Kinnock proves his mettle on transport

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Indy Politics
Neil Kinnock, former Labour leader and one-time opponent of Britain's EU membership, yesterday wooed Euro-MPs on his debut in Brussels as a Eurocrat, with a mixture of humour and Welsh charm.

He also showed an impressive command of the transport portfolio which will be his when his five-year term as an EU commissioner is endorsed by MEPs in Strasbourg on 18 January.

The Senate-style hearings in Brussels were designed to test the 19 incoming commissioners' policies and commitments before their final approval. But there was never any difficulty for a man who brought a fractious Labour Party through difficult years in opposition.

Yesterday Mr Kinnock promised public transport systems which will be cheap and efficient - including an end to airline delays by pushing for a EU-wide air traffic control system. He said he would be presenting a "Citizen's Network" proposal early next year because "transport is a daily concern to our fellow citizens as they suffer dangers, delay, congestion, isolation, expense and pollution".

"It is self-evident that advances in standards of transport efficiency and accessibility are fundamental to employment opportunities, growth, competitiveness and social well-being," he told the hearing.

At times he spoke fluently in Euro-jargon about "interoperability between modes of transport", and at one stage he promised a Green Paper on "intermodality in passenger transport"..

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