Transport infrastructure is fundamental for the smooth operation of the internal market, for the mobility of persons and goods and for the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the European Union. The EU 27 comprises 5.000.000 km of paved roads, out of which 65.100 km are motorways, 212.800 km of rail lines, out of which 110.458 km electrified, and 42.709 km of navigable inland waterways. The total investment on transport infrastructure during the period 2000-2006 was € 859 billion (First Intermediate Report "Evaluation of cohesion policy programme 2000-2006, work package transport", August 2009 [6 MB] ).
Most of these transport infrastructures have been developed under national policy premises. In order to establish a single, multimodal network that integrates land, sea and air transport networks throughout theUnion, the European policymakers decided to establish the trans-European transport network, allowing goods and people to circulate quickly and easily between Member States and assuring international connections.
Establishing an efficient trans-European transport network (TEN-T) has constituted a key element in the relaunched Lisbon Strategy for competitiveness and employment in Europe and will play an equally central role in the attainment of the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy. If Europe is to fulfill its economic and social potential, it is essential to build the missing links and remove the bottlenecks in our transport infrastructure, as well as to ensure the future sustainability of our transport networks by taking into account the energy efficiency needs and the climate change challenges.
In view of the growth in traffic between Member States, expected to double by 2020, the investment required to complete and modernise a well-performing trans-European network is substantial. . The cost of EU infrastructure development to match the demand for transport has been estimated at over € 1.5 trillion for 2010-2030. The completion of the TEN-T network requires about € 550 billion until 2020 out of which some € 215 billion can be referred to the removal of the main bottlenecks. Given the scale of the investment required, it is necessary to strengthen the coordination dimension of network planning and development at European level, in close collaboration with national governments.
The European Union is supporting the TEN-T implementation by several financial instruments - the TEN-T programme, the Cohesion Fund, the European Regional Development Fund and European Investment Bank's loans and credit guarantees.
Grants, in particular under the TEN-T budget line and the Cohesion and European Development Funds, play a major role in both project preparation and implementation phases. Grants are allocated to studies (from feasibility studies to comprehensive technical or environmental studies and costly geological explorations), helping to overcome early stage project difficulties, and to the works phase. A key issue for the future in relation to the implementation of the TEN-T policy is to rationalise the allocation of grants and to link it to the projects' European added value so as to ensure the best value for EU money.
In this context, the Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency (TEN-T EA) was created in 2006 to implement and manage the TEN-T programme on behalf of the European Commission .
TEN-T Days 2011 "Connecting Europe: Putting Europe's economy on the move", Antwerp29/11/2011 - 30/11/2011
TEN-T Project Management Workshop 15/02/2011 - 16/02/2011
Commission Working Document: Consultation on the Future Trans-European Transport Network04/05/2010 - 15/09/2010