Transport infrastructure projects to complete EU's core network
A map and guidelines for developing the Transeuropean Transport Networks (TEN-T) in 2014-2020 were amended by the Transport and Tourism Committee on Tuesday. Mature national infrastructure projects in the core network will have to compete for funding from the new "Connecting Europe facility" (CEF).
TEN-T funding should help primarily to build or upgrade cross-border sections and missing links so as to remove remaining bottlenecks in the core network by 2030, MEPs say. The new instrument should also link remote or insular regions into the EU network and help create modern, multimodal nodes and plate-forms in airports, inland and maritime ports.
After adding a few qualifying infrastructure projects to the core network, the Transport Committee approved the map of ten corridors, initially drafted by the Commission together with member states. Each corridor must be overseen by an EU coordinator, say MEPs, and all private, national, regional or local partners should be involved at an early planning stage to avoid future construction delays.
Primary instrument for EU integration and economic growth
"This is the project of the European transport policy", said rapporteur Georgios Koumoutsakos (EPP, EL) after the vote, "as it will benefit every single European citizen, be it for trade, work, tourism or environmental reasons. This project will enable us to turn a patchwork of national transport networks into an integrated EU network by 2030", he added.
However,,"Heads of state could decide otherwise during the multiannual financial framework (MFF) negotiations", warned Inés Ayala Sender (S&D, ES), co-rapporteur with Dominique Riquet (EPP, FR) on the CEF regulation.
"The CEF must not become the adjusting variable of the MFF negotiations", said Mr Riquet. "It will be the primary instrument for further integration, creating jobs and contributing to growth and to environmental objectives at the same time".
Member states must respect the Commission's ?31.7 billion initial budget proposal if they are to take full advantage of the leverage effect of EU funding, stressed co-rapporteur Ismail Ertug (S&D, DE). "Otherwise, their own projects will be left unfunded".
In the chair: Brian Simpson (S&D, UK)