Discussion Future of Mobility with European Commissioners Věra Jourová and Violeta Bulc
Transport and mobility have not been one of the main priorities of the European Union for many years. Furthermore, mobility was not considered to be a political matter. Today, mobility is one of the EU’s priorities. How will mobility develop? How will Europe face the new challenges such as a rise of AI and increase of pollution caused by transportation?
Institute for politics and society organized a debate on the Future of mobility on 20th of May 2019 which took place in CAMP – Center for Architecture and Metropolitan Planning in Prague, Czech Republic.
The main speakers were Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality and Violeta Bulc, Commissioner for Transport.
To the debate also with Violeta Bulc contributed and answered the questions in discussion panel Radim Jančura, Founder and Director of Student Agency, Milena Jabůrková, Vice president of Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic and Silvana Jirotková, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic.
The moderator was Martina Dlabajová, Member of European Parliament.
At the beginning of the event Věra Jourová mentioned that AI in connection not only with mobility will change the way we think. She made a reference to necessity of safe AI that will not harm the people or endanger their security. Technological changes cannot be implemented at the expense of safety. The main rules of technology and AI must be written in the way of not interfere the technological advancement.
European Union is one of the biggest economic world powers. EU has to promote science and keep the intelligence in Europe. It is known that scientists and youth talents are leaving to find better conditions for science and research work. She also pointed out a good investment strategy and a reasonable regulatory scene that will not hinder the technological development.
The European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc pointed out that instead of criticizing the EU one has to look at the benefits of membership. She mentioned kilometers of new railways and roads, plenty of job offers, opportunities to explore new places or study abroad. Thanks to European Union, more than 20 thousand Czech crowns every year is invested in every Czech citizen.
She continued to the main subject of debate – future of mobility and transport. Years ago, mobility was not considered to be a political matter. Now it is one of the main priorities of European Union. With no transport there would not have been tourism, movement, capital accumulation. The development of transport also has the negative aspects. The environment impact of transport is significant because transport is a major user of energy. This creates air pollution and is a significant contributor to global warming. Mrs. Bulc presented the possibilities of reduction the individual vehicle´s emission by increase of transport electrification, energy efficiency and autonomous vehicles. The main strategy of EU to decrease the air pollution is separated into four steps – decarbonisation including clean vehicles, alternative sources of energy, better organization of transport and behavioural change. Digitalisation, new technologies and big data have the potential to change the way cargo and traffic flows are organised and managed, they generate business opportunities and pave the way for innovation, new services and business models. Investment plans for Europe are concentrated on the strategic sections of Europe´s transport network to ensure the highest EU added-value and impact. Innovation offer solutions in a wide range of transport applications; futuristic systems for moving people and freight in cities, services for people with reduced mobility and emergency services, a robot platform, parking, railway and cycling.
This summary is about the discussion about the Future of mobility from 20:00 to 21:30. During the discussion, the moderator, Martina Dlabajová asked a question about the future of mobility to each speaker.
Firstly, Violeta Bulc was asked if we are ready for a full digital transport, that includes the level skills of the people. How is it possible to assist them? And how to work together to assist them? According to Violeta Bulc, we will need 30 years to readjust and to get ready for a full digital transport. This concerns not only cars but also ships, trains…
A new digital transport will create new opportunities for people, as it will create new types of jobs. Consequently, the readjustments will need to be made in different levels. In education, the role of universities will be important. Moreover, new trainings for employees will need to be adopted. The role of Research and Development will also be increasingly important, and the digitalization of transport will be difficult but in an optimistic view, it will be reachable.
For Radim Jančura, a full digital transport is helpful and in the public interest. It also allows companies to have long term solutions, particularly by getting new global clients. According to him, autonomous cars can be produced quicker (10 years) and he believes that the development of high-speed highways is necessary in countries like Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Regarding the challenges and opportunities for the Czech industry, Milena Jabůrková emphasizes on the fact that there are many opportunities for the Czech industry as the current government offers an optimal ecosystem for companies. Today, Czech Republic has a great variety of companies, from startups to big players. The country has also several strategies as a country of future and has a government that supports technology. At the EU level, and in a single market system, the automotive industry has a lot of potential and technology needs support from all stakeholders. Industry needs support and commitment of EU members states.
Regarding if the Czech Republic is ready and how to support mobility, Silvana Jirotková has an optimistic point of view. She agrees that there are great opportunities but also challenges. The government has agreed on several strategies, such as the National AI Strategy, and we need to continue to implement new technologies and approaches of the use of innovation. At the same time, there is the Czech investment agency that wants to support innovations and the mobility industry.
After that, the moderator asked about how to motivate countries in these projects? And how to connect the public sector with the private sector?
According to Silvana Jirotková, there is a mutual interest for government (and public sector in general) and private companies. They need to cooperate. Milena Jabůrková agrees on the importance of e-mobility, but also emphasizes that it includes many sustainable issues such pollution, and customers issues. Consequently, transformations will need mutual work from everybody.
Violeta Bulc emphasizes on the fact that the role of the EU is important in facilitating partnerships between the public and private sectors. The partnerships between these two sectors are already existing and it goes beyond the Czech Republic. New instruments and incentives will need to be set up. Finally, Radim Jančura agrees that we need liberalization and the support of the European Commission is necessary.