European transport operators offer Ukrainian citizens free travel by train, bus, boat or plane, which is much appreciated, according to a resolution on the impact of Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine on the transport and tourism sector of the EU, adopted on Thursday by a show of hands. Transport is a strategic tool for the EU to bring solidarity and support to Ukraine and its people, MEPs add.
They point out that the war in Ukraine has wreaked havoc on the EU transport sector due to rising fuel prices and disruption of supply chains. MEPs believe that EU transport operators with links to the Russian market should be supported as they redirect their operations away from Russia.
Aeronautics and maritime
MEPs are concerned about the serious repercussions of the war on the aviation sector, deploring that Russia, in flagrant violation of international civil aviation rules, forced planes leased from foreign companies to re-register in the register of Russian aircraft. “Such flights cannot be tolerated,” say MEPs, demanding the immediate return of these planes to their rightful owners.
The resolution also calls on the EU to further tighten sanctions against the Russian maritime sector and to refuse to allow ships that have docked in Russia en route to the EU to enter EU ports. In addition, all vessels wishing to call at an EU port should be prohibited from refueling in Russian ports, the text adds.
The European Council’s decision to drastically cut funds for military mobility was a mistake that undermines European security, say MEPs. They ask the Commission to find a solution to significantly increase the military mobility budget under the Connected Europe Facility programme.
The EU should help member states develop dual-use infrastructure and transport interconnections within the EU, but also with the Western Balkans, Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine, MEPs add, arguing also for the extension of the trans-European transport network to Ukraine and Moldova.
Help tourism help Ukraine
MEPs also call on EU countries to support hotels and short-term rental services in the EU that host Ukrainian refugees. They call on the Commission to establish a temporary EU financial program to support tourism businesses that hire people fleeing war.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the current war have shown that an EU agency for tourism and a European crisis management mechanism must be put in place urgently to respond adequately and quickly to large-scale crises. magnitude, such as pandemics, wars, humanitarian crises and the impact of climate change, say MEPs.