all formats All recent articles
Transport
Transport

Source: Fotolia / Eisenhans

1. Summary

Arrow down

The new Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013 on Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) defines general objectives and specific technical requirements for the TEN-T network. The Annexes contain maps of the networks (roads, railways, waterways) and lists of the core networks, maritime and inland ports, airports and intermodal terminals.

The trans-European network has a dual-layer structure which comprises a comprehensive and a core network. The core network is to be completed by 2030, the comprehensive network by 2050. The core network contains 9 corridors of which 6 run through Germany. They are multi-modal and designed to improve in particular cross-border links within the Union. In accordance with the TEN Regulation, an EU Coordinator is to be assigned to each corridor. The European Coordinator shall draw up the corridor work plan together with the Member States and monitor its implementation.

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Regulation defines the level to which certain measures/projects are eligible for funding. In the current funding period, 2014 to 2020, a total of 14.9 billion euros is available for transport infrastructure (plus 11.3 billion euros exclusively for recipient countries of the Cohesion Fund). Studies on all modes of transport receive 50% funding, traffic management systems, new technologies and innovations 20%. The rates of assistance for construction projects vary. Waterway and railway projects are eligible for the highest level of funding (up to 40%).

TEN funding is only granted on application and only in response to a call previously published by the Commission. There is no legal entitlement to grants. Applications may be submitted by EU Member States or, with their approval, by public or private enterprises.

2. General information

Arrow down

TEN-T policy

The TEN-T policy is based on the realization that efficient and well-connected infrastructure is of vital importance for competitiveness, growth, jobs and prosperity in the European Union. Article 90 ff. of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides for the establishment of a common transport policy. Article 170 emphasizes the importance of transport infrastructure policy, the trans-European transport network, as a precondition for achieving the internal market and for the freedom to provide services. According to this Article, the TENs are to contribute to the realization of the internal market, the creation of jobs and the achievement of economic, social and geographical cohesion in Europe.

The TEN policy and the establishment of the guiding principles were first agreed in the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. The Council and the European Parliament adopted the first guidelines on the establishment of a TEN-T policy and infrastructure planning in 1996. Following the enlargement of the EU in 2004, they were revised to a large extent and underwent a comprehensive revision between 2009 and 2013. The new Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013 on Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) entered into force on 22 December 2013.

The TEN-T policy is determined to a large extent by the European Commission's Mobility and Transport Directorate-General (DG MOVE). Its implementation falls under the responsibility of the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA).

Regulation on Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T)

The trans-European transport network comprises road, railway and inland waterway networks, maritime and inland ports, airports and freight terminals. Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013 on Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport networks (TEN-T) defines general objectives and specific technical requirements for the TEN-T network. The Annexes contain maps of the networks (roads, railways, waterways) as well as a list of the core network nodes, maritime and inland ports, airports and intermodal terminals of the TEN-T network and its neighbouring regions.

The TEN-T network has a dual-layer structure, which comprises a comprehensive and a core network. The core network is to be completed by 2030, the comprehensive network by 2050. The core network contains 9 corridors reflecting the main transport routes of the network. Six of these corridors run through Germany. They are multi-modal and designed to improve in particular cross-border links within the Union.

According to the TEN Regulation, an EU Coordinator is to be assigned to each corridor. The Coordinator can only be appointed with the consent of the relevant Member States. The Coordinators draw up corridor work plans together with the Member States (planning investment in projects) and monitor their implementation. Coordinators shall be assisted by a secretariat and by a consultative forum (the Corridor Forum).

The Federal Government’s position

The Federal Government supports an integrated European transport system with intermodal solutions. A single mode of transport alone will be unable to handle the forecast growth in traffic. Against this background, the aim of the Federal Government's transport policy is to safeguard the capacity and efficiency of all modes of transport and, by interlinking them in an optimum manner, to ensure that they can deploy their inherent strengths in the overall system.

Efficient infrastructure interlinked in an optimum manner is an indispensable basis for growth and prosperity. Conversely, a neglected infrastructure will become a risk and a burden for growth and employment. The transport system must also meet environmental, economic and societal challenges and take into account our citizens' interests and environmental concerns.

This is why the Federal Government supports the European Commission in developing and establishing the trans-European network.

3. TEN funding

Arrow down

Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)

The CEF is the financial assistance regulation for all trans-European networks (transport, energy and broadband). It defines to which level and on which conditions a project is eligible for funding. A distinction is made between grants and innovative financing instruments, which are mainly designed for credit enhancement of private investors.

Compared with the last funding period (2007-2013), the budget for transport infrastructure has been significantly increased. Now, 26.2 billion euros is available between 2014 and 2020, about 18 billion euros more than before. However, of this amount, 11.3 billion euros is only available for projects in recipient countries of the Cohesion Fund. Despite the encouraging increase of funds, it must be noted that the Commission itself estimates the actual financial requirements for the extension of the TEN-T network to be 500 billion euros within the same period. 250 billion euros alone will be required for the removal of bottlenecks and the filling of gaps in the core network.

