From the start, the TEN-T Guidelines included priority projects: those projects having particular importance and of a significant size. They were extended at the time of the EU’s 2004 enlargement to reflect Europe’s changed geographical space.
Priority projects are now 30 in number and occupy a central position in EU initiatives:
- They have received a significant share of available TEN-T funding and have also been major Cohesion Fund recipients;
- European Coordinators (designated in 2005) for the most complex of these projects, have opened up a new quality of cross-border cooperation to advance these projects
- European Institutions as well as stakeholders have taken strong interest in the progressing of these projects and, thereby, also created an important political momentum.
The priority projects focus clearly on the need for sustainability, with 18 of them related to rail, 3 for mixed rail-road and 2 for inland waterways. The "Motorways of the Sea" initiative, which is vital for reducing the negative environmental effects of freight transport, entered the TEN-T policy as a priority project. Europe's global satellite navigation system, Galileo, took shape as a TEN-T priority project. Some priority projects have been completed. Others, given their complexity, are only partially operational while the work on other sections remains to be completed.
The priority projects today form integral parts of the core network corridors, as the policy focus shifts away from a disconnected set of projects to a more integrated approach.
The 30 Priority Projects are:
PP21 Motorways of the Sea
The status of the implementation of the priority projects as of November 2012 is available here [7 MB] .