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The European Union has taken an important step to reduce transport emissions by adopting the European Declaration on Cycling.

This initiative, part of efforts to promote sustainable, accessible and affordable modes of transport, underlines the added value of cycling to the EU economy. With clear commitments to creating safe and coherent cycling networks, better connections to public transport, and safe parking and access to charging points for e-bikes, the declaration focuses on improving infrastructure and making cycling more attractive to the public .

The embrace of cycling as a core part of the European transport strategy was signed by Adina Vălean, the Commissioner for Transport, together with Karima Delli, Chair of the European Parliament's Transport Committee, and Georges Gilkinet, the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, on the sidelines of the informal Transport Council of Europe. This marks a significant step in recognizing the role of cycling in reducing pollution, easing urban congestion and promoting healthier lifestyles. Furthermore, it highlights the central role of cycling in European industry by driving innovation and growth and creating high-quality local jobs.

Georges Gilkinet, the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, strongly expressed the ambition behind this statement: “Today the EU is strongly committed to the bicycle, which is finally recognized as an essential part of the mobility strategy, as a fully-fledged means of transport.” His words reflect the wider European push for a greener, healthier future, with the ambitious goal of doubling the number of kilometers cycled in Europe by 2030.

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Adina Valean
Photo: Adina Vălean - European Commissioner for Transport

Adina Valean stressed the multifaceted benefits of cycling: “We recognize the numerous benefits of cycling: it reduces pollution, relieves urban congestion and promotes healthier lifestyles. Furthermore, cycling is a cornerstone of European industry, driving innovation and growth while creating high-quality local jobs. Embracing cycling is in line with the EU industrial strategy and its objectives.”

This declaration, proposed by the European Commission in October 2023 in response to requests from the European Parliament and Member States, serves as a joint political commitment and a strategic compass for existing and future policies and initiatives related to cycling. It emphasizes the need for cooperation at EU, national, regional and local levels to improve the quality and quantity of cycling infrastructure in Member States.

The benefits of this shift to bicycle-centric mobility are multifaceted, including a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. Gilkinet points to the potential to avoid up to 16 million tons of CO2 emissions through this strategy, underscoring the urgency and environmental benefits of the declaration. Moreover, the flourishing of a European bicycle industry would not only contribute to sustainable mobility, but also significantly strengthen the economy. According to Gilkinet, this sector has the potential to provide employment for a million people, which would further boost the EU's economic resilience.

Photography: Karima Delli – Melanie WENGER – © European Union 

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