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Britain backs loss of EU transport veto

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BRITAIN WILL give up its right of veto on European Union transport policies to help press ahead with legislation to aid the expansion of European transport networks, it was revealed this week.

Current EU law needs a unanimous vote from all 15 member states to frame EU transport directives 'likely to have a serious effect on the standard of living and on employment in certain areas'.But a Government White Paper on reforming the European Union, published this week, recommends that all decisions on EU transport policy are replaced by a system of majority voting.

The UK is expected to use the new system to lobby for new laws to free up movement of goods and people across the EU. This will give new opportunities for British public transport operators to break into protected markets in other EU states.

Member states with nationalised rail systems, such as France, are known to be against opening up commercial access to transport networks.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: 'Liberalisation of access is blocked under the unanimous voting system at the moment. It's fair to say that this is a transport policy the UK would promote.' A decision on whether to concede the transport veto is expected in June after a votein Parliament.

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