From the EUCG President, Paul Murphy
All in all, 2017 was another good year for the EUCG , with some noteworthy successes. Positive highlights include:
- Close collaboration with the European Cycling Federation on the development of a blueprint for a European Cycling Strategy: it was a pity that, in the end, our EU Authorities did not see fit to adopt the strategy. But at least the ECF’s vast consultation exercise clarified what needs to be done and hopefully moved cycling up the collective EU agenda.
- Launch of local cycling groups: I note in particular the European Parliament cycling group. It’s hard to believe that this very dynamic group was only created in February following a very well attended inaugural EMAS/EUCG meeting with EP staff. The ECFIN cycling group also came into being following VeloMai and has been instrumental in getting official support for more bike parking space in the Charlemagne Building.
- Launch of the 1st Commission-wide VeloMai challenge: Thanks, in large part, to EUCG efforts, 2017 was the year that the Commission’s DG HR embraced cycling. As a result, cycling became part of the revised fit@work action plan and Velomai 2017 was both an official “corporate” campaign, sponsored by DG HR and the OIB, and a bottom-up experience, with participation by 1661 colleagues in all DGs and executive agencies. Indeed, the Velomai campaign won the award for best cycling practice in the “enterprise ‘” category at the Brussels bike Salon in September. This was an important recognition, from the host community of our efforts to promote cycling and I was proud to be on the podium, along with representatives of DG HR and OIB, to receive the award from Brussels Region State Secretary for Road Safety, Bianca Debaets, on behalf of the Commission’s cycling staff.
- In the Parliament, the newly created EUCG cycling group needed more time to organise their own VeloMai-type campaign, which they did in September/October, with the participation of about 250 colleagues. The participation of the European Parliament’s Director General for Personnel in the closing ceremony on 20 October augurs well for official EP participation in next year’s VeloMai campaign. Indeed the signs are, following EUCG contacts with the Council, that the 2018 VeloMai campaign will be interinstitutional.
- Finalisation of our 2020 vision for mobility in Brussels: We sent this summary of our main mobility proposals to Commissioner Oettinger in November. We would like the new Commission staff mobility plan to aim for a 20% share for staff cycling to work by 2020 with accompanying measures for infrastructure, anti-theft etc. As the 2017 OIB staff survey gave a result of 13.5% currently cycling to work, with the right support and resources, this target looks to be achievable.
- Cooperation with the Commission Local staff committee: just a few years ago, the EUCG had difficulty getting a hearing from the Commission staff committee. Now, however, many trade unions have a positive cycling policy and the EUCG has been working closely in a participatory process to help the staff committee develop sustainable mobility policies that could be could be fed into the next Commission staff mobility plan. The highlight event in this process was the lunchtime conference on 24 November with Pascal Smet, Brussels Region Minister for Mobility as keynote speaker.The Commission OIB Director and the Mobility manager at Belfius Bank also spoke at the event, which was moderated by former EUCG President and attended by over 100 interested staff members. On 30 November, 6 Focus groups did further work on the main mobility issues and it is hoped that staff committee president will be able to send the final staff contribution to the Commission in early 2018.
- Finally I note a significant increase in EUCG membership to over 2000 by the end of the year. The continuing increase in our membership mirrors the growing importance of cycling as a means of mobility within the institutions and makes our voice one that matters in our continuing dialogue with the institutions and the wider host community.
Season’s greetings and best wishes for 2018.