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Trans-European networks - Annual report 1995

The European Commission has published its 1995 annual report to the Council and the European Parliament on the development of the trans-European networks (TENs). The report finds that during 1995 development of the TENs was severely restricted due, firstly, to the slow progre...

The European Commission has published its 1995 annual report to the Council and the European Parliament on the development of the trans-European networks (TENs). The report finds that during 1995 development of the TENs was severely restricted due, firstly, to the slow progress in adopting the guidelines for the various sectors, and, secondly, to the low level of priority given to the funding of projects in the Member States. The budgetary Regulation for TENs was adopted in September 1995, and a transitional clause allowed the 1995 budget allocation to be made available, but financial aid for 1996 cannot be made available until the guidelines for the appropriate sector are adopted. Regarding the energy networks, six of the ten priority projects are under construction (all five gas projects, and one of the five electricity projects). The total cost of these ten projects is estimated at ECU 4,350 million, with Community contributions coming mainly from the Structural Funds and European Investment Bank (EIB) loans. ECU 12 million has been provided from the TENs budget for feasibility studies. The trans-European telecommunications networks are the subject of several separate programmes. The ISDN network proposal has been adopted, and the IDA (interchange of data between administrations) programme has also been adopted. TENs financing has enabled feasibility studies and pilot projects to be carried out. Further proposals, a more general TEN-telecommunications proposal and an integrated broadband communications proposal are still in the legislative process. However, unlike the energy and transport TENs, a list of priority projects has not yet been established in this sector. The 14 TEN-transport priority projects are mostly making slow progress. Various reasons are identified in the report, such as Member States' priorities differing from the Community projects, and a lack of funding. Overall, the TENs budget for 1995-1999 will provide less than four per cent of the total costs of the priority projects. Other problems experienced include a lack of cross-border cooperation and coordination, and insufficient input of private finance. The Commission has also established, with the aid of a high-level working group, criteria for joint environmental projects for water and waste networks. The intention is now to select and implement a number of pilot projects with the aim of testing the implementation modalities.