The Estonian commissioner-designate for transport Siim Kallas was questioned by the European Parliament on Thursday 14 January 2010. Answering questions in English Mr Kallas appeared confident. He proposed setting up a European Infrastructure Investment Fund and underlined that “We must start to consider European transport as one entity designed for Europeans”.

In terms of ITS Werner Kuhn (EPP DE) quizzed Mr Kallas about Galileo asking why this system was not part of the Transport domain and yet had so many transport implications – “If we think about road tolls road safety in the future everything will be run using the European GPS system and ITS plays a vital role in this context”. Mr Kallas acquitted himself well pointing out that Galileo was a “multi-functioning project”. Mr Kallas added that ITS was an important part of the drive to interlink different transport modes in order to optimise traffic management.

Mathieu Grosch (EPP BE) asked if Mr Kallas could guarantee that ITS would stay part of DG TREN in the future assuring Mr Kallas of Parliament’s support in this regard.  Mr Kallas emphasised “ITS will definitely remain in my domain – it is my real commitment to develop intelligent transport systems”. Mr Kallas added that Europe had the potential to be the world leader in ITS.

Asked about sustainable transport by Saïd El Khadraoui (S&D BE) Mr Kallaspointed out that ITS was vital to ensure the better functioning of transport including reducing CO2 emissions. He committed himself to the polluter pays principle but deflected questions about using the price mechanism to change behaviour.

“Free movement is one of the greatest freedoms of European citizens and modern transport makes a fundamental contribution to this freedom”

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Original Publication Date: Tue 27 Jul 2010