Updated: 16/01/2018

Chapter 14 - Transport Policy


The transport policy of the European Union aims to enhance the operation of the internal market via providing safe, secure, efficient and environmentally friendly transport services.

EU transport policies aim at fostering clean, safe and efficient travel throughout Europe, underpinning the internal market of goods and the right of citizens to travel freely throughout the EU. Within this context, transport policy priorities are defined as follows: setting up balanced structures of transport among different modes, improving intermodality and interconnections and overcoming bottlenecks. 

Since users constitute the focal point of the transport policy and there is a need for the sustainability of the transport services; common, uniform and mandatory implementations have been put into force through the adoption of new legislation in the area of road safety, passenger rights, social aspects and working conditions of the sector, decreasing negative environmental effects. 

According to the Treaty of Rome, transport is one of the areas for which common policies have to be adopted (Article 3, paragraph (e) of the Treaty). Transport Policy is in the center of the idea of a fully liberalized internal market and of the idea of the freedom of travel.


The Transport Policy chapter includes the following topics:

- Road Transport
- Rail Transport
- Maritime Transport
- Air Transport

The main areas regulated by the EU Transport Policy Chapter are as the following; 

The main principles of road transport policy are creating a sustainable, efficient, secure and safe road transport system via decreasing its negative environmental effects. In framework of these principles, the EU aims to promote efficient transport of passengers and goods via road, enabling fair competition, harmonizing safer and more environmentally friendly technical standards, providing a minimum level for financial and social harmonization, and non-discriminatory implementation of road transport rules of the Union. EU acquis in this field mainly deal with the issues such as; access to the market and pursuit of the occupation (Regulations (EC) 1071/2009(EC) 1072/2008 and (EC) 1073/2009), working hours, driving and resting periods and usage of digital tachograph (Regulation (EEC) 3821/85), minimum annual taxation and road usage charging of vehicles (Directive 1999/62/EC), driver licenses (Directive 2006/126/EC), maximum weight and dimensions (Directive 96/53/EC), transport of dangerous goods by road (Directive 2008/68/EC), minimum safety requirements in road tunnels (Directive 2004/54/EC).

EU rail transport legislation regulates the areas of market liberalization, interoperability and institutional framework, rail safety, and access to infrastructure, internal market, freight transport, passenger rights, employment and working conditions of the sector. The main reference legislation regarding the market liberalization is Directive 2012/34/EU establishing a single European railway area. Due to the fact that rail transport was state monopoly during the 90’s, market liberalization in the rail transport sector followed a gradual opening started with the opening of freight market and followed by passenger transport since the beginning of 2000’s. Today, national rail passenger traffic is still not open to competition (opening of the national rail passenger traffic will come in to force after the enforcement of 4th railway package which is adoption process). Interoperability which aims at unhampered rail transport services among the Member States is regulated by Directive 2008/57/EC and Commission Decisions on Technical Specifications for Interoperability.

Due to global dimension of maritime transport, this mode is mostly regulated by participation to or transposition of international conventions adopted by International Labor Organization (ILO) in the area of working conditions or International Maritime Organization (IMO) in the other areas of maritime transport. Within the framework of EU maritime legislation the issues of market access conditions and fair competition, state aid in maritime sector, maritime safety and security, working conditions and protection of marine environment are regulated. Since 2000’s, especially after the ERIKA and PRESTIGE accidents, maritime safety has turned to be the number one agenda item of the Commission. Therefore three maritime safety packages has been adopted since 2000. The last maritime safety package was adopted on 23 April 2009 and this package regulates the rules regarding port and flag state requirements, class societies, accident investigation, liability of the carrier, insurance and traffic monitoring. The most recent document on maritime transport is the “Communication on Strategic goals and recommendations for the EU’s maritime transport policy until 2018”. In this Communication the Commission presents the main strategic objectives for the European maritime transport system up to 2018. The Strategy identifies key areas like competitive, safe, secure, clean and quality shipping, where action by the EU will strengthen the competitiveness of the sector while enhancing its environmental performance.

