Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-05-09-Speech-3-182"

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". Madam President, it is a pleasure to be able to present this report on behalf of the committee tonight. I would like to pay tribute to my colleague, Mr Gargani, who handled the report at first reading – a substantial amount of work was done by Parliament at that stage. I should also like to thank the Commission and the Council, because we have worked very hard together on an extremely complex and technical proposal. In total it is a report of almost 400 pages, which must be one of the biggest reports to come before this Parliament. In particular, Commissioner, I would like to thank your own staff – Mr Schulte-Braucks and Mr Delneufcourt, who I think has been largely responsible for many of those 400 pages. I think he deserves a special mention this evening. This is a very important report in terms of completing the internal market for motor vehicles. The whole basis of technical regulation for motor vehicles was one of the earliest areas of harmonisation within the European single market, but it has taken until now for us to have a fully comprehensive type-approval framework for all categories of motor vehicles, trailers, major component systems and critical components. Therefore, on Europe Day, I think this is a notable achievement that we have reached at this stage. This of course means that we will get the benefits of improved environmental and safety standards for vehicles, consistent and independent validation of performance and that true level playing field we often hear businesses talking about. We have actually achieved that in this case. In particular, I think the ability of manufacturers of all scales and sizes to be able to get their vehicles approved by a national type-approval authority to a European regulation and to be able to sell those vehicles in every market across the European Union is a major step forward. At second reading we have an unusually large number of amendments that were tabled and will be voted on tomorrow. These reflect a lot of further improvement and work on our part. I would just like to highlight some of those points this evening. I am particularly grateful to the Council, also, and I am pleased that Mr Deldrup will be speaking as well, which I think is an indication of the importance that the Council attaches to this important file. First of all, we have had some debate to finalise some of the issues around the type-approval for buses and the timescale for that. The bus sector is important because this type-approval directive brings into play the bus directive that many of us worked on. This brings with it notable safety improvements and important issues like disability access to all types of buses. This will essentially be brought into play as the single homologation approval framework for buses across the European Union. The second aspect, which was a new element of the directive added between first and second reading, was the provision to apply a new scheme of type approvals for after-market parts, which affected the environmental and safety systems of vehicles. It is important that we have an approval process for those categories of parts so that we have very full consumer protection in that area. But equally this brings the whole of the type-approval process into the focus of many small and medium-sized businesses. Therefore, together with the other institutions, I worked hard to ensure that we had a very effective procedure, first of all for identifying those parts and to ensure that the producers of those parts were involved in that, and to develop the new test standards that would be required for approval. But of course, having done that, it allows the producers of those parts, and particularly tuning and other companies, to have access to the single market with a single approval. I think that is a major benefit that they are very pleased to have. Another aspect that we looked at was the approval procedure for small series vehicles. Mr Gargani asked for the lower volume vehicle limit to be raised and a compromise has been reached to raise that to a thousand vehicles for simplified type approval, a major benefit for the smaller serious producers. We also identified that there was an important category of vehicle for disabled users – ‘wheelchair accessible vehicles’ – which were series volume vehicles modified to allow access by wheelchair passengers. With the support of the Commission and the Council, I propose that we should devise a new category for that type of vehicle. The producers of those vehicles, which are growing in importance, are very pleased to be recognised in that way and are also confident that this will bring into play a new attention to the needs of disabled users, as well as the strength and fittings of wheelchairs and so on. We will have a vehicle here in Brussels tomorrow to show what we have achieved. In conclusion, this is a very important step forward for the single market. It has been my privilege to handle it on behalf of Parliament and I commend it to this House for support tomorrow."@en1

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