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IRU addressed the urgent need for better alternative fuel options, secure parking solutions and road transport’s role in multimodal transport at Connecting Europe Days in Brussels.
EU | Brussels

IRU at Connecting Europe Days: key insights

16 Apr 2024 · People, Prosperity, Environment

IRU addressed the urgent need for better alternative fuel options, secure parking solutions and road transport’s role in multimodal transport at Connecting Europe Days in Brussels.

At Europe’s flagship mobility event in Brussels, organised by the European Commission and the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, IRU led discussions with industry stakeholders, enforcement authorities, and national and EU policymakers.

Events and panel discussions centred around the essential role of energy, digitalisation and transport infrastructure in supporting the road transport sector's decarbonisation efforts and in enhancing its efficiency and working conditions. Key topics included the need for more alternative fuel options, improved infrastructure and the expansion of safe and secure truck parking facilities.

IRU interventions

At the opening event organised by the Flemish Government, Marc Billiet, IRU’s Senior Adviser for Goods Transport, stressed the importance of a fair and affordable transition to decarbonisation. He called for diverse solutions, accessible funding, and leveraging all available innovations beyond just battery-electric vehicles.

At the panel on the implementation of the EU passenger rights legislation and the trans-European transport networks (TEN-T), Suzanne Hoadley, IRU’s Senior Adviser for Passenger Transport, pointed out the need for infrastructure investment and support for bus and coach operators, which is especially crucial for small and medium-sized enterprises.

On the professional drivers and cargo safety panel, Elmer de Bruin, President of IRU’s EU Goods Transport Liaison Committee, highlighted the need to facilitate the construction, or upgrading, of safe and secure parking areas in the EU.

The lack of truck parking spaces as well as the minimum level of service and security guaranteed by safe and secure parking areas dramatically impact the safety and security of drivers and their cargo.

IRU partners with key industry leaders

At Connecting Europe Days, IRU together with key industry partners and with the support of the European Commission, called upon EU leaders to substantially increase transport funding through the Connecting Europe Facility. This crucial financial instrument supports the development of vital infrastructure for the EU’s commercial road transport sector.

IRU EU projects on display

The AWARD project, one of IRU's most important research and innovation projects, was on display at the exhibition. IRU and its partners showcased cutting-edge innovations advancing automated vehicles in logistics.

The EU-funded All Weather Autonomous Real logistics operations and Demonstrations (AWARD) project is testing autonomous vehicles in adverse weather conditions.


High-level meetings

During the event, IRU President Radu Dinescu, Secretary General Umberto de Pretto, and Director of EU Advocacy Raluca Marian, held high-level talks with Czech Transport Minister Martin Kupka.

IRU also met with Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Transport and Communications, Loreta Maskaliovienė, and engaged with European Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean.

The discussions focused on critical EU social and environmental files, policies, decisions and rules, in which the Council of the European Union plays a crucial role, particularly on weights and dimensions for heavy-duty vehicles, combined transport, as well as on providing incentive frameworks for fleet greening.

Raluca Marian said, “Connecting Europe Days is the EU’s flagship event where transport priorities are discussed and debated by key industry stakeholders, the EU and Member States.

“We are happy that, through IRU’s presence and activities at the event, the road transport sector’s voice was heard alongside key players from other modes such as rail, waterborne, and air.

“Road transport continues to play a critical role in the EU’s economy and society, which should be supported with improvements in key areas such as drivers’ working conditions and decarbonisation.”