Finally, acquis on air transport covers the issues such as; access to the market (Regulation (EC) 1008/2008), air traffic management (Regulations (EC) 549/2004, (EC) 550/2004, (EC) 551/2004, (EC) 552/2004(EC) 730/2006, (EC) 219/2007, (EC) 255/2010), aviation safety (Regulations (EC) 216/2008, (EC) 996/2010, Directive 2003/42/EC), aviation security (Regulation (EC) 300/2008), environment (Regulations (EC) 71/2008, (EC) 1702/2003), Directive 2002/30/EC), ground handling (Directive 96/67/EC), protection of consumers (Regulations (EC) 261/2004, (EC) 80/2009, (EC) 1107/2006). With these legislation, the EU aviation sector became a free and harmonized market.


Although there are provisions for the Common Transport Policy in the Treaty of Rome, it took about 30 years to shape European Transport Policies after the Treaty. The Policy’s political, institutional and budgetary fundamentals were strengthened with the Treaty of the EU (Treaty of Maastricht, 1993) and the Treaty presented the concept of ‘Trans-European Networks”, and all these made Europe-wide transport infrastructure planning possible.

Articles 90-100 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Treaty of Lisbon, 2009) are containing the provisions about transport, and via these provisions Member States accept the legislative prerogative of the Union.

1992 White Paper of the Commission mainly deals with the issues about liberalization of transport market and within a ten years period, the market has almost fully been opened to competition. The only sector in which fully liberalization could not be realized in this period is railway sector.

With the development of the Common Transport Policy, the consumer prices decreased while the quality of service and the number of options increased. On the other hand, the policy did not developed in a fully harmonized and regular manner and problems like congestion on main roads, airports and main rail corridors, damages on human health and environment, accidents etc. could not have been eliminated.

The second White Paper was published by the Commission in 2001 and a ten-year perspective for Common Transport Policy was created. Within the White Paper, proposals for setting up balanced structures of transport among different modes, improving intermodality and interconnections and overcoming bottlenecks were developed, resource constraints were addressed. After the White Paper, compulsory and harmonized legislation was adopted for aviation safety, safety agencies were established for railway, aviation and maritime transport, passenger rights and social aspect of transport policy developed. Besides, after 11 September 2001 attacks security policies for different types of transport modes and critical infrastructure were created.

The last White Paper published in 2011 presents the proposals for a sustainable development of transport systems of the EU until year 2050. It is predicted that the greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced 60 % in 2050 compared to 1990, and rate of oil-based transport and the congestions will be decreased.



The explanatory meetings of this chapter were held on June 26-29, 2006 and the Country Sessions were held on September 25-28, 2006. The opening of this chapter to negotiations with Turkey is still under discussion at the European Council and the screening report of this chapter has not been sent to Turkey. On the other hand, this chapter is one of the eight chapters which have Ankara Agreement Protocol issue as opening benchmark.



Chapter of Transport Policy involves the adoption and implementation of the EU acquis in the fields of road transport, rail transport, air transport and maritime transport. Information will be given about the studies and developments carried under these fields.

Road Transport

In the field of road transport, the objective is to have reputable and strong road transport carriers, which are at the same time financially and professionally competent, in order to institutionalize road transport in Turkey. Important progress has been achieved in alignment in this field and efforts to strengthen the implementation capacity are continuing. In order to improve road traffic safety, the legislative alignment to the EU acquis on social, technical and safety conditions is ongoing. In this respect, the digital tachograph system became obligatory on January 1, 2011 for vehicles registered after June 16, 2010 with a mass of more than 3,5 tones (for trucks) and carrying more than 9 persons (for buses) used in international transport. Turkey achieved its adaptation to the system via completing required legal and structural harmonization. For the vehicles used in national transport, relevant legislation enforcing the system obligatory has been issued and will be fully adapted in five years period.

Additionally, Turkey became a party to the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) on 22 February 2010.  By-law on Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road which contains provisions with regards to the implementation of this Agreement was published in the Official Gazette number 28801 on 24 October 2013.

