Europe invested and it’s getting ready to invest further millions of euros in sustainable mobility in Portugal. This is the “good news” that Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reform wanted to give at the closing of the Portugal Mobi Summit. It’s not only the 900 million euros allocated towards clean urban transportation or the circa 700 projects already supported to promote intelligent systems in mobility. It’s also the more than 1.8 billion euros that the European Union has available to help member states to rapidly recover the economy and the “walk towards a future that is socially and environmentally more fair and sustainable”, said de Commissioner.
This is the European Commission’s strategy, that puts the ecologic transition “at the center of a proposal that I consider to be historical”, underlines Elisa Ferreira. Part of the fund – warns the commissioner – will need to be allocated taking into account the strategic orientation of each country, but also aligned with European priorities: “Mobility was a collateral victim of Covid-19, but transportation will be fundamental for the sustainable recovery of the economy”
Therefore it is urgent to reduce their environmental impact and to reduce the levels of congestion: “The transportation sector also represents an opportunity for Europe to lead in technology” stated the commissioner. From digitalization of management systems to the production of batteries, there are many potentials for Europe in its whole and for Portugal in particular, defends Elisa Ferreira.
And the policy of cohesion can be a push for some of these goals: “At least 30% of the European Fund for Regional Development and 37% of the Cohesion Fund, that is, a third of investments are dedicated to environmental goals” explains the commissioner, underlining that the “substantial” reinforcement of funds for urban development will be managed by municipalities and destined partially to sustainable urban transportation systems.
These high levels of investments represent “a window of opportunities”, but the moment is for reflection: “One should never waste a good crisis” said Elisa Ferreira, quoting a famous phrase by Churchill. This is the moment to rethink how we want to change the transportation sector. From reflection we need to pass into action, adds the commissioner, highlighting that Europe’s goal is to lead in the area of innovation.
“Therefore I call for all the countries, but also Portugal, to use their available investments in the next years”. This is an opportunity that “must be used wisely”, warns the commissioner, repeating the appeal: “We need to push aside short term vision and past models”. Innovation and “strategic sense” will be the paths towards “a new sustainable future”, stated the European Commissioner, closing the third edition of the Portugal Mobi Summit.