcomed a vote at the European Parliament to protect the use of All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) on farms and in forests.
During a plenary session in Strasbourg, MEPs voted for updated safety rules to distinguish between agricultural or forestry ATVs and recreational quad-bikes and other vehicles which might be driven on public roads.
"The future of the Connecting Europe Facility is reaching a critical phase as, in the next few weeks, Member States are expected to decide the EU’s budget for 2014-2020.
To support European growth and competitiveness, I signed, along with a number of business leaders a declaration calling on senior EU policymakers to support and approve the Connecting Europe Facility.
As a Member of the Employment Committee, I'm able to contribute to the Liberal Group position on a variety of issues. I'm particularly involved in work to supporting Small Businesses (for more information please see my "Boosting SMEs" page) but am also involved with issues like "eco-innovation". I'm also keen to ensure a good deal for our farmers, and have worked closely with Liberal colleagues from the Employment Committee and the Agriculture Committee to ensure that new proposals for the EU Globalisation Adjustment Fund, don't end up hurting farmers by shifting money from the Common Agricultural Policy.
I've been using my influence to try and steer the debates in the Committee in a more sensible direction, highlighting the practical problems with some of the fluffy policy ideas being floated. I consult with stakeholders from Business, NGOs, the European Commission, and crucially from the UK civil service based in Brussels (UKREP) to make sure that I have a well rounded view when making important decisions.
On top of being a "transport enthusiast", I am convinced that an effective, ambitious and innovative European transport policy is essential not only for growth and jobs, but also for European, and notably UK, citizens. Establishing the right European Transport policy is key to encouraging and promoting mobility, labour mobility, cultural and educational mobility but also tourism mobility. We also need to do much more to better connect Europe with efficient and sustainable transport links, to improve road safety, to develop our European Union external aviation policy to remain a hub in the world, and to support SMEs. Those are my top priorities as the Liberal Democrats transport Spokesperson in the European Parliament
As a substitute Member of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council (DPLC) I follow the situation on the ground in the Palestinian Territories, Israel, and the surrounding countries which are affected by the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict.
Though the Palestinian Legislative Council itself does not currently function, the Delegation continues to monitor the situation of Palestinians on the ground and the ongoing political developments.
The most pressing issue that is raised with us is the situation of refugees, many of whom are now the descendents (second and third generation) of refugees displaced following the 6 day war, and who have lived outside of what was once Palestine for all of their lives.
As such these "stateless persons" enjoy no citizenship of any state, and are primarily supported by aid through the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) and to a lesser extent the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Our work due to its basis on the Palestinian political situation is by nature focussed on the situation of Palestinians, rather than Israelis, though this is counterbalanced by the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Israel.
Despite this Palestinian focus, I and my colleagues try to remain objective and neutral - looking at the political failings, whatever their root causes which result in the humanitarian problems which blight ordinary people in the region.
We as a delegation continue to call for a peaceful, political resolution of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, based on a two state solution, a safe and secure state of Israel, and a viable, economically and politically independent Palestinian State.
For more information please see the following links:
European Parliament Delegation for relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council
United Nations Relief Works Agency
United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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