Vice-President Siim Kallas website

European Commission Mobility and Transport website

Facilitating Short Sea Shipping: customs authorities informed of ships movements by Blue Belt pilot project

ship in a harbour

Can a customs authority be certain that a ship declaring intra-EU goods has only visited EU ports? This is now possible for the 250 vessels voluntarily participating in the Blue Belt pilot project. Started as an initiative of the Belgian EU Presidency, endorsed by the Council of Transport Ministers on 2 December 2010 and welcomed by Vice President Kallas of the Commission, the Blue Belt pilot project enters its operational phase the first week of May. The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has prepared the Blue Belt pilot project in cooperation with Member States' customs authorities, the Commission services DG TAXUD and DG MOVE, the European Community of Shipowners' Association (ECSA) and the World Shipping Council (WSC). The project will automatically monitor the participating ships and inform the customs authorities, before arrival, of the actual voyages followed and the last ports visited.

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Background

Spanish high speed rail to receive boost thanks to EU funding

two high speed trains

A Spanish study selected under the 2010 Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Annual Call which will significantly contribute to the realisation of Priority Project 3, the “High speed railway axis of southwest Europe”, will receive €5 million in EU co-financing. The study aims to complete the groundwork for the eventual upgrade of a section of high speed line in order to reduce travel times and increase the competitiveness of the rail sector in the region.

The study, which concerns part of the Atlantic branch of Priority Project 3 and lies on the high speed Madrid-Lisbon corridor, will prepare for future construction works between Madrid and the cities situated along the corridor (Talavera de la Reina, Cáceres, Plasencia, Mérida and Badajoz), significantly reducing travel times and enhancing cohesion with the rest of Spain and with Europe. It will complement national investment from the government of Spain.

The study will include 11 separate activities. The first 8 cover the technical design studies for the track bed on the following sub-sections:

  • Connection Madrid-Sevilla-Olías del Rey (15 Km)
  • Olías del Rey-Rielves (17.2 Km)
  • Rielves-Cármena (16.6 Km)
  • Cármena-Montearagón (24 Km)
  • Montearagón-Talavera (14.3 Km)
  • Talavera-Calera y Chozas (13.4 Km)
  • Calera y Chozas-Oropesa (14 Km)
  • Oropesa-Toledo provincial limit (20.4 Km)

The three remaining activities cover geological and geotechnical studies, support for project management and a fauna study.

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