Following a decision of the Parliament and the Council, the foundations for the Trans-European Networks (TEN-001) were laid in 1996. The Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) consist of the infrastructure (roads, railways, waterways, ports, airports, means of navigation, transhipment installations, pipelines) and the services which are necessary to make use of the infrastructure.
Priority is given to the:
- Construction of connections, necessary to facilitate transport;
- Optimisation of the efficiency of the existing infrastructure;
- Gradual achievement of interoperability of network components;
- Integration of environmental aspects into the development of the network.
Revision 2001-2003: a limited number of prioritised projects
In the period 2001-2003, the Trans-European Transport Networks were revised (TEN-002 and TEN-003). This can be seen as a response to the new goals set out by the White Paper on European Transport Policy of 2001. In compliance with the recommendations of the ‘Van Miert’ group of 2003, the European Commission drew up a list of 30 priority projects which had to be started before 2010 (TEN-004). The total estimated cost was 225 billion euros. To speed up the realisation of the border routes, all 30 projects have been declared projects of European Interest. The list consists of:
1. Railway line Berlin-Verona/Milan-Bologna-Napoli-Messina-Palermo
2. High speed line Paris-Brussels/Brussels-Cologne-Amsterdam-London
3. High speed line Southwest-Europe
4. High speed line East (Paris-Strasbourg/Luxembourg)
5. Classic railway line for combined transport (the Betuwe line 2007)
6. Railway line Lyon-Trieste-Divaca/Koper-Divaca-Ljubljana-Budapest-Ukraine border
7. Highway connection Igoumenista/Patra-Athens-Sofia-Budapest
8. Multimodal axis Portugal/Spain-rest of Europe
9. Railway line Cork-Dublin-Belfast-Stanraer (2001)
10. Malpensa airport of Milan (completed 2001)
11. Fixed connection accros the Öresund (completed 2001)
12. Nordic Triangle rail/road
13. Road connection Ireland/UK/Benelux (2010)
14. Railway line “west coast main line?? (2007)
15. Global satellite navigation system GALILEO (2008)
16. Railway axis for freight transport through the Pyrenees Sines/Algeciras-Madrid-Paris
17. Railway Paris Strasbourg-Stuttgart-Vienna-Bratislava
18. River connection Rhine/Meuse-Main-Danube
19. Interoperability of the high speed lines on the Iberian Peninsula
20. Railway between Germany and Denmark by the Fehmarn Belt
21. Motorway of the Sea: the Baltic, the Atlantic Arc, South Eastern Europe, the eastern part of the Mediterranean
22. Railway Athens-Sofia-Budapest-Vienna-Prague-Nuremberg/Dresden
23. Railway Gdansk-Warsaw-Brno/Bratislava-Vienna
24. Railway Lyon/Geneva-Basel-Duisbourg-Rotterdam-Antwerp
25. Highway connection Gdansk-Brno/Bratislava-Vienna
26. Railway/road Ireland/United kingdom/Continental Europe
27. Railway “Rail Baltica?? Warsaw-Kaunas-Riga-Tallinn-Helsinki
28. Railway “Eurocaprail?? Brussels-Luxembourg-Strasbourg
29. Railway from the intermodal corridor of the Ionic Sea/Adriatic Sea
30. River connection Seine-Scheldt
Policy evaluation of the guidelines: Green Paper TEN-T
In accordance with legal requirements, the guidelines for the Trans-European Transport Network had to be evaluated before 2010. In this context, the European Commission published a Green Paper on 4 February 2009: 'Towards a better integrated Trans-European Transport Network at the service of the common Transport Policy' (TEN-005). In this Green Paper the European Commission concluded that, because of the expansion of the Union, technical developments and the increase in transport demand, the present TEN-T policy lost its relevance and that the construction cost of the network was too high.
The scenarios recommended by the Commission include (1) maintaining the comprehensive network, to be financed by Member States but with a core network based on the existing priority projects, and with connections which bring optimal benefits, (2) maintaining the current approach (of which the financing cannot be guaranteed) and (3) leaving the comprehensive networks and maintaining the priority projects, which will be completed and linked if necessary.
