What happened at the TEN-T Days in Zaragoza?
The conference brought
together the Commission, Members of the European Parliament, as well as ministers and other high-level representatives of the Member States. Highlights included:
- Presentation of a recent working document on the revision of the planning methodology for the TEN-T
- Presentation of the 2010 Progress Report, in which the development of the 30 TEN-T Priority Projects is assessed
- Nomination of three new European coordinators for the TEN-T Priority Projects.
Commission working document
Why is the Commission working document important?
The publication of the Commission working document represents an important step in the revision process of the TEN-T. This process was started with the Green Paper Towards a better integrated trans-European transport network at the service of the common transport policy, which was published in February 2009. The aim of the revision process is to increase the efficiency of Europe’s infrastructure and transport policy in order to increase European competitiveness globally, foster economic growth, enhance the Union's territorial, economic and social cohesion, contribute to making transport greener, and to bring transport policy in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy. The proposed methodology should help to award funding to projects that added the greatest value at a European level, by operating in an efficient and transparent manner.
The proposal in the working document was developed by the Commission which drew on the insights of six high-calibre expert groups. These expert groups covered a wide range of issues, including methodology for network planning, integration of transport policy, technology, connections to third countries, financing, and legal aspects.
How does the Commission propose to revamp TEN-T?
In the public consultation following the publication of the Green Paper, it became clear that one out of the three options proposed was favoured by the great majority of the 300 and more stakeholders who replied to the consultation process. Option 3 consists of a dual layer TEN-T planning approach, maintaining the existing “comprehensive network” and identifying — as a subset thereof — a “core network” of the strategically most important nodes and links, reflecting the relevant traffic flows throughout the Union, whilst ensuring continuity with the current priority projects. The comprehensive network will continue to form a spatially dense basis for the application of other EU policies, in particular cohesion policy. Such a network approach will better reflect major traffic flows and key cohesion objectives.
What will be the next step?
The core network is not yet defined but the definition will be completed after a consultation process that will be launched at the TEN-T Days in Zaragoza. Following the recommendations of the expert groups, it is intended to include all the capital cities of the Member States, other big cities and gateway ports, airports and freight terminals, as nodes in the core network. It is further intended to improve the connection of the TEN-T with neighbouring regions.
Based on the outcome of the consultation process, the Commission will elaborate its proposal for new TEN-T Guidelines which constitute the planning instrument for the trans-European transport network. The elaboration will be accompanied by a multi-criteria impact assessment. The first findings of this planning process, however no maps, will be reflected in the Commission's White Paper on the Future of Transport which will be published in November 2010 and of which the future transport infrastructure policy will form an important part. The Commission proposal for new TEN-T Guidelines should be ready in the first half of 2011.
Why is the progress report important?
The annual progress report provides the basis for a firmly established process of regular and comprehensive reporting at the highest level. The Commission thereby creates transparency, enables the exchange of best practices, fosters the coordination between all parties involved and facilitates the mobilisation of financial and technical resources that are necessary to complete the Priority Projects.
What is different about this year's report?
This year’s progress report is the first one making use of the new TENtec data base, a new online interface between the Commission and the Member States that transmits data in real time. When used by all Member States, this new tool will contribute to an even greater transparency in the evaluation and supervision of
TEN-T progress and funds allocation, eventually serving as a key reference point for infrastructure planning. Unfortunately, certain Member States have failed to cooperate with the Commission on this issue and did not upload their data on time. It is hoped that these Member States will do so as soon as possible in order to allow the inclusion of their data in an oncoming review of the report.
What are some of the main findings of this year's report?
From the maps and statistics included in this year’s report, it has become evident that despite the difficult economic environment it has been possible to complete some key sections of the European transport network. It has been possible to remove significant bottlenecks in our transport system, thanks to the continued efforts of the Member States, the support of TEN-T budget, regional funding and European Investment Bank loans. However, the 2010 progress report also points out some of the remaining challenges that need to be overcome in order to build an efficient transport network. The remaining bottlenecks have to be eliminated, border crossings must be made easier, and intermodal journeys for passenger as well as freight transport must be facilitated in order to build a transport network that helps secure Europe’s international competitiveness, economic growth, and territorial cohesion.
European coordinators for TEN-T
Why were the European TEN-T coordinators created?
In July 2005, the European Commission designated a group of six eminent persons to evaluate progress on certain TEN-T projects and to make recommendations for the effective implementation of these priority projects.
Given the success of the European coordinators, the Commission decided in 2007 to nominate two further coordinators for motorways of the sea and for inland waterways. More recently, in July 2009, the Commission adopted a decision launching a second mandate of four years for all Coordinators.
Memorandums of understanding