Transport has become a basic life necessity for the European Union and beyond, making it a fundamental factor of European integration. Being comprised of over 700 million citizens, the European Union’s transport networking system consists of various modes of transport including trams, cars, trains, and airplanes, making them to most readily available and utilised modes of transport. Furthermore, the transportation is a vital factor within the employment sector as it employs approximately 11 million people.
Moreover, bicycles and scooters have become popular means of transport for short distance trips which also contribute to the reduction of air pollution with the EU currently examining more sustainable methods of transportation. As stated within the European Union transport policy, the EU is aiming to establish safer and time- efficient modes of transport which also encourage new digital solutions as well as sustainability resulting in the support for the growth of the European economy. Thus, these will contribute to the reduction of major challenges including congestion and air-quality.
Additionally, to combat such challenges, the EU has implemented various milestones for every Member State to follow. These include the 2035 target which states that every citizen within the European Union should own an emission- free vehicle. This is in relation to the EU’s target to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
The recent pan European geopolitical issues and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine have resulted in additional pressure on the authorities of each Member State to generate electrical energy from renewable sources that will complement the utilisation of emission- free transport, such as Electrical Vehicles (EV).
The reduction of emission- free vehicles would contribute to the use of hydrogen buses and trucks. To reduce CO2 emissions, hydrogen should be produced from renewable energy sources such as Green Hydrogen. If such a principle is not followed, the removal of pollution from the streets will be transferred to carbon polluting power stations.
In regard to tourism, Europe is known for having a flourishing tourism industry with approximately 10% of the EU’s GDP accounted for by travel, accommodations, food, leisure, and culture sectors. At least one private leisure trip is taken by 267 million Europeans annually, with 78% choosing to spend their vacations in their own or another EU Member State. Moreover, tourism relies heavily on freedom of movement and cross-border travel while giving importance to the non-discrimination principle. The EU is also making progress toward its primary goals, which include safely restarting tourism services, ensuring cross-border interoperability of tracking apps, improving consumer appeal of vouchers, and maintaining liquidity for tourism enterprises, particularly SMEs. The EU even went so far as to use the SURE program’s financial assistance to save jobs worth up to €100 billion.
It is necessary to note that technology within the EU is advancing at a rapid pace and the low-emissions transport can be achieved by breaking the current struggles by applying newer technologies such as Air Ships, which are currently in the prototype stage.
Writers: Raghad Marghni and Lucienne Gafa
Editor: Nicole Sciberras Bray