Regarding the alignment of driver licenses with EU standards, Turkey became party to the Convention on Road Traffic and the European Agreement supplementing this convention and realized the required changes in the Law on Road Traffic (No. 2918) and the By-Law on Road Traffic. The new Turkish driving licences harmonized with the EU acquis were started to be issued with the very beginning of the year 2016.  Besides, a new circular was issued on 17.11.2012 (OG No: 28470) for scrapping commercial vehicles manufactured before 1990 till the end of 2013.

Rail Transport

As regards rail transport, the main purpose is to achieve the gradual liberalization of the rail transport market by opening it to the international competition and separating the functions of infrastructure managers and railway undertakings. In this context, Law on Liberalization of Turkish Rail Transport Sector was issued on 01.05.2013 (OG No: 28634). With this law, Turkish State Railways (TCDD) was reorganized as the infrastructure operator and a new state-owned company named TCDD Taşımacılık A.Ş. was established as a train operator.

Directorate General of Railway Regulation which was established by the Decree Law numbered 655 and published on the Official Journal dated 1 November 2011 on the Organization and Responsibilities of the Ministry of Transport, Maritime and Communication is the main authority responsible from the equitable and sustainable operation of this new liberalized structure of the sector.
By-law on Access to the Railway Infrastructure and Capacity Allocation was published in the Official Gazette No. 29343 of 2 May 2015. By-law on Registration of Railway Vehicles, By-law on Transport of Dangerous Goods by Rail and By-law on Investigation of Railway Accidents and Incidents were published in the Official Gazette No. 29418 of 16 July 2015. By-Law on Railway Safety was published in the Official Gazette No. 29537 of 19.11.2015. 

Maritime Transport

As regards maritime transport, remarkable progress was achieved, which is the outcome of continuous efforts for the improvement of the safety record of the Turkish fleet. Placement of the Turkish flag from high risk black list category to low risk white list in the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control is a clear indicator of improvements in the area of maritime safety. 

Maritime surveillance is an indispensable component of maritime safety and security. Turkey has been expressing her intention in taking part in EU’s Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) Data Centre, AIS (Automatic Identification System) and Network for Mediterranean and Vessel Traffic and Monitoring System (VTMIS). In the sub-committee meeting in 2009 in Ankara, Commission informed the Turkish side about the Council decision of December 11, 2008 on LRIT. The Decision is based on politically motivated criteria (Additional Protocol).  However, Turkey would like to reiterate that she is expecting a positive response to her cooperative efforts in this area. During the last year the Undersecretariat for Maritime Affairs (UMA) has prepared a Pre-Accession Sector Strategy and identified priority policy areas for short-term actions. The Directorate General for Coastal Safety and Salvage Operations established a long range identification and tracking system (LRIT) and the Turkish national LRIT data center is integrated with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Mobile Satellite Organisation (IMSO).

During the EU alignment process, Turkey has become party to most of the international conventions in the area of maritime transport. Turkey became a party to Protocol on Limitation on Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC 1996). Laws regarding becoming party to SOLAS-78, MARPOL Annexes III and IV, the 2000 Protocol on Preparedness, Response and Co-operation to Pollution Incidents by Hazardous and Noxious Substances and the International 2001 Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage was enacted. In 2014, Turkey became party to the Ballast Water Management Convention, the Convention on the Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, and Annex VI of the International Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. The Decision numbered 2016/8498 on Participation to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic was published on the Official Gazette numbered 29652 and dated March 13, 2016. Turkey also successfully completed its voluntary International Maritime Organization member audit in 2014, resulting in minor findings. 

Ministry of Transport, Maritime and Communication (with the Decree Law 655, Undersecretariat for Maritime Affairs has been reorganized as three directorate generals within the Ministry of Transport, Maritime and Communication)  also initiated a comprehensive annual training program on oil pollution preparedness and emergency response. Constructions of Emergency Response Centers began in 2006, funding from national financial resources. Within this framework, building works have started for a National Response Centre in Tekirdağ and a Regional Response Centre in Antalya. It is expected that National Emergency Response capacity will be operational by the end of 2017.

Air Transport

Regarding air transport, full harmonization with EU legislation has the perspective of full membership. On the other hand, regulations on occurrence reporting, on rating of air traffic controllers, on licensing of maintenance staff, on safety assessments of domestic and foreign aerial vehicles, on carriage of liquids on airplanes, on computerized reservation systems and on passenger rights have been implemented in accordance with the acquis.

