Unificationand Development of Europe through the Transport Industry
Regulationof the transport sector to the level of sustainability, in Europe,became a contentious matter during the 4thFlorence Urban Forum. The Forum based the discussion on the 2009European Commission Action plan on urban mobility as well as thenovel Urban Mobility package that was finalized in 2013 (Ha-Joon,28). The commission was solely interested in promoting sustainabilityin the transport sector based on two main trepidations. One of theconcerns was rooted on the fact that the competition in Europe wascentered on the transport industry. It asserted that over 70% of theEuropean GDP was from the transport industry and the affiliatedmarkets (Ha-Joon, 29). The second concern was in line with thecontribution of the sector to the levels of harmful gasses in theatmosphere and overall pollution of the environment. Logically, inthe context of the transport industry, the idea of sustainabilitygoes beyond the environmental aspect and spreads to the social aswell as the economic sphere of the European nations. It is,therefore, clear that the aspect of sustainability is at the focalpoint of the European development policies and unification. Numerousregulations have been put in place ranging from urban planning, roadcharging, to reducing emissions into the atmosphere. Though there isdire need to make a decisive action, the commission has a diminutivepower to regulate the transport industry. A combination of alllevels in the transport sector from the public transport operatives,transport authorities, the city authorities, nation-states, and theEuropean commission is the greatest challenge in the implementationof the regulations set. In this paper, I am going to focus on theunification of Europe. Unlike other social, political, religious, andeconomic ideologies, put in place to sustain and unite Europe, thepaper will emphasize on the regulation of transport industry to seethe dream of unification and prosperity come true.
Regulationstowards Europe unification
Oneof the significant regulations that should be adopted, in thetransport sector by European nations, is the removal of subsidies onfuel (Scott, 260). Generally, the price structure of fuels is knownto contain 5 dimensions. The elements include the net price thatincorporate the production cost of the fuel, excise taxes, the fee ofstockpiling, the market margins that cater for wholesale as well asthe retail aspects, and the value added taxes. To put this inpractice, there is a need for either whole or partial refund of theexcise tax to be observed. Initially, in the original principal, theidea of excise tax did not call for any refunds whatsoever eventhough there were some few areas that were exempted. The exemptedfields included the railway freight transport system, air, watertransport sectors, and the agricultural field. A total refund of theexcise duty after circulation of biofuels was also another area thathad been exempted. The policies touching on this aspect supportcertain goals in the transport sector that are in line withsustainability, development, and the cohesion in the social sector inthe European nations.
TheEuropean commission has also suggested measures to a Single EuropeanTransport Area to enhance the effectiveness that come along withcompetition and sustainability (Robert, 662). To achieve this, theEuropean Union should build on the existing transport network, in thevarious member countries, and chain a top-down style to a bottom-upapproach of the network that is functional with an aim of targetingto carry huge and amalgamated volumes of freight and passengersvehicles with highly efficient and reduced emissions. This objectivewill be accomplished by the wide use of more efficient means inmultimodal groupings as well as the vast application of progressivetechnologies and the provision of clean fuels for infrastructure.
In reality, the bottom-up approach is very significant when it comesto shaping the comprehensive network that makes up the layer of thetrans-European transport network (TEN-T), and is made of all thecurrent and the intended infrastructure and the desiderataofeach member state(Martin, 49). On the other hand, the top-down methodis essential in the shaping of the core network. This network coversboth the comprehensive network and includes some of its strategicsignificant parts. This approach ought to be even more effective inbringing together the aspects of TEN-T with the top levels ofEuropean added value and by recognizing the missing links acrossboundaries, tackling the challenges, and enhancing themultimodalities at the applicable areas.
Thenetwork should be designed in such a way that it is effective toensure that the multi-modal links that are in existence are efficient(Nicolai, 67). The links should connect not only the European Unioncapitals to other major cities, ports, airports, and the majorboundary crossing zones but also other major centers in the economicworld. They should also go beyond the EU boundaries by lengtheningthe transport networks to its close neighbors and linking Europe tothe outside world by the use of the ports and the airports. A studycarried out by Expert Group, confirms that for many years, the portsand the airports in the EU states have been restricted to singlemarkets within the countries or the affiliated economic blocks.However, there have been several steps taken to break through theserestrictions and rebalancing the sky and the naval powers within theEuropean states. The steps include the Eastern enlargement,globalization of the European markets, and the rise of novel businessentities.
Forprosperity, the network needs to be effective to ensure that thespending in the transport industry is reduced by proposing directlinks between the central nodes, and since transport network isbehind mobility shaping the structure should pull the transportsystem away from oil dependence. The reduced overdependence on oil isessential in spreading effort portfolio to tackle both theforesighted scarcity of the product and the evident fact that thesupply of oil is regulated by international cartels.
Anotherfact is the dire need of a one but integrated airspace (Emmanuelle,35) most European aircraft suffer from traffic delays due to thefact that they are forced to make uncalled for detours instead ofdirect routes. This has led to enormous economic losses andenvironmental degradation. The increased air traffic has made airtransport, among European countries, to be less sustainable both insafety and the capacity. The integration will not only cut down theeconomic costs but will also reduce the levels of environmentalpollution caused by aircraft when they are forced to traverse a longarea rather than taking a direct route. Unification, in this case,will be achieved as the direct routes will pass through some of thespaces that were initially no-go zones by other states.
Fromthe discussion, it is clear that though there are existingregulations in the transport industry, a lot needs to be done toensure prosperity and achieve the unification objective among theEuropean countries. It is necessary, however, to note that besidesopening up of economic markets, the effectiveness of the transportnetwork depends on the quality levels of the human resources. It is,also, clear that the transport industry has a global nature and thiscalls for establishment of both market and non-market rules andstrengthening them through corporations and internationalinstitutions. There is, therefore, the need to incorporateregulations in the transport industry with other ideologies torealize the dream of a prosperous and a united Europe. In the paper,I have looked at several regulations proposed by the Europeancommission which I believe if established and implemented Europe willbe more united than how it is now. One of the regulations I havelooked at is the removal of subsidies on the fuels. Some of thepolicies within this bracket will enhance cohesion and sustainabilityamong European nations. Creation of a single transport unit is alsoanother regulation. This regulation will enhance unity as thetransport barriers will be done away with and the cities withinEurope will be linked to each other. There will be a free andcontinuous flow of goods and ideas within and outside Europe.Restrictive tariffs on movement around Europe will be a thing of thepast. Further, strategies should also be put in place to adopteco-friendly energy consumption in the transport sector. Thisregulation will see Europe move away from the consumption of oilwhich its scarcity in the near future is inevitable. In addition, itwill be free from conflicts within the oil sector since the oilindustry is controlled by international cartels.
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