From the Covid crisis to recovery plans: the stakes and consequences for transport systems –Transport/Europe bulletin #4

While the European Union and its Member States have been criticized for the time they took to propose a framework for collective thinking about the pandemic, the orientations, proposals and measures implemented through what is commonly called the « European recovery plan » constitute a major event in the building of Europe.

A little more than a year after the validation of the political agreement between the Member States (July 2020), the national recovery plans are now known and the funds are starting to be released to the Member States. Some plans were still pending as of the date of publication of this text (The Netherlands: the recovery plan has not been sent to the Commission; Poland and Hungary: the recovery plan sent to the Commission has not yet been validated), but one observation emerges from the overall panorama: transport systems hold a significant place in the recovery plans submitted to the European Commission.

Bulletin #3 of the OPSTE offered a first analysis of the consequences that the measures taken by the Member States to deal with the pandemic before the distribution of the vaccines had had on transport. It seemed natural for the OPSTE experts who met by video-conference in March 2021 to compare the place allocated to transport systems in the recovery plans prepared by the governments of the Member States.

This initial thinking will call for more precise subsequent analyses to see whether the conditions set by the Commission for the attribution of the European recovery plan funds contributed to significantly changing the orientations of the Member States in terms of investment in transport systems. With the « Fitfor55 » package presented in July 2021 which translated into legislative drafts the major orientations of the Green Deal, the Commission specified the very ambitious objectives for the decarbonization of transport systems. Will the European recovery plan provide an opportunity for a new impulse or a windfall effect for the projects of the Member States?

For the moment, we need simply take note with the experts of the OPSTE that the debate regarding « recovery » once again illustrates the diversity of national situations, beyond the collective European framework.

Consult or download the Transport/Europe bulletin #4:

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