What time frame do you put on Ukraine getting entry to the EU?
On the assumption the EU still exists in 2050, it is a reasonable bet that Ukraine will manage to be an EU Member State by then. Admittedly it still has a long way to go and the average accession time seems to be between 15 and 20 years from actual membership request. Ukraine is yet to formally ask to join the EU, although all major political parties have expressed this as the eventual aim.
You would expect in 39 years Ukraine will have managed it unless the political winds change drastically in that time or the EU takes on a different form that Ukraine would not wish to join.
The publication of the EU White Paper on transport strategies is therefore fairly relevant to Ukraine as it sets the general direction of EU transport policy. Any EU membership is of course going to be far quicker and smoother if Ukrainian policies are generally pointing the same way.
Much of it is common sense and hardly controversial except perhaps the duly highlighted item 1 on the 10 part plan (below) relating to urban living, in particular, your own personal car.
(1) Halve the use of ‘conventionally-fuelled’ cars in urban transport by 2030; phase them out in cities by 2050; achieve essentially CO2-free city logistics in major urban centres by 2030.
(2) Low-carbon sustainable fuels in aviation to reach 40% by 2050; also by 2050 reduce EU CO2 emissions from maritime bunker fuels by 40% (if feasible 50%). Optimising the performance of multimodal logistic chains, including by making greater use of more energy-efficient modes
(3) 30% of road freight over 300 km should shift to other modes such as rail or waterborne transport by 2030, and more than 50% by 2050, facilitated by efficient and green freight corridors. To meet this goal will also require appropriate infrastructure to be developed.
(4) By 2050, complete a European high-speed rail network. Triple the length of the existing high-speed rail network by 2030 and maintain a dense railway network in all Member States. By 2050 the majority of medium-distance passenger transport should go by rail.
(5) A fully functional and EU-wide multimodal TEN-T ‘core network’ by 2030, with a high quality and capacity network by 2050 and a corresponding set of information services.
(6) By 2050, connect all core network airports to the rail network, preferably high-speed; ensure that all core seaports are sufficiently connected to the rail freight and, where possible, inland waterway system. Increasing the efficiency of transport and of infrastructure use with information systems and market-based incentives
(7) Deployment of the modernised air traffic management infrastructure (SESAR) in Europe by 2020 and completion of the European Common Aviation Area. Deployment of equivalent land and waterborne transport management systems (ERTMS, ITS, SSN and LRIT, RIS). Deployment of the European Global Navigation Satellite System (Galileo).
(8) By 2020, establish the framework for a European multimodal transport information, management and payment system.
(9) By 2050, move close to zero fatalities in road transport. In line with this goal, the EU aims at halving road casualties by 2020. Make sure that the EU is a world leader in safety and security of transport in all modes of transport.
(10) Move towards full application of “user pays” and “polluter pays” principles and private sector engagement to eliminate distortions, including harmful subsidies, generate revenues and ensure financing for future transport investments.
Of the entire plan, despite the costs to implement being 5% of GDP per nation (twice that of the more aggressive EU nations annual defence budgets) by far the most controversial and difficult to implement is halving the amount of conventional fueled cars by 2030 and completely removing them from city centres by 2050.
People are going to be far less bothered by governmentally sponsored public transportation changes to city centre living than they are unelected European Commissioners telling them what car they can and cannot drive if they live or work in a city. It will be seen as a curtailing of a basic freedom (in this case to choose to drive that v12 6 cylinder gas guzzler if you want one just because you live in the city.)
Now many a town planner and civil engineer have spent many an hour trying to ease city centre congestion and reduce the pollution that causes damage to historical architectural wonders that exist within every city…..at least in European cities and that certainly exist in the Ukrainian major cities.
We have tried congestion charges to keep unnecessary vehicles from the city centres, but those charges quickly became seen as a tax and also were absorbed into corporate expenses and remuneration packages.
Politically of course, to charge those people who live in the city and own a car the congestion charge is an unelectable proposition for a politician – so they have been traditionally exempted the charge.
We have tried “park and ride” where thousands of cars are parked on the extremities to cities and buses take the commuter the rest of the way. Unfortunately the cost of all day parking plus the cost of the bus transportation and demands on buses a peak times to and from park and ride areas can make it almost as costly and more untimely than simply paying a congestion charge.
Tram systems, metros/undergrounds cost literally tens of millions to construct and take years.
In the case of a metro/underground, it costs hundreds millions to tunnel and construct each and every additional stop, notwithstanding if it is a project openly tendered, the actual tender bid can cost a few million to put together, a cost any tender winner will want to recoup amongst the costs and necessary profits related to taking on any project.
I once was involved in a PFI project for the Leeds Supertram, a project to alleviate inner city congestion, as had been carried out in Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield in previous years. The cost to tender the bid was in excess of £2 million and then the project was scrapped by the government…..I won’t even bother stating the actual construction costs should it have gone ahead.
None of this takes into consideration years of additional traffic chaos as the alternative transport facilities are actually built causing road closers, diversions along streets that were never designed for the traffic they now accommodate whilst tram track is actually laid or major excavations for a new metro stop take place. Neither does it take into account the additional and almost industrial amount of pollution and conventional energy use created when carrying out the work. When completed these new transport systems have a pollution and energy legacy that can take some considerable years of usage to negate, before there is a net environmental benefit.
These are not economic, political and environmental excuses to do nothing, but they are considerations when going down this route which many people forget (particularly the energy and pollution legacy).
None of this addresses the most controversial aspect of the EU plan however. How to get city centre drivers/vehicle owners out of conventionally fueled cars?
There seems to be only one choice. Stop manufacturing conventionally fueled cars. As Henry Ford once said, “They can have any colour they like, as long as its black.” Well maybe it is time to tell car manufactures “You can make any car you like, as long as it is not conventionally fueled”.
So are bio-fuels the way forward? Apparently not according to Friends of he Earth.
“Commercial biofuels are not the answer – there’s growing concern that commercial fuel crops imported into Europe are destroying forests, driving people off their land and generating more emissions than they save,” said transport campaigner Richard Dyer. “Instead we need better public transport, smarter cars that use less fuel and more walking and cycling for shorter journeys.”
By the time we get to 2050, no doubt the cost of oil based fuels will be a very rich mans preserve anyway…..so maybe most of us will have no other economic choice but to go “electric”.
In case you are wondering, the UK told the EU Commission to “sit and swivel” over the conventionally fueled car issue in city centres the day this EU proposal was published……then you can say that when you are the second biggest financial sponsor of the organisation. That’s probably not a position Ukraine will be in by 2050.