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Connecting the infrastructure network
To promote a pan-European transport networks partnership for co-ordinated transport planning, studying regulatory measures and facilitating financial arrangements.
Communication from the Commission on connecting the Union´s transport infrastructure network to its neighbours: Towards a co-operative pan-European transport network policy [COM (97) 172 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission advocates a comprehensive approach to the pan-European network. It envisages a partnership on a European scale, the goal being the creation of a multimodal transport network across the European continent as a whole. Such a partnership should be based on the instruments available, and considered from three viewpoints:
- the required investment volumes and their financing;
- the regulatory and institutional framework;
- an action plan to launch such a partnership.
As regards the required investment volumes and their financing, the Commission emphasises the outlay that will have to be provided in the candidate countries for accession, who are going to see an increase in the volume of trade and tourism.
Similarly, the new Member States, showing some readiness to open part of their infrastructure for pan-European transport corridors and areas, will be confronted with traffic growth which will create bottlenecks. Financial support for investments will therefore be necessary to cope with this.
Infrastructure investments are funded by national budgets and a variety of Community programmes. However, the rules in the INTERREG, TEN, PHARE, TACIS and MEDA budget lines are all different. It would therefore be a major step forward if a co-ordinated approach could be envisaged which could cover all pan-European transport corridors and areas. Such an approach would fit within a broader framework of co-ordination with the international financial institutions (IFIs).
In relation to the regulatory and institutional framework, the Commission would like to make coherent use of existing agreements and protocols (the Europe Agreements with the CECs, the Euro-Mediterranean Agreements and bilateral transport agreements with several States). It also intends to build on bodies already active, such as the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) and the G24 Transport Working Group.
The communication presents an action plan for a pan-European transport networks partnership. It comprises five themes relating to co-ordinated transport planning:
- pan-European transport corridors and areas are a long-term planning tool and a priority for investment;
- the Trans-European Network approach must be extended to new Union members;
- a common approach to the use of transport technology must be developed;
- the following priorities were set by the Commission to promote the intelligent use of transport networks:
- in the framework of G24, to launch the necessary work on GNSS with a view to extending its coverage to all neighbouring countries;
- to promote the idea of an interoperable Control Command system on the pan-European rail transport corridors and areas;
- to implement a coherent vessel surveillance system in all European waters;
- to promote the standardisation of road traffic management systems beyond the Union´s borders;
- to improve Air Traffic Management throughout the European Continent.
- pan-European co-operation in R&D must be emphasised.
On finance, the Commission will initiate the necessary measures to ensure horizontal co-ordination and compatibility amongst the various budget instruments for transport networks investment. The Commission strongly recommends that support from national funds and programmes, and from the IFIs, should principally be given to infrastructure and network projects which contribute to implementing the pan-European transport corridors and areas.