EC authorises French aid of less polluting transport
Brussel, Belgie – The Commission on 9 november 2005 gave the French authorities the go-ahead to modify an aid scheme it had authorised on 5 March 2003 to limit greenhouse gas emissions caused by transport activities. The changes which the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe) has made to the multiannual scheme comply with the objectives of sustainable development, in conformity with the European Union’s commitments in the framework of the Kyoto Protocol.
Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot, responsible for transport, took this occasion to say: â€œEuropeans are travelling more and more. The action planned by France will make all types of transport more environmentally friendly and will contribute to our goal of making sustainable mobility a key element in quality of lifeâ€.
The French Environment and Energy Management Agency may grant aid until 2007 within the initial budget (maximum EUR 22 million a year) to promote a series of measures to look at how transport is organised and to encourage the development of clean, fuel-saving vehicles.
The measures proposed by France follow the thinking set out in the Green Paper â€œTowards a European strategy for the security of energy supplyâ€ and the White Paper â€œEuropean transport policy: time to decideâ€ which recommend using cleaner modes of transport that make more efficient use of energy to counter energy dependence and fulfil Europeâ€™s environmental commitments.
This scheme will enable local authorities and transport companies to incorporate the environmental dimension more effectively in transport projects. It will provide financial support for studies for the evaluation of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions and for the development of combined road/sea transport. It will also encourage individuals and firms to acquire electric vehicles, filters to eliminate pollution from old vehicles, and vehicles that use more environmentally friendly fuels, in particular natural gas.
The Commission considered that some of these measures could be regarded as State aid. However, it has judged that the aid is compatible with the common market as it has an environmental objective and meets certain criteria or because it is aimed at the development of combined transport and intermodal transfer, which are of common interest.
The decision will soon be available on the European Commissionâ€™s website:
 Pursuant to Article 87(3)(c) of the EC Treaty
 These criteria are given in the Community guidelines on State aid for environmental protection â€“ Official Journal of the European Communities C 37, 3 February 2001, p. 3