European Conference of European Ministers of Transport

The ECMT (European Conference of European Ministers of Transport) is a forum for policy issues of relevance to the transport modes of rail, roads, inland waterways, plus intermodal transport. It has 43 full members, six associate members and one observer country. Austria has been a (founder) member since 1953. The ECMT is very important, especially for cooperation with countries which are not Member States of the European Union.

logo of the European Conference of Ministers of Transport

How is the ECMT structured and how does it work?

Conference bodies

  • the Council of the Conference, which holds a ministerial session once a year in the Member State currently holding the chairmanship (the chairmanship changes every year: 2004 Slovenia, 2005 Russia, 2006 Ireland, 2007 Bulgaria, 2008 Finland, 2009 Turkey);
  • the Secretariat is based in Paris (headed by a Secretary-General);
    the Committee of Deputies represents the ministers and prepares ministerial documents, 2 - 3 meetings a year;
  • the working groups discuss specialist transport issues at civil servant level, supporting the Committee of Deputies, 1-3 meetings a year).

There are currently working groups on the following topics

  • Intermodal Transport and Logistics (jointly with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe - UNECE)
  • Road Transport
  • the Multilateral Quota (sub-group)
  • Transport and Environment
  • Combating Crime and Terrorism in Transport
  • Railways (jointly with UNECE)
  • Integration of New Member States
  • Trends in International Traffic (currently inactive)
  • Statistics
  • Access and Inclusion (People with Mobility Handicaps)
  • Road Safety
  • Inland Waterways (currently inactive)
  • Sustainable Urban Travel
  • Joint Transport Research Committee (JTRC)

What are the results of the ECMT's work?

Significance of its decisions

Decisions of the Council of Ministers have to be taken unanimously. Decisions may take the form of resolutions, recommendations or other acts, for example reports adopted. These are not binding in law. Where a resolution is passed, the ministers give a "political undertaking" to have it transposed into national law. Decisions have binding force under international law only where they are contained in an international agreement. To date there are just two such decisions: the ASOR Agreement on driving and rest times in the carriage of passengers by road using coach and bus services and the EUROFIMA Agreement on railway rolling stock.

ECMT Multilateral Quota System

The ECMT has its own multifacetted system of quotas for road freight transport, enabling carriers from all full member countries to carry out multilateral transport operations in the area covered by the ECMT. The grant and use of licences is subject to strict criteria which stipulate vehicle categories amongst other things. The fleet of EMCT-licensed vehicles on Europe's roads is one of the most modern in existence. 2006 will see the introduction of EURO 4 heavy goods vehicles, which are significantly less polluting.