EC issues blueprint for 222-billion-euro transport network
The European Commission has proposed a revised plan for a trans-European transport network — a series of road, railway and maritime transport infrastructures and initiatives — that could cost 220 billion euros ($258 billion) by the year 2020.
The plan has been in the pipeline for several years and is currently unfunded. The EC proposal aims to call on European Union member states to provide funding and upgrade their transport insfrastructures across the EU.
The EC proposed new rules designed to attract more funding to programs identified as European priority projects. The EU executive also proposed that these projects should be declared to be of European interest, to focus on them the resources available from the various EU financial instruments. These declarations of European interest, the EC said, would open the way to combined, cross-border evaluation and public consultation procedures prior to the authorization of projects.
The estimated cost of carrying out all the trans-European transport network projects will be about 220 billion euro ($258 billion) by 2020, of which 80 billion euros ($94 billion)
would go to projects by 2006. “Some 20 percent of the total amount could be raised from the private sector and the rest will have to come from the national and community budgets,” the EC said.
The EC proposal includes a new mechanism to support “motorways of the sea” (maritime links) by encouraging joint initiatives by the EU member States on new “regular transnational
cargo shipping lines.” This mechanism will enable member states to subsidize infrastructure, logistics systems and launches.
The maritime links included in the EU transport blueprint are: a Baltic Sea link with central and western Europe; a western European link from the Iberian peninsula via the Atlantic Arc to the North Sea and the Irish Sea; a southeast European link connecting the Adriatic Sea to the Ionian Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean including Cyprus; and a western Mediterranean link connecting Spain, France, Italy and Malta. The target dates for completion of the four maritime links is 2010.
The EC said that the plan would help promote intermodal transport and lower transport congestion.