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Minister Žerjav before the EP Committee on Transport and Tourism concerning the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency

Radovan Žerjav

In the area of transport, in addition to endeavouring to implement the renewed Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs and to achieve progress on the Galileo programme, Slovenia's Presidency of the EU Council will devote special attention to improving transport safety, rail transport and conferring a mandate on the European Commission to open negotiations on a transport agreement with Western Balkan countries.

These were the priority tasks in the field of transport presented today in an address to the European Parliament Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) by the Slovenian Minister of Transport and Chairman of the EU Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council, Mr Radovan Žerjav. “We particularly look forward to furthering progress on the Galileo programme, where we wish to continue the successful work done so far by the German and Portuguese Presidencies,” stressed Mr Žerjav in the introduction to his presentation.

The Minister paid special attention to the relationship between the European Union and the countries of the Western Balkans. “We are convinced that the Balkan countries have their future in the European Union,” he said. “Stability in the region is of crucial importance, and the European Union has to show these countries that the European perspective is attainable. We therefore believe that all initiatives aiming at the intensive integration of these countries into the EU should be encouraged and fully supported.”

In the context of transport safety, as one of its Presidency priorities, in the area of land transport the Slovenian Presidency will continue to move forwards with the proposal for a Directive on road infrastructure safety management and will start discussions on the proposal for a Directive on the cross-border enforcement of controls and sanctions. The Minister is convinced that both proposals will make a substantial contribution to improving road safety and achieving the overall goal of significantly reducing the number of fatal accidents on Community roads.

In his presentation, Mr Žerjav went on to discuss the activities to be carried out in the field of rail. He announced that the Slovenian Presidency would endeavour to revitalise European railways and to eliminate barriers to the free movement of European railway vehicles. Slovenia will work on the harmonisation of two rather technical dossiers, namely the amendments to the Railway Safety Directive and amendments to the Regulation establishing a European Railway Agency.

The Slovenian Presidency will continue to work on an integrated maritime policy for the European Union in accordance with the European Council conclusions of December 2007. Mr Žerjav added that, here, Slovenia would focus on the exchange of good practice in the framing of integrated national maritime policies.

In the area of air transport, the objectives pursued during the EU Council Presidency will be further liberalisation of the internal air market, improved transparency, simplified legislation and procedures as well as technological innovations, airports safety and efficiency and, most especially, the simplification and competitiveness of computerised reservation systems.  Mr Žerjav emphasised the significance of external relations in the area of air transport and affirmed that, in the light of recent progress, the Slovenian Presidency will continue endeavours to strengthen cooperation with non-EU countries. He referred, in particular, to the second stage of negotiations between the European Union and the United States of America, which are to start in Slovenia.


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Date: 24.01.2008