Trans-European networks (TENs) are an important part of the European Union's policy to strengthen the single market and to build greater economic prosperity for Europe in the 21st century. The purpose of the TENs transport strategy is to develop a multimodal transport infrastructure for the EU, creating traffic corridors linking all parts of the Union from Western to Eastern Europe. This in turn will contribute to economic growth, competitiveness, and employment, and will encourage economic and social cohesion within the EU. These objectives were endorsed in the Maastricht Treaty. Since the Essen Council, 14 transport projects have been identified as the priority launch projects for the transport sector, designed to come on stream by the year 2000. Some of the projects are already under way, for example: - The Oeresund link; - Malpensa airport; - The Cork-Dublin-Belfast-Stranraer rail link; - The Ireland-Benelux road corridor; - The west coast main line. In addition to promoting the overall aim of the TENs programme (by completing a connection or filling in a missing link, improving access to peripheral areas, and being operated as part of a wider network) the proposed projects must: - Be large scale; - Be economically viable and therefore able to contribute to mid-term growth; - Allow scope for private investment; - Comply with EU environmental protection law; - Be sufficiently far-advanced in terms of planning and regulations. Finance for the TENs transport network comes from four European funding sources: - The TENs transport programme budget (a preliminary figure of ECU 282 million for 1996 and ECU 1.8 billion for the period from 1995 to 1999 as a whole); - Structural Funds, Cohesion Funds and Community initiatives; - The European Investment Bank; - The European Investment Fund guarantees. The Commission's role is to ensure that the TENs transport network is built by speeding up planning and notification procedures, by overseeing the interconnection process between transport corridors, by upholding environmental requirements, by bringing interested parties together and by finding solutions to financial and regulatory problems. The Member States are responsible for implementing the TENs network at national, regional and local level, for defining precise routes and for developing partnerships between public financing authorities and private investors. Much of the network already exists and in some cases only requires upgrading or the addition of new links. The TENs road network comprises approximately 65,000 km of road, 45,000 km of which already exist. About 80% of the total ECU 91 billion of funds to be spent on the 14 priority projects will be allocated to railways, and 9% to promoting road and rail links. Only 10% of this funding will be spent on road construction, largely in the four cohesion states. This strategy is in line with the Commission's commitment to develop an environmentally responsible, efficient and competitive transport system.
Policy making and guidelines
24 May 1995