New proposals introduce a Core Network and a Comprehensive Network
The Green Paper initiated a consultation process which resulted in a Regulation proposal that set out a new set of guidelines.(TEN-006). In addition, a Regulation proposal was issued that arranged the financial dimension, the so-called ‘Connecting Europe Facility’ (CEF) (TEN-007).
The proposed guidelines define a ‘dual layer’ approach, with a core network and a comprehensive network.
Infrastructure on the comprehensive network and especially on the core network has to comply with specific technical standards. There are also some legal obligations. The comprehensive network has to be completed by 2050. Every European citizen must be able to reach the comprehensive network within 30 minutes. It is the responsibility of the Member State to build this network. Co-financing for projects on the comprehensive network is only possible in a limited extend (for instance in the context of regional funds and promotion of innovation).
The Core Network has to be completed by 2030 and revolves around ten so called 'core network corridors':
- Baltic-Adriatic Corridor
- Mediterranean corridor
- Hamburg-Rostock-Burgas/TR border-Piraeus-Lefkosia
- Strasbourg-Danube corridor
Each corridor needs to have multiple transport modes, to cross at least 3 Member States and two borders. Corridor platforms will be set up to bring all the parties and Member States together.
The core network connects, amongst others, 83 important European ports with the rail-, water- and road-network. It consists of 15,000 km adjusted railway lines and counts 35 important cross border projects in order to get rid of certain bottlenecks. Each country gets access to the core network. Most of the TEN-T working budget under the CEF is expected to go to the co-financing of projects on the core network. In general the EU contributes to 20% of the total investment cost. For certain intelligent transport systems, such as the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), the contribution of the EU can amount up to 50% (even for study projects). All projects in the core network get priority for EU co-financing. During the period 2014-2020, priority will be given to cross border projects with the highest added value for the EU.
The Connecting Europe Facility proposal, earmarks 50 billion euros for the period 2014-2020, to be divided as follows: telecom (9.2 billion euros), energy (9.1 billion euros) and transport (31.7 billion euros including 10 billion from the Cohesion Fund).
The period 2012-2013 corresponds to the pilot phase of the new TEN-T policy, in which 5 to 10 projects will be realised. For this phase the EU made 230 million euros available. It is expected that this will generate investments by Member States and by the private sector for a total amount of 4.6 billion euros. The pilot phase is being executed by the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Experience shows that for each million euros invested by the EU, Member States invest 5 million euros and the private sector another 20 million euros. For the period 2014-2020, the Commission is proposing an EU investment of 31.7 billion euros. It is expected that the total investments for that period will amount to about 500 billion euros, of which 250 billion euros for the core network.
Both the proposal for the TEN-T guidelines and the Connecting Europe Facility take the form of a Regulation. At the time this overview was completed, both proposals were still going through the co-decision procedure in Parliament and Council. European Transport Ministers already reached agreement on the TEN-T guidelines in spring and Parliament is expected to adopt its position in first reading early 2013. This could lead to a final adoption within the first half of 2013. For the Connecting Europe Facility, things may be more difficult, as the debate is linked to the discussion on the overall budget of the European Union for 2014-2020. Whereas Parliament is expected to be positive on the proposed allocation of 31.7 billion euros, several Member States are sceptical, if not downright opposed. A special EU summit is planned for 22-23 November 2012 to agree on the overall amount of the budget and the allocation to the different posts, including the TEN-T.
Some relevant documents:
TEN-007: Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Connecting Europe Facility (European Commission)
TEN-006: Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on Union guidelines for the development of the Trans-European Transport Network (European Commission)
TEN-005: Green paper TEN-T: A policy review. Towards a better integrated Trans-European Transport Network at the service of the common transport policy (European Commission)
TEN-004: Report on the Trans-European Transport Network (High Level Group)
TEN-003: Communication from the Commission. A European Initiative for Growth - Investing in Networks and Knowledge for Growth and Jobs. Final Report to the European Council (European Commission)
TEN-002: Proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No 1692/96/EC on Community guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network (European Commission)
TEN-001: Decision No 1693/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 1996 on Community guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport Network (European Parliament and the Council)