The EU-Turkey Horizontal Aviation Agreement, which will constitute a new legal basis for relations in the aviation field has been initialed on March 25, 2010 and the procedure regarding the signing of the agreement is ongoing. Turkey has declared its willingness to be integrated in the aviation architecture that will emerge from the Single European Sky (SES) initiative and the studies for a better understanding of the SES are continuing. In this respect, in order to sign a comprehensive aviation agreement between Turkey and the EU, aviation dialogue meetings are being hold between Turkey and the Commission. With this regard Turkish Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications hosted “Turkey-EU Aviation Dialogue” meeting on April 19-20, 2012 in Istanbul. During the meeting, Turkey’s full membership and aviation relations between Turkey and the EU were discussed. Also, studies are continuing regarding signing a comprehensive air transport agreement between Turkey and the EU which will especially provide Turkey to be represented in the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency).

In order to overcome the lack of the DGCA in following the pace of growth and developments in the sector, an EU-funded project aiming to strengthen the institutional and administrative capacity in all working areas of the DG, especially in emission trading system (EU-ETS) and supervision of air navigation services (ANS) has recently begun and another project regarding construction of a civil aviation training center in İstanbul also begun in 2015.

Turkey – EU High Level Transport Dialogue

During his visit to Turkey in 2012, Vice President Siim Kallas proposed to establish a High Level Turkey-EU Transport Dialogue mechanism. In this framework, it was decided to continue High Level Turkey-EU Transport Dialogue as working group meetings at kick-off meeting in Brussels on 9 December 2013. In order to reach some solid results on different aspects of transport sector it is decided to form three working groups: First is the working group on rail transport together with Trans-European Transport policy, the second is the working group on road transport and last one is the working group on maritime transport.

Ministry of EU Affairs hosted the first working group meeting on rail transport together with TEN-T. During the meeting Turkish and European Commission side shared their opinions and relevant information on the areas of Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and rail transport with the common objective of enhancing the cooperation. The second working group meeting on road safety, intelligent transport systems and maritime transport was held in Brussels on 17 October 2014.



 Project Year/Number

 Project Title 

 Beneficiary Institution 

 State of


 Improvement of Road Safety in Turkey

 General Directorate of Highways



 Safer Seas: Upgrading of Turkish Coastal

 Directorate General of Coastal Safety



 Reform of the Turkish Railways

 Ministry of Transport, Maritime
 Affairs  and Communications
 (Turkish State Railways)



 Weight and Dimension Controls of Commercial

 Ministry of Transport, Maritime
 Affairs  and Communications



 Strengthening Intermodal Transport in Turkey

 Ministry of Transport, Maritime
 Affairs  and Communications



 Improved Maritime Education & Training in Turkey

 Ministry of Transport, Maritime
 Affairs  and Communications



 Control of Ship-Sourced Emissions in Turkey

 Ministry of Transport, Maritime
 Affairs  and Communications



Reform of the Turkish Railways (Phase II)

Ministry of Transport, Maritime
 Affairs  and Communications



Improvement Of Maritime Safety Regarding Handling Of Dangerous Goods At Ports And Coastal Facilities

Ministry of Transport, Maritime
 Affairs  and Communications



Capacity Building for Prevention of Marine Pollution Caused by Ship-Sourced Wastes

Ministry of Environment and Urbanization

Ministry of Transport, Maritime
 Affairs  and Communications /Coast Guard Command/ Antalya, Mersin, Kocaeli and İstanbul Metropolitan Municipalities



Strengthening Institutional and Administrative Capacity of the DGCA 

General Directorate of Civil Aviation



Capacity Building on Safety and Security Training Requirements of the Turkish Civil Aviation

General Directorate of Civil Aviation



Assistance on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (ESEI)

Ministry of Transport, Maritime
 Affairs  and Communications






























European Commission DG Mobility and Transport
Website for EU Legislation on Transport Policy
Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication
DG of Road Transport Regulation
DG of Highways
DG of Civil Aviation
DG of State Airports Authority
DG of Railway Transport Regulation
DG of State Railways
EU Delegation for Turkey

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