Transport and Communications

Photo: Sonofgroucho/flickr/cc.Photo: Sonofgroucho/flickr/cc

Last updated: 08.06.2009 // Transport and communications are vital for uniting markets and people. Norway has, through the EEA Agreement, accepted the same legal obligations as the EU Member States and is a full participant in the internal market in the fields of transport and communications.

Overview

Transport

Communications

 

Overview
Transport and communications are vital for uniting markets and people. It is difficult to conceive of vigorous economic growth capable of creating jobs and wealth without an efficient transport system that allows full advantage to be taken of the internal market and globalised trade. At the beginning of the 21st century we are entering the era of the information society, where advanced telecommunications and information technologies help people and businesses to communicate in a more efficient and sustainable way, thus producing added value.

Hence transport and communications are essential to the European Economic Area. Therefore, Norway has, through the EEA Agreement, accepted the same legal obligations as the EU Member States, and has also supported other relevant initiatives taken by the European Union in the transport and communications sectors. Thus, under the Agreement Norway is also a full participant in the internal market in the fields of transport and communications.

The enlargement of the European Union by twelve new member states since 2004 has also implied a considerable geographical extension of the European Economic Area. Integrating the transport systems of these countries into the internal transport market will be a huge challenge and will require legislation designed to ensure economic efficiency, social responsibility and sustainable development.

Transport
Transport is the single most significant factor uniting markets and people across borders and can act as a motor of economic change. Transport has thus been a major focus of Community attention.



The European Common Transport Policy has in recent years been seeking to ensure free market access in all transport sectors and to promote safety and sustainable mobility, and has established transport networks (TENs), giving access to distant markets and international trade. 

With the financial crisis having created an extraordinarily challenging situation for transport companies across the EU, it is to be expected that this may influence the shaping of transport policy, at least on the short term. The White Paper on European Transport Policy 2010 – “Time to decide”, published in 2001 – has laid out the main challenges and strategies for EU transport in the decade now approaching an end. On 17th June 2009, The European Commission presented a Communication with preliminary conclusions for the work with a new White Book from 2010. In short, the main conclusions of the Communication are:

  • European transport policy has helped to provide an efficient mobility system to EU people and businesses. It now has the task of ensuring that this mobility can be sustained in the future.
  • Environmental sustainability, ageing, migration, fossil fuel scarcity, urbanisation, and globalisation are key tendencies in our society and will pose challenges to our system of mobility.
  • Accelerating the introduction of innovative technologies and the full integration of the different transport modes is crucial to meeting those challenges. This in a context in which transport users and employees, with their needs and rights, are always kept at the centre of policy making.
  • It is important to advance the external projection of European Transport Policy, as a way to ensure further integration with the neighbouring countries and the promotion of Europe’s economic and environmental interests in the global context.

Norway is represented in the expert groups and comittees of the Commission, e.g. in the Marco Polo programme which has as its goal to support modal change projects, i.e. the shift of transport flows to more sustainable transport modes like rail and sea transport. Moreover, Norway participates in the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), the European Railway Agency (ERA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

For more info, see:
The European Commission’s website on transport
The European Parliament Transport Committee’s website
The Council’s website with press releases from council meetings on transport, energy and communications
The Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications, info in English

Communications
Information technology and broadcasting has an ever increasing impact on our daily life. Security of information is among the highest priorities for the EU within Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), and the fight against spam and computer criminality is of high importance. The introduction and widespread use of new ICT also make important parts of the EU’s Lisbon Strategy.

Other important priorities are the competition rules for electronic communication and the reduction of costs for EU citizens using their mobile communication equipment abroad. The Commission has successively introduced regulations for roaming of voice calls, then for SMS and data transfer.

Likewise a priority has been the opening of the postal market, with the aim of securing a high quality univeral postal service within the EU. The third postal directive from 2008 (2008/06/EC) has provided for the postal market to be fully opened from 2011, with exceptions for for 11 countries which have asked for delayed introduction.

Norway is represented in the expert groups and comittees of the Commission, and is also a member of the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA).

For more info, see:
The European Commission’s website for the Information Society and Media
The European Commission’s website for the Inner Market
The Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications, info in English

The telecommunications markets in most of the Member States have been fully liberalised since 1 January 1998. The major challenge for European policy seems to be to ensure the effective implementation of the regulatory framework for electronic communications and to strengthen competition in electronic communications markets. On 12 July 2000 the Commission presented proposals for an overhaul of the rules for electronic communications. For more information on the regulatory package, see the website of the

European Commission on the Information Society.

New regulatory package: The new regulatory package consists of the framework directive and four specific directives: authorisation, access and interconnection, universal service and user rights, and data protection in telecommunications services (in addition there is a regulation on unbundling access to local loop, a liberalisation directive and a decision on Community radio spectrum policy). This new package will considerably simplify and clarify the existing regulatory framework. The Council and the European Parliament agreed on 12 December 2001 on the framework directive and three of the specific directives. The Council finally adopted this package on 14 February 2002. The data protection directive was formally adopted 25 June 2002 and the total package was implemented in the Member States in June 2003.

The postal sector in the European Union is undergoing changes beyond the current adopted framework. Information on the impact of liberalisation measures on the sector is available on updated information.

 

Opening to competition: On 10 June 2002 the European Parliament and the Council amended Directive 97/67/EC with regard to the further opening to competition of the Community postal services. The directive provides a timetable for a gradual and controlled opening of the letters market to competition. Member States may continue to reserve universal postal services to universal service provider(s) within the limits of 100 g/3xtariff from 2003 and 50 g/2.5xtariff from 2006. The final, decisive opening up of the market is intended to take place in 2009.

For further questions, please contact
Transport Counsellor at the Mission of Norway to EU Olav Grimsbo, olgr@mfa.no ph.: +32 (0) 2 238 74 44
Councellor for Counsellor for Post and Telecommunications, Willy Jensen, wije@mfa.no, + 32 (0)2 238 7463 

 

 


Source: Olav Grimsbo     |   Bookmark and Share