Cycling Industries Europe 2023 Summit marked the start of a new era for cycling in EU policy. Executive Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans announced that the EU institutions will complete an ambitious cycling declaration 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 EU stakeholders and industry leaders in Brussels, Timmermans was joined by MEP Karima Delli and Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Mobility 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 stating: “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, thanked Timmermans, Delli and Gilkinet for their leadership on the Declaration and underlined the cycling industry’s will to meet their expectations. His praise turned to 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.”
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.
Then ensuing EU Cycling Strategy Panel gave industry leaders from different cycling sectors, mobility analysts and public local authorities the floor to express their views and expectations on how to put in practice the European Parliament’s resolution. They maintained that cycling is the solution to some of Europe’s most pressing challenges, from providing zero carbon mobility to our cities and helping to fight against the climate emergency, to growing a resilient economy with 2 million green jobs by 2030. Hence, cycling industries must have the resources to provide the products and services that will enable more people to ride and support the creation of a sustainable and digitalized sector.
Participants enjoyed a networking lunch in the lavish lobby of the historic KVS Theater – a venue commended by Frans Timmermans in his inaugural speech for its importance for Dutch-speaking culture in Belgium - before being whisked back into the afternoon session dedicated to EU industrial policy and its foreseen impact on cycling in Europe.
European Commission Industry (DG GROW) Director Joaquim Nunes de Almedia set the scene by announcing the cycling will now be considered as an integral part of the so-called mobility industry ecosystem, with a dedicated workplan overseen by the EU executive and specific support to accelerate the sector’s digital and green transition.
ABIMOTA’s Gil Nadais and Sergio Ribeiro showcased the potential of cycling industry clusters with the Portugal Bike Valley success story and EIT Manufacturing’s Konstantinos Georgoulias highlighted the possibilities for the cycling industry to get more involved in European innovation and green manufacturing projects. CIE Industry Manager Jacques Lovell wrapped up the afternoon keynote session by spelling out what ‘more Europe’ meant in practical terms for the cycling industry.
In turn, a panel bringing together industry leaders and shapers discussed the industrial transition through the lens of politics, sustainability and digitalisation. Panellists warmed to MEP Karima Delli’s earlier call for genuine action, underlining the importance of regulatory stability, re-shoring production to Europe and the need to accelerate industry collaboration, notably to share more data and facilitate compliance with a growing list of reporting requirements.
This historic day for cycling in European policy came to a close with a final call to action by President Tony Grimaldi: “Be part of the solution and join CIE!”, before thanking participants and predicting that next year’s CIE Summit will again be celebrated under the hallmark of success because “Cycling is the answer!”.
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