Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (77)

Neale Richmond

Question:

77. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Transport if he will report on his engagement with his European counterparts on 8 December 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7993/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

On 8 December 2020, I participated in an informal video conference of EU Transport Ministers, which was held under the auspices of the German Presidency of the Council of the EU. The agenda centred on two main items. Firstly, Council continued discussions on the Eurovignette Directive, which concerns Heavy Goods Vehicles and aims to address issues such as road infrastructure financing and tolls, greenhouse gas emissions, and congestion.

Secondly, there was a policy debate on the European Commisison's new Single European Sky proposals published in September 2020, which has the overall objective of improving the management of European airspace and air navigation service systems across the EU.

Other agenda items consisted of a range of information points touching a broad range of issues, including investment in rail, the impact of COVID-19 on air passengers' rights, and socially responsible connectivity. A report on the outcome of the meeting, including a range of background papers, can be found on the Council website at the following link:

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/tte/2020/12/08/

As noted in the Programme for Government, the Government is committed to placing Ireland at the heart of Europe. Though physical meetings continue to be constrained by the pandemic, it is crucial to continue to work closely with fellow Member States and the European Commission on policy matters. In this regard, on 10 November 2020, I held a call with EU Transport Commissioner Adina Valean, during which we discussed key supply chain issues relating to both Brexit and COVID-19 impacts.

My Government colleagues and I firmly believe that Ireland's interests are best served by pursuing an active and engaged membership of the EU. As Minister for Transport, I will continue to collaborate and forge alliances with my counterparts in other EU Member States with which we share common goals and interests.