A new legal basis for Community financial aid to infrastructure projects in the sectors of transport, telecommunications and energy was proposed by the Commission on 2 March 1994. The Commission's proposal for a Council Regulation lays down the general rules for granting aid, defines the different types of aid, sets out selection criteria and describes the procedures for applying for financing. The proposed Regulation provides a new legal framework, on the basis of the Maastricht Treaty, which will permit the use of the appropriations already entered in the budget for this purpose: ECU 251 million for use in 1995, increasing to ECU 640 million in 1999. Under Title XII of the Treaty on European Union (the Maastricht Treaty), the Community must contribute to the establishment of trans-European networks in these three sectors, which are essential to the smooth running of the internal market and to greater economic cohesion. This Community financial contribution to network infrastructure projects will be marginal, and is intended as an incentive, as most of the funds required will be gathered at Member State level, in particular from private investors. In view of the problems of infrastructure networks which have been designed largely at national level (lack of proper transborder links, bottlenecks and obstacles to interoperability), Community action will aim to promote the interconnection and interoperability of national networks, as well as access to these networks, while taking account of the need to link island, landlocked and peripheral regions to the central areas of the Community. In this context, the White Paper on Growth, Competitivity and Employment (development theme II) includes a preliminary list of strategic projects of common interest. Under Title XII of the Maastricht Treaty, the Community shall establish the main orientations of action to be undertaken with regard to trans-European networks, and will ensure their interoperability. In addition, the Community may aid national efforts, in particular by supporting feasibility studies and providing loan guarantees or interest subsidies for projects of common interest.
Policy making and guidelines
31 January 1994