Mobility and Transport

Infrastructure - TEN-T - Connecting Europe

Legal basis

Legal basis

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The Trans-European Networks (TENs) in Transport, Energy and Telecommunications have existed as an EU policy since 1993. They are based on Title XVI, Articles 170 – 172, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. TENs support the functions of the internal market, linking European regions and connecting Europe with other parts of the world. The ultimate aim of the TENs is to interconnect national infrastructure networks and ensure their interoperability, setting standards for the removal of technical barriers.

The first guidelines for the transport sector were adopted by the European Parliament and Council in 1996. The enlargements of 2004 and 2007—combined with serious delays and financing problems, prompted a thorough review of TEN-T policy in 2009. This led to the adoption of new Union guidelines for the development of the Trans-European Transport Network in 2013, which outline plans for the nine strategically important corridors of the Core Network and targets for the implementation of a Comprehensive Network, accessible to citizens and businesses across Europe in no more than 30 minutes travel time.

The main instruments of EU TEN-T policy are:

  • Union guidelines: These outline objectives, priorities, and measures for the establishment of frameworks for the continued identification of projects of common interest
  • The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF): An EU funding instrument devised to facilitate the realisation of European transport infrastructure policy, focused on projects of common interest that aim at removing bottlenecks and bridging missing links in the Core and Comprehensive Networks and Horizontal Priorities. These projects are prepared and implemented using the EU’s Principle of Subsidiarity, in compliance with the relevant rules and procedures of the Member States within whose territories projects are located.