Today, 9 March, at the Cycling Industries Europe Summit, European Commission Executive-Vice President Frans Timmermans, announced that the EU institutions will complete an ambitious cycling plan this year, including commitments to increase funding for infrastructure and industrial growth. This follows a resolution passed by the European Parliament in February which called on the Commission and Member States to take actions to double cycling in the EU.
In front of a packed house of industry leaders in Brussels, Timmermans was joined by MEP Karima Delli and Belgian Transport Minister Georges Gilkinet representing the Parliament and Member States. Both confirmed that the proposed Cycling Declaration will be inter-institutional, representing the EU’s highest level of political commitment for cycling.
Saying that Europe must have a role in supporting cycling, Timmermans announced the declaration saying: “I am announcing an initiative to boost the bike in Europe. The Commission will propose a European Cycling Declaration and invite the Parliament and Council to join and make this an inter-institutional agreement. We will include principles for supporting cycling, along with access to tools and funds. This will ensure our citizens will not only have the right to cycle on paper, but access to support. European instruments must be used to double cycling in Europe!”
Timmermans also welcomed the adoption of the recent European Parliament resolution on developing a European Cycling Strategy, calling it a “huge democratic mandate for cycling” making his job in the European Commission easier. With momentum for more European support for cycling building, he said that now is the right time for a Declaration, saying that this ‘is the way’.
Tony Grimaldi, President of CIE responded positively to the announcements, thanking Timmermans, Delli and Gilkinet for their leadership on the Declaration, especially Karima Delli for the strong collaboration with the European cycling associations that created ambitious targets for the cycling plan, doubling the level of cycling in Europe and creating one million new, green cycling jobs.
Speaking to the attendees, Grimaldi said: “Today we are proud that the three EU institutions are coming together at the CIE Summit to announce their latest plans for an EU Cycling Declaration. The CIE Summit has become an essential milestone for all our cycling stakeholders to come together and share what we can do for Europe.”
He continued: “However, today is not the day to say ‘job done’, today is when we take the next steps. The Commission must now produce final EU Cycling Declaration that takes concrete actions to deliver these goals, and we in the cycling industry will show again that we are the greenest, smartest, most reliable partners in the European Mobility Ecosystem.”
Jill Warren, CEO of the European Cyclists’ Federation said: “ECF welcomes today’s announcement that the Commission will act on the Parliament’s resolution and elevate cycling to a strategic priority. As part of this, more funding for high quality, safe cycling infrastructure will be key to doubling cycling levels in Europe.”
In the detailed announcement for the EU Cycling Declaration Frans Timmermans said that the Commission will produce a vision for cycling by the summer, supported by detailed proposals on the actions to be taken to deliver the plans. This must include funding for infrastructure, a review of regulations and support for cycling industries in the EU’s industrial strategies. It is expected that the Parliament and European Council of Member States will complete their review of the plan by the end of 2023.