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She’s back: Magda Kopczynska returns to lead Brussels transport policymaking

One of Europe’s most effective regulatory voices for cleaner and more sustainable shipping in recent years is returning to the frontline of transport policymaking.

Magda Kopczynska has been appointed director-general of the European Commission’s mobility and transport division.

Speaking to TradeWinds she immediately highlighted the need for sustainability, safety and resilience, and stressed the need to continue support for Ukraine.

The Polish official was the lead on shipping in ‘DG-MOVE’, as it is officially known in Brussels, until the end of last year when she was promoted to a more senior position in the Commission’s agriculture division.

Kopczynska has been reunited with Europe’s Transport Commissioner Adina Valean in the department’s mission to deliver innovative and sustainable transport on land, sea and in the air for the European Union’s 27 member nations.

“I am excited and honoured to be back in DG Mobility and Transport and this time as Director-General,” she told TradeWinds this week.

“Recent and ongoing crises have shown the essential role transport is playing for our society: sustainability, resilience, safety and employment are just a few key words that come to mind.

“Those words were key for maritime where I worked for many years, and they are equally key for each and every transport mode.”

The appointment was effective from the start of August. She succeeded Henrik Hololei, the Estonian who held the post since 2015 and who particularly championed aviation.

Kopczynska was at the forefront of Brussels’ leadership of higher sustainability standards in shipping in recent years, earning appreciation for her clear delivery and approachable manner.

She also contributed to Europe’s solidarity lanes project to enable the export of Ukrainian agricultural products after Russia’s invasion of the country.

“My team and I will of course continue the crucial work on the EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes, bringing Ukraine closer to us and ensuring Ukraine can import what it needs and export food to where it’s needed,” she said this week. “Because transport is always a part of the solution.”

Kopczynska joined the Commission in 2006 after spending her early career in Poland in public and private roles. She worked in DG-MOVE from 2009 to 2022, culminating as director for waterborne from 2016 to 2022.

With a new Commission to be appointed next year, Valean is judged to have an uncertain future with her Romanian political party still in government but not in the majority.

Kopczynska told TradeWinds late in 2022: “I am immensely proud of the opportunity to have worked with the maritime sector over [the] past six years.

“I always thought the sector that carries ’90% of everything’ had been not visible enough, and I did all I could to change it.”

During her time in the agriculture division this year, the International Maritime Organisation took major decisions to set the decarbonisation roadmap for shipping for the next thirty years.

At the end of this year, shipping comes under the EU emissions trading system (ETS).

Source: Trade Winds