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2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 330 E/147

(2000/C 330 E/166) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0382/00

by Juan Ojeda Sanz (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(14 February 2000)

Subject: Information and direction signs for international traffic on the trans-European road network

One of the main features of the trans-European network is ‘interoperability’. The European Commission,
working together with the Member States, has made considerable efforts to achieve this, in accordance
with the provisions of the Maastricht Treaty. The Motorway Working Group and the Action Start
subgroup were established to work towards the creation of Community rules to harmonise various
technical aspects, including information and direction signs within the trans-European road network
(TERN), in order to ensure interoperability.

However, despite the efforts of the Action Start subgroup, information and direction signs within the
TERN continue to be characterised by a lack of continuity and harmonisation.

Does the Commission intend to draw up Community rules to reflect the conclusions of the work of the
Action Start subgroup?

What additional measures does the Commission intend to take, in the light of the report of the Action
Start subgroup, to ensure interoperability within the trans-European road network and minimise the
confusion which the current lack of harmonisation of information and direction signs creates for the
international traffic which uses it?

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(17 March 2000)

The Vienna Convention on road signs and signals (1) establishes a common system for warning, priority,
prohibitory and mandatory road signs, but contains only very general rules for direction signs.

The Start Action, in 1994, which aimed at evaluating the interoperability needs for the establishment of
the Trans European road network (TERN), firstly recommended that Member States apply this Convention,
and secondly proposed that the Community complements it with other requirements. The Commission
recognised that the harmonisation of road signs would be perceived by European citizens as a strong
symbol of European integration, it considered however that such legislative action was not opportune as
two Member States have not signed the Vienna Convention (Ireland, Netherlands) and three others have
not ratified it (Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom), even if they largely apply it.

However the current revision process for the Community guidelines on the development of the Trans
European transport network offers the opportunity to reassess this position. The Commission will consider
how best to ensure the interoperability and quality of the TEN-T in its report on the revision of the
Community guidelines that will be submitted to the Parliament and Council in the middle of 2000.

(1) Convention on road signs and signals, adopted by the United Nations  Economic commission for Europe, of
8 November 1968, revised in 1993 and 1995.

(2000/C 330 E/167) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0383/00

by Juan Ojeda Sanz (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(14 February 2000)

Subject: Adaptation to technical progress of motor vehicles

The accession of the European Community, by decision of the Council, to the agreement of the United
Nations Economic Commission for Europe on the adoption of technical specifications for motor vehicles
(more commonly known as the Revised 1958 Agreement) was a decisive step towards the stated firm
political commitment to eliminating technical trade barriers within the European Union.