Trans-European Networks (TEN)
The function of Trans-European Networks is to create a modern and effective infrastructure to link European regions and national networks. They are essential to proper operation of the common market, since they ensure free movement of goods, persons and services.
Title XVI of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU provides the legal basis for Trans-European Networks, which exist in three sectors of activity:
- Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) cover road and intermodal transport, waterways and seaports, and the European high-speed railway network. Intelligent transport management systems also fall into this category, as does Galileo, Europe's satellite radio navigation system.
- Trans-European Energy Networks (TEN-E) cover the electricity and natural gas sectors. They help to create a single energy market and contribute to security of supply.
- Trans-European Telecommunications Networks (eTEN) have as their aim the deployment of telecommunication networks based services. They focus strongly on public services and are at the very heart of the initiative "eEurope -- An Information Society for All".
The TEN budget heading is supplemented by contributions from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Cohesion Fund, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF).
As early as 1986, the Single European Act stressed the link between smooth functioning of the single market and the goal of economic, social and territorial cohesion. The interconnection and interoperability of national infrastructure networks have emerged as key factors for coherent development planning in the Community.
Enlargement to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe is today increasing the importance of the TENs by extending their scope to the entire continent. Their efficient connection to the networks of third countries to the east (Russia and the countries of the CIS) and to the south (countries of the Mediterranean basin) will contribute to economic development and equilibrium.