Significance of Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T)

© Oliver Helbig

The transport sector is the backbone of the entire single market. The focuses of the programme setting up the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) are on seeking to achieve better networking in the EU single market and to establish the uniformity of transport systems. The TEN-T covers road, rail and inland waterway networks, sea and inland ports, airports and freight terminals.

A vital component for the implementation of the common transport policy is the promotion of TEN by the “Connecting Europe Facility” (CEF), the financial regulation for all trans-European networks. Approved TEN-T projects are promoted through the EU transport budget “Connecting Europe”. It should be noted that account is taken of the results of the studies previously carried out investigating the decision over the allocation of EU funding for the period 2014 to 2020 within the framework of the CEF. In addition, the European Commission commissioned a scrutiny of which plans under TEN-T are suitable for the new European investment plan. On 11 September 2014 the European Commission published the first invitations to tender within the framework of the CEF for the transport sector. The European Commission has assigned 11.9 billion euros for the CEF Transport Call out of the total of 21.4 billion euros from the transport budget. The member states were called upon to give priority to cross-border transport projects in proposals for improving European transport connections. The calls ended on 26 February 2015. At present there are 53 CEF projects in the transport area connected. These include the tunnel under the straits of the Fehmarnbelt to create a road and rail link between Germany and Scandinavia and the expansion of the Mittelland Canal in Germany.

The TEN network is designed in two layers, consisting of a comprehensive network and a core network. The core network is scheduled to be completed by 2030 and the comprehensive network by 2050. Nine corridors are identified in the core network – two North-South corridors, three running East to West and four diagonal corridors, six of which pass through Germany. They are based on a multimodal approach and are intended to eliminate bottlenecks, modernise infrastructure and above all to improve cross-border connections within the Union. The TEN network is designed in two layers, consisting of a comprehensive network and a core network. The core network is scheduled to be completed by 2030 and the comprehensive network by 2050. Nine corridors are identified in the core network – two North-South corridors, three running East to West and four diagonal corridors, six of which pass through Germany. They are based on a multimodal approach and are intended to eliminate bottlenecks, modernise infrastructure and above all to improve cross-border connections within the Union.

Implementation of TEN-T Network

In order to facilitate the realisation of core network corridors, one or several EU coordinators were appointed for every corridor in agreement with the member states involved. In early 2015 a corridor working plan was submitted by all EU coordinators for their respective corridor to the European Parliament, the European Council and the European Commission. The working plans are based on comprehensive studies carried out by a team of external experts for each individual trans-European transport corridor.

Cuts in CEF Resources

As a result of the investment plan for Europe (Juncker Plan), the CEF fund envisaged for transport projects is deprived of more than five billion euros (originally 26.4 billion euros, now 21.4 billion budgeted). In addition, it must be remembered that 11.3 billion euros of CEF funding are primarily reserved for those Central and Eastern European member states, which predominantly qualify for the EU cohesion fund. That consequently reduces the amount to which the non-cohesion fund countries are entitled, and when the funding siphoned off by the Juncker-Plan is subtracted, the funding drops from 26.4 billion euros to approx. 10 billion euros.

BDI’s Position

The BDI supports the concept of a European core network (TEN-T). In addition, the links between sea and inland ports should be optimized along with the hinterland connections. The clear goal of completing the EU-wide TEN- T core network by 2030 must be adhered to. Since the funding allocated by the EU is in no way adequate, the main burden is to be borne by the member states.