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Vice-President of the Commission, responsible for Transport

Speech on Mid-term review of the 2007-2013 TEN-T Multi-Annual Work Programme Project Portfolio at the European Parliament TRAN Committee

European Parliament TRAN Committee (Committee on Transport and Tourism)

Brussels, 27 October 2010


Honourable Members,

I would like to present the mid-term review that has been carried out on all multi-annual projects that are co funded by the TEN-T budget. The TEN-T Coordinators contributed directly to this mid-term review and they will equally help to implement the results of it. The mid-term review will give you a detailed picture of where we stand today with the TEN-T and in particular with the 30 Priority Projects.

I will first focus briefly on the trans-European network for transport as it stands today. As you will have understood already from some of the Coordinators, we are facing a somewhat ambiguous situation. On the one hand, the Member States are pursuing their efforts in realising the trans-European network for transport despite the economic budgetary difficulties they face. Some projects are running late due to a lack of resources. Their implementation is slowed down. New major projects encounter difficulties to be launched as many such projects imply major investments.

What I also see is that we are still confronted with a patchwork of national sections that are not yet or only partially interlinked and we all agree that a well-running transport infrastructure is essential to maintaining the European Union's competitiveness and wealth.

Major projects, like the high speed rail link between Lisbon and Madrid or the Brenner Base Tunnel, which are ready to start construction right now, are not yet launched. ERTMS investments progress well in countries such as Italy, The Netherlands, Austria and Denmark, but face difficulties in Germany and other countries thus preventing the fully interoperable network that we really need to get a functional Internal Market for Transport.

Still, I am very positive about the sustained investment and the continued efforts. In 2010, we saw the completion of cross-border sections in which we invested TEN-T money such as the high speed link between Liège and Aachen or the new rail bridge of the Rhine between Strasbourg and Kehl and a first service running along the Perpignan-Figueras section between Spain and France.

The TEN-T budget focuses mainly on the most difficult cross-border sections and bottlenecks and priorities such as interoperability of transport modes. The mid-term review covers 92 projects, selected under the Multi-Annual Programme call for proposals planned to be initially implemented from 2007 to 2013. The 92 projects account for approximately two-thirds of the total TEN-T budget for this period (€5.301 billion out of a total €8.013 billion). The total investment of these projects is €32.647 billion. Fourteen of these projects have been finished already, or will be later this year. The other 78 projects are still ongoing and will continue until 2013 and beyond. The projects have been analysed in detail by external and internal experts and this analysis led to the report that you have in your hands now. The report shows that the TEN-T budget is tightly managed, but that at the same time continued support is given to projects where needed.

The alternative was between a large number of projects only delivering partly by their original end in 2013, leaving 30% of the budget untouched and 40 of the 92 projects uncompleted or allowing them to continue far into the period of next financial framework, to 2016, 17, 18 or even beyond. Obviously, this is not a good way to manage the TEN-T budget.

I therefore propose to strike a balance by allowing projects to continue for two further years, but to cut all costs beyond 2015. Also, extension will only be granted under strict conditions. These conditions are of a political, technical and financial nature.

This decision will allow for another 29 projects to be finalised, leaving only 6% of the budget unspent. Moreover, the budget, which will be cut in the oncoming months will be re-injected into the TEN-T programme. Over 300 million euro shall be re-injected into calls to be published in 2011 and 2012 and further budgets that possibly become available due to the automatic cut-off clause will be reprogrammed up to 2013 at the latest. This reprogramming of TEN-T budget will be presented to you and you will have the usual 'droit de regard'..

As you know, I attach great importance to transparency and accountability. This report gives you all the details. The review has not been an easy exercise. The sparse TEN-T budget will be used to the best possible extent. This implies that we shall not block any budget for projects that are not delivering. We do not park money indefinitely. Also, as said before, in case of granting extensions, the conditions imposed shall guarantee their delivery. And these conditions will allow to cut the budget and reallocate it in a timely manner.

May I remind you that out of the overall TEN-T budget of 8 billion euro, only 30 million, less than ½ a percent, are not yet allocated. This is a huge difference with some other budgets of the EU. We are only half way and already facing these financial constraints. So I want to make a strong case for the ongoing budgetary review and for the future financial framework.

Honourable Members,

I want to conclude by giving you an update of the TEN-T policy development.

As you may recall the second Consultation paper was published in May this year and presented at the Zaragoza Conference. Nearly 250 contributions were received from Member States, all important sectoral organisations, regions, stakeholders and associations that represent more local or regional initiatives and projects. I would like to come again to present you the results of this consultation and also outline the methodology retained for the future TEN-T revision. This intermediate step will be taken still this year as a necessary step before the revision of the new Guide, foreseen for spring 2011.

What I can clearly see from this review is the emergence of a core network. The positive results and continued TEN-T investments on cross-border, bottlenecks and interoperability/intermodality show that we are delivering these long awaited results step by step. This core network shall build upon the work of the Coordinators and be reinforced so that Corridors that are solidly based on a coherent analysis are emerging within the Core network.

I continue to commit myself to keep up our close cooperation and I look forward to seeing you to present these steps before the end of this year.

Thank you.

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