The European Commission has set a very ambitious and extensive agenda to promote a green and digital transformation across the European Union. The aim is to meet the EU’s climate targets and to create a sustainable digital operating environment — a true digital single market.
In this process, transport has been identified as one of the EU’s key sectors. The sector provides a fruitful ground for great synergies. By effectively applying the EU’s long-term work in promoting digitalisation and the automation of transport systems, we can reduce the significant carbon footprint of the sector.
In the midst of all the new initiatives to implement the EU’s ambitious new green and digital agenda, the European Commission has also announced its plan to revise the ITS Directive (2010/40/EU), which sets a uniform framework for the deployment of intelligent transport systems in the European Union. The Commission is expected to publish its legislative proposal on this revision in autumn 2021.
The update is topical right now
The Commission’s intention to update the regulatory environment established by the ITS Directive has been warmly welcomed by the industry and relevant stakeholders. This is no surprise, considering how fast technological development and digital transformation are progressing in our societies, including in transport. Additionally, the Directive has not been updated since its adoption in 2010.
In Finland’s view, the key objective of this regulatory review is two-fold. Firstly, the European Union must bring the ITS Directive up to date with the ongoing developments in digital transformation and bring it in line with the wider EU-level actions that are aimed at creating the basis for a digital single market. Secondly, the new regulatory framework should endorse as effectively as possible the new green vision of the European Union.
Equal opportunities, technology neutrality and interoperability
To meet these goals, the EU must also ensure that the operating environment established by the ITS Directive continues to provide a level playing field and equal opportunities to all parties, while concurrently promoting technology neutrality, interoperability and the effective uptake of new digital solutions, services and technologies across the whole European Union. We also need to continue our efforts to improve the availability and reusability of data on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. In this work, generic operating models should be favoured, as this would enable the seamless use of data in different modes of transport and in different sectors.
At the same time, to strengthen the competitiveness of the European transport sector and to promote new jobs, we have to make sure that the market environment provides the best possible conditions for future investments. In this respect, sector-specific special legislation on transport and administrative obligations should only cover situations where this is essential, in order to achieve the societal objectives set for the review of the Directive.
Implementation requires close and well-coordinated cooperation
The wide spectrum of EU actions aimed at promoting the green and digital transition and the creation of a digital single market require close and well-coordinated cooperation within the European Commission and between the EU institutions and the Member States. Finland calls for all EU-level actions and legislative initiatives to proceed systematically and to form a coherent and consistent whole.
Finland is fully committed to the EU’s joint objectives of promoting the safe, efficient and sustainable movement of people and goods. Consequently, Finland is very much looking forward to ensuring that the next steps in the sustainable development of transport and mobility, including intelligent transport systems, can be taken in the EU. I am personally excited about these prospects and fully convinced that we can succeed in this together.
Senior Ministerial Adviser, Data Department