Press release Brussels, 14 March 2013
European Consumer Day
Launch of "Mobility" in 8 European countries, to promote a culture of sustainable transport respecting the rights of passengers
To involve European citizens, primarily the public transport users and commuters, to help bring their needs to the ambitious objectives that the European Commission has set for the coming years concerning the sustainable mobility.
With this in mind, the European project "Mobility, a paradigm for European citizenship" kicks off in 8 Countries (Bulgaria, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain).
The initiative is coordinated by Active Citizenship Network, the European interface of the Italian NGO Cittadinanzattiva, and realized with the support of the Europe for Citizens Program of the European Union.
What are the individual countries doing to substantially reduce Europe's dependence on imported oil, and to reduce by 60% the carbon dioxide emissions in the transport sector? What prevents the replacement of the vehicle fleet to halve the number of those fired with conventional fuels? How to reconcile the completion of the European high-speed rail network with the need not to reduce the runs for commuters, and ensuring universal service in shipping? Do occur also in other European cities such cases as that one in Naples, with the local bus transport company stopped because of the dry fuel? Which are the best practices? What role do citizens have to play? How to effectively involve Associations that protect their rights and all the stakeholders so that no one is excluded from these challenges?
Commuters and travellers from all over Europe, have your say! The project launches consultation of thousands of European citizens about the various challenges that the mobility of people represents for the future of Europe: starting from the accessibility of transport to environmental sustainability, without neglecting the protection of the rights of passengers. Particular attention will be paid to sustainable urban mobility, with the intend to bring to the attention of national and European institutions some civic recommendations of what may be many lines of action in the short, medium and long term.
The project is developed through the whole 2013 with focus group theme, interviews with experts and users in the field, a communication campaign on the recent changes introduced at Community level concerning the protection of travelers, events for the XII European Mobility Week in September, institutional meetings in Brussels and in the major cities of the eight countries involved.
For more information, please visit the website: www.activecitizenship.net
"The reduction of mobility is not an option, but at the same time the transport sector is not sustainable, as reported by the European Commission itself," said Antonio Gaudioso, General Secretary and Head of European policies for Cittadinanzattiva. "In this scenario, we raise a new mobility pattern matching to more effective protection of the rights of travelers, a real involvement of all stakeholders, without which you can not hit the ambitious objectives set at European level".
Partner: Cittadinanzattiva-Active Citizenship Network is the association leader for the project, that can enjoy the collaboration of the following European consumer associations:
• A.N.P.C.P.P.S.România / National Association for Consumers' Protection and Promotion of programs and strategies (Country Romania - RO)
• Vartotojų teisių gynimo centras / Association Consumer Rights Protection Center (Country Lithuania - LT)
• Index Foundation (Country Bulgaria - BG)
• Associação In Loco / In Loco Association (Country Portugal - PT)
• Spoločnosť ochrany spotrebiteľov S.O.S. / Society of Consumer Protection (Country Slovakia - SK)
• Centra potrošača Srbije / Consumer's Center of Serbia - CEPS (Country Serbia - SRB)
• Fundación Ciudadanía / Citizenship Foundation (Country Spain – ES)
Transposition of directives: it is quite clear that the European Union cannot achieve its political objectives if the Member States do not effectively apply the EU law. And to read data from the latest annual report of the Commission about the monitoring of the application of EU law (published in November 2012), the three sectors in which the largest number of infringement proceedings for late transportation has been launched, were: transport (240 procedures), internal market & services (198), health & consumers (164). Many of these cases involved a large number of member states. For example, the Commission initiated proceedings against 23 member states with regard to the delay in transposing the directive concerning vehicles with low energy consumption in transport (Directive 2009/33/EC). Similarly, 22 member states have been involved in infringement proceedings for late transposition within the framework of the Directive on the management of road infrastructure safety (Directive 2008/96/EC).
The context in Europe: According the European Consumer Agenda, the transport sector, like the energy, the food chain, digital services and financial are identified as the most problematic for consumers; and a snapshot produced by European Commission of difficulties encountered by people when attempting to exercise their EU rights, on the basis of their practical experiences, shows that main concerns relate on mobility are the two following:
• Cumbersome social security procedures discourage citizens' mobility: Many people moving from one EU country to another find difficult to understand and make use of their social security rights (e.g. family allowances, unemployment benefits, social security). They often expect to have the same rights everywhere and they may be disappointed when their expectations are not satisfied. In addition, they often face complex administrative procedures when trying to obtain social security rights, and may still face discriminatory rules and practices.
• Passengers find it difficult to defend their rights: Passengers, whether travelling by plane, ship, bus or train, are in a very uncomfortable position when confront with travel or luggage problems. Despite EU efforts to inform passengers about their rights and to monitor enforcement, passengers' rights are often not well respected.
Italian context: According all claims collected last year by Cittadinanzattiva, in the transport sector, most complaints are reported about air transport (44%) and rail transport (41%), followed by transport by sea (11%). Delays head the list of complaints in this sector and cover 26% in air transport and 29% in rail transport. Other air transport deficiencies follow: flight cancellations (19%), loss of baggage (18%), overbooking (16%), and reimbursements (13%). Regarding rail transport, after delays, complaints are about the lack of service (21%), the increase of rates (18%), the difficulty in getting reimbursements (16%), the level of hygiene on trains (8%