Transport in the European Union

The Schengen Area enables border control-free travel between 26 European countries.
Approximate extent of completed motorway network in Europe as of Dec 2012

Transport in the European Union is a shared competence of the Union and its member states. The European Commission includes a Commissioner for Transport, currently Violeta Bulc. Since 2012, the Commission also includes a Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport which develops EU policies in the transport sector and manages funding for Trans-European Networks and technological development and innovation, worth €850 million yearly for the period 2000–2006.

Air transport

The European Aviation Safety Agency has regulatory and executive tasks in the field of civilian aviation safety, such as issuing type certificates.

The Commission has also taken the initiative for a Single European Sky to co-ordinate the design, management and regulation of airspace in the Union.

The EU also participates in Eurocontrol, which coordinates and plans air traffic control for all of Europe.

Water transport

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) is charged with reducing the risk of maritime accidents, marine pollution from ships and the loss of human lives at sea by helping to enforce the pertinent EU legislation.

Railway transport

The European Railway Agency has the mandate to create a competitive European railway area, by increasing cross-border compatibility of national systems, and in parallel ensuring the required level of safety. The ERA sets standards for European railways in the form of ERA Technical Specifications for Interoperability, which apply to the Trans-European Rail network.

The first EU directive for railways requires allowing open access operations on railway lines by companies other than those that own the rail infrastructure. It does not require privatisation, but does require the separation of infrastructure management and operations. The directive has led to reorganisations of many national railway systems.

The EU has also taken the initiative of creating the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), a single standard for train control and command systems, to enhance cross-border interoperability and the procurement of signalling equipment.

Road transport

Germany, Spain and France possess the most extensive network of motorways exceeding 10,000 km each. This figure is more than double to any other European country. Similarly, their rail infrastructure surpasses 15,000 km.[1] The total investment reached 6,000 millions for Spain and nearly double of this for Germany and France.[1] In terms of their population and territorial extension the Netherlands and Belgium have a better coverage and higher investment per square kilometer.[1]

Rail and motorway extension per unit area for some European Countries.[1]


The EU currently cooperates with the European Space Agency, which is expected to become an EU agency in 2014. One of their projects is the satellite navigation system Galileo.


  1. 1 2 3 4 European railways and motorways infrastructure (2013),, with data from BBSR, BBR, Germany.

See also

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