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Official Journal Reference

L 228 of 1996-09-09

Legislative Reference

1692/96 of 1996-07-23
To establish guidelines covering the objectives, priorities and broad lines of measures by the Community in the area of the trans-European transport networks and to identify a number of projects of common interest, the implementation of which should contribute to the development of the network throughout the Community.


The Treaty on European Union sets out the broad parameters for Community action to contribute to the establishment and subsequent development of trans-European networks in the areas of transport, telecommunications and energy infrastructure. Community action aims to promote the interconnection and interoperability of national networks, as well as access to such networks, paying particular attention to the need to link island, landlocked and peripheral regions with the rest of the Community.

In accordance with the provisions of Article 129(d) of the Treaty, this Decision establishes a series of guidelines which identify the objectives, priorities and broad categories of measures. A number of projects of common interest concerning the establishment of the trans-European transport network are also included.

The trans-European transport network comprises transport infrastructure, traffic management systems and positioning and navigation systems. Transport infrastructure covers road, rail and inland waterway networks, seaports, inland waterway ports and other interconnection points. The traffic management systems and the positioning and navigation systems are to include the necessary technical installations and information and telecommunications systems to ensure the harmonious operation of the network and efficient traffic management.

The Decision containing the guidelines for the development of the transport trans-European networks specifies that the network must:

- Ensure the sustainable mobility of persons and goods within an area without internal frontiers under the best possible social and safety conditions while helping, at the same time, to meet the objectives of other Community policies (particularly with regard to the environment, competition and economic and social cohesion);

- Offer users high-quality infrastructure on acceptable economic terms;

- Include all modes of transport, taking account of their comparative advantages;

- Allow the optimal use of existing capacities;

- Be, insofar as possible, interoperable within modes of transport and encourage intermodality between different transport modes;

- Cover the whole territory of the European Union so as to facilitate access in general, link island, landlocked and peripheral regions with central regions and interlink - without bottlenecks - the major conurbations and regions of the Community;

- Be capable of being connected to the networks of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean countries while, at the same time, promoting interoperability and access to these networks, insofar as this proves to be in the Community's interests.

The broad lines of Community measures envisaged in support of the trans-European transport network cover the following:

- Drawing-up and revision of the network outline plans;
- Identification of projects of common interest;
- Adaptation of the existing network;
- Promotion of network interoperability;
- Optimum combination of modes of transport by creating, inter alia, interconnection centres;
- Pursuit of consistency and complementarity of financial aid in line with the rules applicable to each financial instrument;
- Research and development;
- Cooperation with third countries concerned by development of the network and the conclusion of suitable agreements;
- Incentives for Member States and international organizations to further the objectives pursued by the Community;
- Promotion of continuous cooperation between interested parties;
- Any other measures which prove necessary to achieve the objectives of the trans-European transport network.


No details are available for this section.


The Commission is responsible for implementing the Decision assisted by a Committee on the "Trans-European Transport Network" composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by a member of the Commission.

The trans-European transport network is to be established gradually by the year 2010 by integrating land, sea and air transport infrastructure networks throughout the Community in accordance with the projects of common interest identified in the European Parliament and Council Decision adopted on 23 July 1996 (1692/96/EC OJ No 228 of 9.9.1996).

The purpose of the projects of common interest is to ensure the cohesion, interconnection and interoperability of the trans-European transport network, as well as access to it. The various projects form a common objective, the implementation of which depends on their degree of maturity and the availability of financial resources, without prejudging the financial commitment of a Member State or the Community. The involvement of the private sector is also envisaged.

Projects of common interest have been identified in the following domains:

- Road networks;
- Rail networks;
- Inland waterway networks and inland ports;
- Seaports;
- Airports;
- Combined transport networks;
- Shipping management and information networks;
- Air traffic management networks;
- Positioning and navigation networks.

Full details of these projects, together with a set of accompanying maps, are published in the Official Journal No L 228 of 9.9.1996 as a set of annexes to Decision No 1692/96.

Member States are required to regularly notify the Commission of their national plans and programmes which they have drawn up for the development of the trans-European transport network. Particular attention is to be given to the projects of common interest which have been identified.

Efforts will be made to ensure the compatibility of the network to third-country transport networks. The promotion by the Community of such projects will be decided on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the appropriate procedures in the Treaty on European Union.

The Commission is required to report every two years to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation of the guidelines. Every five years, the Commission will draw up a report indicating whether the present guidelines require adaptation to take account of economic and technological developments in the transport sector, particularly as regards rail transport.
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