As an EU policy, the trans-European networks (TENs) – in transport, energy and telecommunication – have existed since 1993. They are based on Title XVI, Articles 170 – 172, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. TENs allow the internal market to function, link European regions with each other and connect Europe with other parts of the world. In essence, creating and developing the TENs aims to interconnect national infrastructure networks and ensure their interoperability (i.e. setting standards which remove technical barriers).
The main EU-wide instruments of the TENs' policy are:
- Union Guidelines, which set out objectives, priorities and outlines of measures for establishing and developing networks, to create the framework for identifying projects of common interest
- An EU infrastructure fund to support projects of common interest. These projects are prepared and implemented following the subsidiarity principle and in compliance with the relevant rules and procedures of the Member States on whose territories the projects are located.
In the transport sector, the first guidelines were adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in 1996; the first regulation for EU funding was adopted in 1995. TEN-T policy has a rising importance today, against a background of three major enlargements and evolving economic and political situations during its 20 years of existence. A substantial policy review was launched in 2009 and led to a new legislative framework that came into force in 2014. The current provisions set out the framework for policy development in transport up to 2030/2050:
Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network and repealing Decision No 661/2010/EU
COMMISSION DELEGATED REGULATION (EU) No 473/2014 of 17 January 2014 amending Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards supplementing Annex III thereto with new indicative maps
The "Connecting Europe Facility" governs EU funding in the transport, energy and telecommunications sectors during the period 2014 – 2020:
Regulation (EU) No 1316/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing the Connecting Europe Facility, amending Regulation (EU) No 913/2010 and repealing Regulations (EC) No 680/2007 and (EC) No 67/2010
Other relevant acts which support the implementation of the Guidelines and CEF:
Communication from the Commission : Building the Transport Core Network: Core Network Corridors and Connecting Europe Facility
The Planning Methodology for the Trans-European transport network (TEN-T)