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Brussels Summit: Trans-European networks

Meeting for the first time since the entry into force of the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty), the Heads of State and of Government of the European Union expressed on 10-11 December 1993 their resolve to use to the full, immediately, the new possibilities offered b...

Meeting for the first time since the entry into force of the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty), the Heads of State and of Government of the European Union expressed on 10-11 December 1993 their resolve to use to the full, immediately, the new possibilities offered by the Treaty to confront current problems and impart a further impetus to the Union. Speedy completion of the trans-European networks (described in development theme II of the Commission's White Paper on Economic Renewal) will enable several objectives essential to Community development to be pursued. These include: Development of the single market, the reinforcement of economic competitiveness, regional planning, the advancement of relations with the countries of Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, and the increased welfare of citizens benefiting from faster and safer means of transport. For these reasons, the Summit invited the Council to make full use of the greater possibilities offered in this field by the Treaty on European Union, which defines the Community's tasks and the instruments available to it in this area. The first stage requires the definition of guidelines (these already exist for high-speed trains, combined transport, roads and inland waterways). The European Council requests that the European Parliament and the Council accelerate procedures in order that those guidelines still outstanding, which concern conventional rail infrastructures, air transport infrastructures, ports, electricity and gas networks, may be adopted before 1 July 1994. This will permit the identification of projects of common interest and will, moreover, contribute to environmental protection via the elimination of road traffic congestion. At the same time, the Summit emphasized the necessity to undertake work ensuring the safety of nuclear power installations in the countries of Eastern Europe. The European Council invites the Member States to prepare as quickly as possible the investment programmes to be integrated with the network undertakings, to grant facilities to structures which call on private capital. These programmes should highlight those priority projects which can be carried out speedily. In order to implement the infrastructure programmes efficiently and as soon as possible, the Commission, assisted by a group of personal representatives of the Heads of State and of Government, will be responsible for leadership and coordination. The Commission will also be assisted by the ECOFIN Council in this task, within its areas of competence. With respect to funding, the Community's principle task is to ensure, by reducing the financial risks, that private investors are involved to a greater extent in projects of European interest (i.e. viable and profiable projects). The decisive role played by private investors will be supported by the Community within the financial perspective defined at the Edinburgh Summit. Over the next six years: - The Community budget will supply some ECU 5 billion per annum from the "networks" budget heading, from the Structural Funds, the Cohesion Fund and from research and development appropriations; - The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF) will contribute ECU 7 billion per annum in the form of loans and guarantees; - Additional funding will be provided as far as is necessary, to ensure that priority projects avoid financial obstacles which could hinder their implementation. On this point, the Summit called on the ECOFIN Council to study, together with the Commission and the EIB, procedures which would enable the Community to mobilize up to an additional ECU 8 billion per annum in loans for operators setting up networks.

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