ECF, in cooperation with 15 other organisations, calls for the establishment of a new European Parliamentary intergroup to address topics on Sustainable and Safe Active Mobility. On Wednesday 13 November we had the first meeting of the potential intergroup, with 6 MEPs attending and several organisations active in Brussels.
Parliamentary intergroups are unofficial working groups formed by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and organised around topics of common interest that may not be well covered by official committees. To date, 55 elected MEPs from across the political spectrum have pledged their support for the formation of an Intergroup on Sustainable and Safe Active Mobility promoted by ECF.
“We are proud to lead this consortium of organisations calling for a strong, structural support in the European Parliament for such an important topic” declared Adam Bodor, Advocacy Director at ECF, opening the session. “A decade ago cycling was not on the menu of European politics, was not considered as a solution for major challenges. The commitment of 55 MEPs from the major political groups gives a clear signal, this is changed. In the upcoming years, we count on the EP to open new funding possibilities for cycling in next MFF (2021-2028) and to create cycling-friendly directives (for example requiring even safer motorized vehicles, better infrastructure and cycling-friendly fiscal / financial conditions)”.
These are exciting times for sustainable mobility, both in the European Parliament and in the Commission – said Ciarán Cuffe, elected MEP in May with the Greens – With a Green New Deal coming up early 2020, we need to make sure active mobility is taken into account as a pillar to make European cities liveable.
Vera Tax, MEP for S&D also at her first mandate, showed her enthusiasm towards this initiative as well: “As a Dutch woman raised on the border between The Netherlands and Germany, I strongly support active mobility as a great tool for everyday transportation. I am happy to be here today and to support this intergroup”.
Gina Dowding, MEP for the Greens, opened her speech with a bold statement: “I believe the bicycle is probably the greatest invention of the human race. I have a background in public health and that’s why I am interested in this intergroup: I am convinced that active mobility has a great role to play in people’s wellbeing”.
ECF has been supporting and advising elected MEPs for over a decade on how to accelerate the shift towards more sustainable and active transport modes through action at the EU level, such as legislation, funding and capacity-building. The EU Cycling Strategy that was put in the hands of the Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc in 2017 included detailed actions to be taken at every level of governance. It is now the moment to build on those recommendations and turn them into reality.
It is expected that the intergroup will focus on work areas that include the EU’s future transport strategy, the next Urban Mobility Strategy, more EU investment in better infrastructure, safer motorized vehicles for pedestrians and cyclists, multimodal solutions, etc. The work of as much as 10 Parliamentary committees could be addressed through the forming of an intergroup in this area.
“The Commission is working on several topics that might use the Parliament’s input: fear is preventing people from cycling and walking, road safety isn’t improving in Europe, and we need a new Urban Mobility Strategy” said Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director of DG MOVE. “This intergroup could have a great role in pushing the Commission to promote sustainable and safe active mobility”.
The final decision on which intergroups are given the green light will be taken in the coming weeks by the Conference of the Presidents of the European Parliament. There is still time, within parliamentary groups, to discuss and negotiate which intergroups they will support.
MEPs interested in having an active role in the Intergroup for Sustainable and Safe Active Mobility can still contact the European Cyclists’ Federation by signing a ‘Declaration of Support’ by 12 December.
Learn more about the Intergroup here.
– Updated Wednesday 13 November