Transport, tourism & the regions

Transport, tourism & the regions

One of the key objectives of the European Union is to promote economic, social and territorial cohesion, and solidarity between its various regions. We can achieve this objective through European cohesion policy, which is a unique EU tool for investment across the regions and currently represents about one third of the EU budget. We fully support the objective of bringing Europe’s regions together and want the EU’s cohesion policy to help foster sustainable economic development in all regions, generating quality jobs.

The S&Ds are committed to ensuring we have efficient, safe, sustainable and competitive transport in Europe, protecting jobs and passengers' rights, and guaranteeing free movement of people and goods. These goals can only be achieved when EU social legislation is enforced to avoid disparities in social conditions between member states.

We promote policies in the EU that prove to the world that social developments and climate protection can go together. Tourism is a crucial engine for economic growth and job creation in many European countries, and helps millions of people escape poverty in the EU. In the right hands, the tourism industry can play an important role in protecting natural habitats in Europe.

European cohesion policy has been crucial for reducing development gaps between the different European regions and boosting the economy through investment at a local, regional and national level, in particular where national investment is limited.

Our goal is a cohesion policy that fully involves people in the regions, supports smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and reduces existing social and economic disparities, as well as engaging citizens.

Our priorities:

•    investing in citizens and for citizens
The S&Ds favour an approach that supports citizens in tackling their current needs and challenges. To achieve this, we need to ensure we have an appropriate budget for cohesion policy and that it strikes a good balance between investment in citizens and for citizens. We believe that Europe should:
•    invest in high-quality education, training and vocational training
•    improve the labour market, create quality jobs and tackle youth unemployment
•    promote social inclusion, combat poverty and all forms of discrimination.

•    smart, sustainable and inclusive growth
The S&D Group is committed to reducing existing social and economic disparities between people, regions and EU countries. We want a cohesion policy that is visible and sustainable in the short, medium and long term – one that addresses key challenges in our societies and economies and strives for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. We need to:
•    promote research, technological development and innovation
•    invest in small businesses and start-ups
•    invest in telecommunication infrastructure, smart energy provision and the digitisation of industries and societies.

•    supporting citizens in urban and rural areas 
The EU must not only aim to reduce development gaps and socio-economic and territorial inequalities, but also to reduce red tape that restricts regions and citizens. We can support the development of smart cities and rural areas while fully engaging citizens in the development of future strategies for their regions, responding to common challenges such as globalisation, climate change and migration.

By 2050, the EU must cut transport emissions by 60% (compared with 1990 levels) if we are to limit global warming to an increase of just 2ºC. To meet Europe's climate-change targets, our key strategic aim is to cut carbon emissions from transport to zero in the coming years.

Europe has the tools to achieve these goals:

•    adequate funding for transport infrastructure to equip Europe with a modern transport system
•    research and development focused on intelligent transport systems and on increasing energy efficiency and improving social and environmental impacts
•    regulating to bring in higher standards
•    making the polluter pay, so that each form of transport bears the full cost of its impact on society and the environment. We call for robust techniques to put a price on these external costs, so that environmentally damaging forms of transport become more expensive, while sustainable transport becomes cheaper.
•    market surveillance to ensure standards are enforced.  In response to the Dieselgate emissions scandal, the S&D Group has been pushing to tighten up the supervision of standards for new cars to prevent emissions cheating in the future. We are campaigning for consumer compensation and a European vehicle surveillance agency to ensure that new cars have to pass the same tough controls no matter where they are built in Europe.

Delays, cancellations, lost baggage... Many EU citizens have experienced these problems when travelling. Our MEPs successfully fought for enhanced rights for rail, air, road and boat passengers, establishing common rules on compensation and assistance for passengers.

The S&Ds have taken action to improve transport safety across Europe. We have fought to increase road-safety education, improve vehicle inspections and protect vulnerable road users. We also backed proposals to take better account of aviation-security issues and ensure better training in the EU aviation sector.

The S&D Group is leading the drive to guarantee every worker in the European Union access to decent work with living wages. We are campaigning to ensure that the new Mobility Package will go hand in hand with the proper enforcement of EU social legislation. The EU must tackle unfair competition, fight against the distortion of working and employment conditions, and ensure adequate social protection for transport workers. At the moment, the companies who play by the rules are not able to compete with unfairly undercut prices and society as a whole is robbed of the taxes and social contributions it needs to pay for essential public services.

This is the price we pay for the failure to crack down on social dumping and letter-box companies. Citizens deserve a forceful response to end these unfair practices.We want to put an end to social dumping by giving the Commission the power to investigate cross-border cases of employers undercutting local wages and conditions, and to penalise the companies involved.  We will also continue the fight against illegal ‘cabotage’, a practice where a vehicle registered in one country carries goods or passengers in another country without authorisation.

We need more ambitious and smart investment in Europe's infrastructure to build a more cohesive EU and to promote sustainable jobs and growth. Our MEPs successfully argued for enough funding for key infrastructure projects through the Connecting Europe Facility – an EU programme that aims to promote investment in transport, energy and telecommunications for the period 2014-2020.

The EU wants to set up a European road toll system so heavy goods vehicles will be charged for using our roads.  The S&Ds want to make sure that the proposed Eurovignette system includes not only trucks but also light commercial vehicles and passenger cars, and that the calculation is based on the 'user pays' and 'polluter pays' principles, with external costs taken into account. We want all users to contribute their fair share to the financing of Europe’s infrastructure.

The tourism industry has seen the biggest and fastest growth in the global economy. In order to achieve the full potential of tourism in Europe we need to invest and improve transport infrastructure, develop our diverse cultural networks and heritage sites, and protect rural areas and nature reserves. We also want to protect the rights of workers by providing training opportunities and taking full advantage of the opportunities for creating green jobs.

Tourism also plays a crucial role in creating jobs and economic growth, providing much-needed income to many regions. With careful management, rural tourism can also play an important role in preserving biodiversity and protecting natural habitats, benefitting the environment, local communities and tourists alike.