On the European Commission COVID19 Guidelines on the progressive restoration of transport services - my analysis
1. Bus, coach, rail,ferry, cruise ships - Social distancing or equivalent required
2. Aviation - Can kicked down the road, EASA and EADC tasked with producing protocol
3. ‘Equivalent’ not defined
= Summer holidays abroad cancelled for most
= More jobs at risk
It doesn’t meet the safe, sustainable, competitive, inclusive, & resilient test. We have to find a way of operating transport and tourism with the virus for maybe many months/years to come. This isn’t it.
A. Real shame Member States, scientists, industry, unions, consumer groups and others stakeholders were not brought together to agree guidelines first.
B. If equivalent measures are acceptable they urgently need to be (i) defined and (ii) agreed internationally.
C. It’s still not too late, European Commission should urgently show more leadership, bring everyone together before their planned Autumn event, and find a way out of this stage of the crisis through innovation.
On the European Commission Recommendation on vouchers offered to passengers and travelers as an alternative to reimbursement for cancelled package travel and transport services - my analysis
The recommendations to encourage long term vouchers with a validity of over 12 months, the ability to exchange with friends and family, and allow member states to guarantee them without EU state aid clearance, is welcome, but it’s not the action on the ground we urgently need.
1. We need to immediately get everyone round the table to agree a compromise
2. Member States need to act in the next few days to guarantee the vouchers in the case of airline insolvency
3. If they do not act this week we need a European Travel Guarantee Fund to ensure the financial stability of the sector and consumers’ rights at the same time.
We need action in days, not weeks or months.
My latest euronews interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp71WVDIYso
If you require any further information, need help implementing the guidelines, or wish to make representations to Member States or the EU regarding the guidelines please do not hesitate to contact me.
Mark Watts, is Director of LP Brussels, a former two-term Member of the European Parliament, and has been advising organisations and businesses on EU transport policy for over fifteen years. He writes in a personal capacity.