European Scrutiny Committee Contents

12 Trans-European Transport Network



COM(10) 212

Commission Working Document: Consultation on the future Trans-European Transport Network policy

Legal base
Document originated4 May 2010
Deposited in Parliament25 May 2010
Basis of considerationEM of 2 June 2010
Previous Committee ReportNone
To be discussed in CouncilNot known
Committee's assessmentPolitically important
Committee's decisionNot cleared; further information requested


12.1 In 1996 the EU adopted Guidelines for the development of a Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) — defined as road, rail, inland waterways, motorways of the sea, seaports, inland waterway ports, airports and traffic management and navigation systems. The Guidelines provided that the TEN-T, should be a single multimodal network, with corridors of common interest and integration of land, sea and air transport infrastructure networks. They identified 14 priority axes deemed to be of European significance in supporting trans-national trade and cohesion. In 2004 the Guidelines were revised — changes made included:

  • extension of the deadline for completing the TEN-T to 2020;
  • extension of priority axes from 14 to 30 (the United Kingdom is involved in five of these); and
  • the possibility of coordinators (termed European coordinators) to be appointed for cross-border priority axes.

12.2 Responsibility for implementing the network rests with Member States. TEN-T projects are mainly financed by them and to a lesser extent by private investors. The EU also provides support, primarily through instruments adopted under the Trans-European Networks Finance Regulation, as well as from the Cohesion and European Regional Development Funds, and other non-financial instruments, such as coordination initiatives.

12.3 In February 2009 the Commission published a Green Paper with which it sought to open a debate questioning not only whether the objectives of the 2004 Guidelines had been achieved, but whether or not those objectives were still sufficient to meet future TEN-T challenges.[52] The Commission published the responses to the Green Paper in July 2009[53] and set up a number of working groups involving external experts to develop the policy review.

The document

12.4 The expert working groups have reported to the Commission[54] and on the basis of these reports the Commission has launched a further consultation in this Working Document. This consultation focuses on three main areas:

  • methodology for TEN-T planning — this develops thinking on a dual layer planning approach, involving a core network of nodes and links of the highest strategic and economic importance covering all modes of transport as the top layer. Underlying this will be a comprehensive network based on the current network but enhanced to take account of changes in national planning, include missing links and nodes, and removing dead ends;
  • TEN-T implementation — this looks at how to make the TEN-T policy more effective by having a more coherent approach to network planning and the available means for implementing the network. It also considers prioritising funding for projects with the highest European value and developing the role of the European coordinators to improve delivery of complex cross border projects; and
  • the legal and institutional framework of the TEN-T policy review — this looks at ways of improving the legislative and institutional framework to deliver the policy more effectively.

The Commission calls for responses by 15 September 2010.

The Government's view

12.5 The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Mrs Theresa Villiers), noting that the consultation is not a proposal for legislation, says that there are no policy implications at this stage. She continues that the Government is still formulating its position on the latest stage of the Policy Review, in order to respond by the consultation deadline. But she comments that whilst the proposed methodology is more complicated than recommended in the UK's initial response it could still deliver a more effective and focussed programme that will deliver benefits to Europe as a whole.


12.6 The future direction of the TEN-T policy, and associated legislation and finance, is important and we will wish to scrutinise in due course the outcome of the Commission's consultations. Meanwhile before considering further this present document, which remains under scrutiny, we wish to see the Government's response to it.

52   (30421) 6135/09: see HC 19-viii (2008-09), chapter 5 (25 February 2009) and HC 19-xix (2008-09), chapter 11 (10 June 2009). Back

53   See  Back

54   See  Back

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