TEN-T Review Sand Castle Without 32 Billion Euro Budget

European Union, News, Organisations — By on April 23, 2012 at 3:42 PM
Isabelle Ryckbost

ESPO calls for transparent methodology to justify allocation of TEN-T funding to projects of common interest.

In a unique common appeal, more than 25 European transport organisations, covering all modes and nodal points, urged EU policy makers to safeguard the 32 billion Euro budget that has been allocated to EU transport infrastructure within the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) in the 2014-2020 budget. If the EU wants a transport infrastructure network that can meet traffic demand and support economic activity, it will need at least 250 billion Euro by 2020 according to European Commission estimates. This sum will remove bottlenecks and complete missing links in the core network of the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T). A further 250 billion Euro will be needed to improve the comprehensive network, in order to provide accessibility to the core network. With the open letter that was issued this afternoon, the European transport industry expresses its collective concern that not enough funds will be available to cover investment needs. The 32 billion Euro, earmarked by the European Commission to the core network in the Connecting Europe Facility, only covers a small share of the investment needs. It furthermore represents only 3% of the total EU budget for the period 2014-2020. But this modest share is nevertheless under huge pressure from Member States who are keen to cut it down to even more marginal proportions. This would turn the proposed review of the Trans-European Transport Network policy into a sand castle, to the detriment of Europe’s economy.

The initiative for the open letter was taken by the European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP). EFIP Director Isabelle Ryckbost pointed at the fact that the proposed transport budget actually compensates important cuts in regional funds. “It is important to put the proposed TEN-T budget into perspective. The 32 billion might seem a serious increase at first glance. We must however bear in mind that at the same time, other sources of funding for transport infrastructure will be reduced or even removed. This is certainly the case for the transport funding possibilities in the European Regional Development Fund in some regions, but will also count for other sources of funding like the Marco Polo programme,   which in the future will have to be financed through this same TEN-T budget. The 32 billion proposed is therefore a vital minimum and must be guaranteed more than ever.”  

Given that ports form one of the cornerstones of the new TEN-T policy, ESPO actively supports the campaign to safeguard the 32 billion Euro budget. “We are however not asking for a blank cheque”, said ESPO Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven, “As ESPO, we insist that TEN-T funds should only be spent on projects that generate measurable EU added value, in terms of transport efficiency, sustainability and/or territorial cohesion. We have therefore invited the Commission to develop a transparent methodology that would justify TEN-T funding so that in the end genuine ‘projects of common interest’ are supported.”

The text of the letter has as follows:

We, European transport organisations, representing European maritime and inland port authorities, airport operators, inland waterway, maritime, rail, road, air transport companies, infrastructure managers, operators, port and logistic service providers, shippers, cyclists, chambers of commerce and transport workers, urge EU Member States and the European Parliament to safeguard the 32 billion EUR budget that has been allocated to EU transport infrastructure within the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) in the 2014-2020 budget. Achieving a complete and integrated resource-efficient and sustainable transport network, covering and interconnecting all modes, Member States and Regions must be seen as an essential investment to create growth and jobs in the European Union.

The transport industry directly employs around 10 million people in the EU and counts for about 5% of GDP. When related industries (manufacturing, servicing, maintenance, etc.) are included, these figures can be doubled. Besides, transport is one of the sectors where European companies are world leaders in infrastructure, logistics, traffic management systems and manufacturing of transport equipment.

The 2011 EU Transport White Paper confirms the importance of transport and its contribution to Europe’s economy. By 2050, the demand for freight transport activity is expected to raise by 80% and for passenger activity by 51%. If the EU wants a transport infrastructure network that can meet traffic demand and support economic activity, it will need at least 250 billion EUR by 2020 according to European Commission estimates. This sum will remove bottlenecks and complete missing links in the Core Network. A further 250 billion EUR will be needed to improve the Comprehensive Network to provide accessibility to the Core Network.

The European transport industry is very concerned that not enough funds will be available to cover investment needs. The 32 billion EUR, earmarked by the European Commission to the Core Network in the Connecting Europe Facility only covers a small share of the investment needs.

Moreover, whilst the transport budget proposal looks ambitious at a first glance, it actually compensates important cuts on the side of the regional funds. There are clear indications that transport funds from the European Regional Development Fund

(ERDF), which represented 46.7 billion EUR for the 2007-2013 period, will be greatly reduced and, in some regions, even completely removed by the new ERDF regulation.

In this context, the 32 billion EUR (or around 3% of the total Multiannual Financial Framework) allocated to the Trans-European transport core infrastructure in 2014-2020 is a vital minimum and must be guaranteed more than ever.

Notwithstanding the budgetary constraints all governments face at the moment, we all know transport infrastructure investments pay off in the long run.

We therefore ask European policy makers to fully recognise the added value of the development and completion of an efficient, sustainable and inclusive European transport infrastructure as one of the main driving forces for ensuring economic growth in the European Union and each of its Member States.

We urge the Council and Parliament to back this proposal with all necessary means. If not, the proposed review of the Trans-European Transport Network policy remains a sand castle, to the detriment of Europe’s economy.

European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP) – European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) – International Road Transport Union (IRU) – European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) – Inland Navigation Europe (INE) – European Barge Union (EBU) – Airports Council International (ACI) – European Association for Forwarding, Transport, Logistic and Custom Services (CLECAT) – Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) – European Rail Infrastructure Managers (EIM except Trafikverket) – European Skippers Organisation (ESO) – European Community Association of Shipbrokers and Agents (ECASBA) – European Tugowners Association (ETA) – European Rail Freight Association (ERFA) – European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) – European Cruise Council (ECC) – European Dredging Association (EuDA) – The Association of the European Rail Industry (UNIFE) – European Boatmen’s Association (EBA) – Eurochambres – MedCruise – Cruise Europe – Association of European Airlines (AEA) – European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) – European Shippers’ Council (ESC) – European Maritime Pilots’ Association (EMPA) – The Association of European Vehicle Logistics (ECG)

For further info, viewers can contact Isabelle Ryckbost: isabelle.ryckbost@inlandports.be – +32(0)2.219.82.07

 

 

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