Transport Commissioner joins Europe’s cyclists
Nobody was sure how Commissioner Bulc would make her debut in the European Parliament, but she put her best foot forward and cycled there from her office in the Commission headquarters.
It may seem like a small symbolic gesture, but it shows the Commissioner is going to be doing things a bit differently. Some may say, with Brussels traffic being among the worst in Europe, it was also a small act of political courage.
The Slovenian Commissioner was joined on her journey by Michael Cramer MEP (DE, Green), Chairman of the Transport Committee and Manfred Neun, President of the European Cyclists’ Federation.
The ride was to mark the opening of the Cycling Forum Europe in the parliament, where advocates can discuss with policymakers.
Around 250 million Europeans use cycles and they are becoming more important in business, health and tourism.
Commissioner Bulc, at the beginning of her five year term told New Europe that she had been given a warm welcome by the cyclists and she was looking forward to developing cycling during her term.
“I’m sure that we’re going to find the right place for cycling policies,” she added.
Speaking for the cyclists, Manfred Neun, ECF President praised the commissioner, saying she had shown she was showing that she was interested in more than words. “I’m looking forward to sometimes challenging debates with the Commissioner," he said.
“But we will remember this!” joked Bulc.
Neun added, “There is no better way to bring sustainable growth than through cycling. We have shown that the European Cycling economy is worth over €200bn per year and 650,000 jobs, bigger than many member states. These are green, sustainable jobs and they are set to grow to over a million jobs by 2020.”
Michael Cramer MEP said, “The cycling sector has proven abilities. Now is the time for Europe to show leadership and take its development to the next level. Cycling can rise to the many challenges that Europe faces during this Parliament’s term and beyond.”
Cramer said, “Because she comes by bike and in Slovenia I know she was the only one in the government who went to meetings by bike. This is a great way to show you don’t need to travel by car all the time.”
Cramer said he wants to see more spending on cycle routes, adding that the Transport Committee had already voted for it, but lost in the plenary. However, he expects to win the second time around.