Ambassador Nicolas CHAPUIS was received on 1 June 2021 by Minister of Transport LI Xiaopeng. The meeting took place at the request of the EU Delegation, with the intention of presenting the European Commission’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, adopted on 9 December 2020.
This Strategy sets out 82 policy measures, in 10 areas, with 14 targets for the next 10-30 years, aimed at enabling the EU transport system to achieve green and digital transformation, and to become more resilient when facing future crises.
Transport contributes around 5% of EU GDP and employs over 10 million people in Europe. The transport system is critical for businesses and global supply chains. There are also costs: greenhouse gas (GHG) and pollutant emissions, noise, road accidents and congestion. Transport emissions make up around one quarter of total EU GHG emissions. Therefore, in line with the European Green Deal, the Strategy aims at a 90% cut in emissions by 2050, delivered by a smart, competitive, safe, accessible and affordable transport system.
The Coronavirus pandemic has shown our vulnerabilities, and the need to strengthen resilience. Transition to greener, smarter and more resilient mobility should leave nobody behind. Mobility must be available and affordable for all, rural and remote regions must remain connected, and European transport must offer good social conditions to its workers and provide attractive jobs.
The Ambassador took the opportunity to congratulate China on its successful policies and achievements in the field of transport, many of which had been developed in cooperation with EU Member States and companies. The EU and China face similar challenges related to transport, notably pollution, accidents and congestion. We now have an opportunity to stimulate decarbonisation and modernisation of the world transport and mobility system, working together bilaterally and in international organisations.
The Ambassador mentioned two concerns arising from measures intended to contain the pandemic.
In aviation, the current ‘’circuit breaker’’ policy punishes airlines which carry passengers who test positive for Coronavirus on arrival. In reality, no passenger can board an aircraft unless he or she has had a negative result for PCR and antibodies tests before departure, and unless these negative test results have been verified and approved by the competent Chinese Embassy. Punishment of air carriers is hard to understand in this context.
In maritime transport, many seafarers are affected by restrictions at Chinese ports. The Ambassador expressed the hope that the Minister might be able to help on humanitarian grounds.
Minister of Transport LI Xiaopeng made a detailed presentation of China’s transport policy. The Minister recalled publication of two major policy documents, in September 2019 and in February 2021. The Minister also described his Ministry’s extensive work on decarbonising the transport sector; on modernisation and digitalisation of transport; on smart mobility; and on related matters.
Finally, the Minister recalled that the 2nd UN Global Sustainable Transport Conference will take place in Beijing on 14-16 October 2021, and looked forward to substantial international participation.
Ambassador Chapuis thanked the Minister for his hospitality, and looked forward to continued close cooperation.