Main objectives of the TEN Regulation

The TEN Regulation names general objectives of the trans-European transport networks which in turn the CEF considers a precondition for funding. Among other things, the following must be taken into account:

It has to be a project of common interest. This is the case when new infrastructure is created or when existing infrastructure is rehabilitated (replacement of capital assets) or upgraded (Article 7(1)).
The project must meet the minimum technical standards of the comprehensive or core network and it has to be economically viable.
The project must have a European added value (Art. 3d) (value in addition to that created for the individual Member State).
In addition, a project of common interest must have two of the four following objectives (Art. 4):

  • Strengthening the cohesion of the Union;
  • Increasing efficiency (e.g. removal of bottlenecks, filling of gaps, cost-efficient use, innovative technical and operational strategies);
  • Increasing sustainability (e.g. security of fuel supply, CO2 reduction);
  • Providing benefits to infrastructure users.

Main objectives of the CEF

In addition to the above mentioned preconditions, the following funding priorities apply to the transport sector (CEF, Article 4(2)):

  • Removing bottlenecks, enhancing rail interoperability and improving cross-border sections.
  • Ensuring sustainable and efficient transport systems in the long run, introducing innovative low-carbon and energy-efficient transport technologies.
  • Optimising the integration and interconnection of transport modes and enhancing the interoperability of transport services.

Annex I of the CEF lists projects on the core network which are to be given priority in funding:

  • "Horizontal Priorities", i.e. innovative management and services, new technologies and innovation.
  • Individual projects on the nine core network corridors.
  • Other pre-identified sections on the core network.

The Commission plans to focus 80 to 85 per cent of the funding on these projects.

Funding rates

Article 10 names possible maximum levels of funding. An overview:

ProjectsFieldMaximum funding
StudiesAll modes of transport50 %
Rail projectsCross-border40 %
Removal of bottlenecks30 %
Others20 %
WaterwayProjectsCross-border40 %
Removal of bottlenecks40 %
Others20 %
Road ProjectsCross-border sections10 %
Rail and road links to ports and airports20 %
Development of ports, multimodal platforms and freight services20 %
Motorways of the Sea30 %
Measures to reduce rail freight noise20 %
Traffic management systems (rail/air/water/road)ERTMS50 %
SESAR (ground / vehicle)50 % / 20 %
RIS, VTMIS (shore / vehicle)50 % / 20 %
ITS20 %
Safe HGV parking areas on the core network20 %
New technologies and innovations20 %

4. Implementation/Realization of the Trans-European Network

Arrow down

The TEN transport network consists of a comprehensive network and a core network. The core network consists of 9 corridors, which are to reflect the major long-distance transport movements or routes. The course of the corridors is described in Annex I of the Connecting Europe Facility. In order to support the realization, in other words to ensure that the corridors are equipped with the optimum infrastructure, the European Commission has decided to focus the largest part of funds on these corridors.
In addition, the Commission has appointed the following coordinators to support the realization of the corridors in consultation with the Member States.

  • Catherine Trautmann (North Sea-Baltic Corridor),
  • Pat Cox (Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor),
  • Carlo Secchi (Atlantic Corridor)
  • Péter Balázs (North Sea-Mediterranean Corridor),
  • Laurens Jan Brinkhorst (Mediterranean Corridor),
  • Karel Vinck (ERTMS),
  • Karla Peijs (Rhine-Danube Corridor),
  • Pawel Wojciechowski (Rhine-Alpine Corridor),
  • Kurt Bodewig (Baltic-Adriatic Corridor),
  • Brian Simpson (Motorways of the sea),
  • Mathieu Grosch (Orient-East-Med Corridor).

The North Sea-Baltic, Scandinavian-Mediterranean, Atlantic, Rhine-Danube, Rhine-Alpine and Orient-East-Med Corridors affect Germany.

Coordinators are to develop a work plan for each corridor in consultation with the Member States by the end of 2014. These plans are to include, if possible, all projects whose planning, realization and financing is guaranteed in the upcoming multi-annual programme (2014-2020). The Coordinators are supported by a secretariat and by a consultative forum which represents all Member States affected by the corridor. The plan for 2014 is to invite more actors who play an essential role in realizing the corridors.

5. How to apply

Arrow down

An application can only be submitted in response to an appropriate call by the Commission, in this case INEA. The call describes exactly what kind of projects are to be funded. Calls are published separately for the multi-annual programme (usually large-scale projects) and the annual programme.

Before an application is submitted, the planning status and financing of the project should be clear. The application process is subject to tight deadlines. It is thus advisable that applicants familiarize themselves with the tendering details at an early stage.
The first call under the new CEF Regulation has been released in September 2014.