European Road Transport in 2020 - An Outlook

Transport policy is a special field in many respects. In contrast to other policy fields, transport policy is characterised in particular by its cross-sectional and its multi-level character. The cross-sectional character describes the interdisciplinary nature of the field. Transport policy is difficult to understand as an exclusive, self-contained field. It is a field which is significantly influenced by various other policy fields. Environmental policy, social policy, technology policy, economic policy, competition policy and many other fields are important components of transport policy. The field also has a multi-level character. Transport policy is no longer a field hierarchically determined by the nation state. Many different state, civil society and economic actors at all levels (local, national, regional) have their role and say in transport policy processes.

This special role of the transport sector has become increasingly important over the last decade. For example, there has been a massive increase in awareness of the role of transport in the climate and environmental sector. New technologies and advances in the field of electric mobility and autonomous driving are expressions of this new awareness in the transport sector. But the last decade has also revealed the massive problems and challenges that still need to be solved. The second half of the last decade in particular has shown that we are only just beginning to solve environmental problems or introduce new drives and technologies. But what challenges await us now in the new decade? What still lies on the desks of the EU institutions? Here we want to give a brief transport policy outlook into the beginning of the new decade.

Environment, climate and energy

One of the new Commission's main packages of measures was presented at the end of last year. The European Green Deal is designed to make Europe the world's first climate-neutral continent by 2050, something the new Commission also describes as the greatest challenge and opportunity of our time. The measures, which are accompanied by an initial roadmap of key policy measures, range from an ambitious reduction in emissions to investment in cutting-edge research and innovation and the preservation of Europe's natural environment. Supported by investment in green technologies, sustainable solutions and new businesses, the Green Deal can be a new EU growth strategy. The involvement and commitment of the public and all stakeholders is crucial to the success of the Green Deal. The Commission stresses that the package makes the transition fair and social.

With regard to transport, the Commission plans to revise the CO2 standards for cars and vans to ensure "a clear path towards emission-free mobility from 2025". The new CO2 standards, which the EU institutions have just won a tough battle for in April 2019, are to be put back on the table this year. But it remains to be seen whether the CO2 reduction targets will be the focus of attention or whether technical aspects will be taken into account. It can be expected that this will be a tough battle between various governmental and non-governmental actors. The Commission also plans to publish a climate law within the first 100 days.

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