Brussels, 14 November 2019
On 14 November, Ms Adina-Ioana Vălean, the new Commissioner-designate for Transport from Romania, convinced the Members of the EP’s Transport Committee of her suitability for the role.
During her hearing, she outlined her strategy for the upcoming 5-year term in office and struck a pragmatic approach, indicating that she will not be afraid to champion the transport industry. Ms Vălean stated that transport is a priority because it enables the free movement in the EU, both for people and for goods. It should therefore not be overly constrained.
Declaring that the European Green Deal is a key priority, the Commissioner-designate indicated that transport must be at its core. While additional efforts are needed to reach carbon neutrality targets, this has to be economically feasible, she added.
Ms Vălean then described her commitment to work on the reduction of the environmental footprint of transportation activities. She said she would work on improving road safety and would push for the completion of the Single European Sky to reduce airspace congestion and emissions. She would make efforts to boost the uptake of clean vehicles and the deployment of publicly available refuelling and recharging points. Whereas the EU has a solid passenger rights framework, this also needs to be taken further, she said.
On infrastructure investment, she will defend the Connecting Europe Facility budget for the next Multiannual Financial Framework as the transport sector needs as much money as possible to deliver sustainable and smart transport. She finalised her speech by saying that digitalisation and automation entail positive changes for the sector, but this cannot come at a human cost and therefore a greater focus is needed on training and retraining on skills the future jobs will require.
Some MEPs wanted to know how the Commission will support SMEs in the context of the Green Deal, to which Ms Vălean replied that supporting business is essential for the EU economy and that there is a need for a level playing field for companies and those accessing the European market.
Eventually, the EP’s Transport Committee recommended that Ms Vălean’s appointment should proceed. On 27th of November, the European Parliament’s Plenary has approved the new College of Commissioners which will start its work on December 1st, 2019.
Source: Dods and FEPORT