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Competition Policy

Overview (Transport & Tourism)

Transport and Climate Change

More transport and more connectivity also generally means more pollution, and transport is responsible for an increasing share of greenhouse gas emissions accounting for 20% of total EU emissions in 2019. Road transport generally is responsible for the greatest share of these emissions, accounting for some 71% of overall transport carbon dioxide emissions. Other sectors pollute significantly less – with maritime and aviation accounting for 14% and 13% respectively and inland waterways accounting for around 2%.  Rail transport is the least polluting mode accounting for less than 1% of the total. Meeting the EU’s climate change targets will necessitate major reductions in these emissions. Competition policy, and in particular the state aid rules, can play a part in contributing to overall reductions by facilitating and encouraging a move to less polluting forms of travel such as rail and inland waterways, to the use of less polluting fuels and to the use of more fuel-efficient vessels, automobiles and aircraft.

Liberalisation of Transport Markets

As more transport markets have been liberalized these markets have been brought within the generally applicable competition law framework. Council Regulation 1/2003, which defines the extent of the Commission’s investigative and enforcement powers, now covers the application of the competition rules to all transport activities.

Most regulations granting sector-specific exemptions have been repealed over the years. There is now only one remaining – the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation – which relates to certain agreements between consortia in the maritime sector. The current Consortia Block Exemption Regulation was extended in 2020 for a period of four years to 24 April 2024.


Air transport is of vital importance for consumers, other sectors, and the economy as a whole. The air transport market within the EU has expanded over the past three decades and particularly since liberalization, in terms of size, scope, demand and connectivity. [ read more ]

Maritime transport: the carriage of goods by sea is generally regarded as a key sector for trade within the EU as well as globally. [ read more ]

Rail transport services in the EU, including both passenger and freight services, have been provided historically, and in the main, by publicly owned monopolies. [ read more ]