We, the members of the European People’s Party Group in the European Committee of the Regions,
- Acknowledge that transport is a major contributor to a prosperous EU economy; it generates trade, fosters economic growth and provides millions of jobs. We encourage the development of a competitive EU transport industry by promoting policies that are secure, innovative, efficient and environmentally friendly. As such, we believe that the trans-European transport network policy provides substantial support for the construction and development of transport infrastructure across the European Union, allowing the seamless, safe and sustainable mobility of persons and goods.
- Point out also that the planning, development and operation of trans-European transport networks (TEN-T) play a substantial part in achieving major European Union objectives as defined in the Europe 2020 Strategy, “the White Paper on Transport 2011” and, the 10 priorities of the Juncker Commission, such as the smooth functioning of the internal market and the strengthening of economic, social and territorial cohesion.
- Support a territorial-based TEN-T policy that ensures accessibility and connectivity for all regions of the Union, thus contributing further to their sustainable economic growth and long-term competitiveness. We commit therefore to work for the success of a territorial-based TEN-T policy that connects countries from the south to the north and from east to west throughout the European continent, closing the gaps between national transport networks and removing impediments that hamper the economic development of our regions and cities.
- Underline that a territorial-based TEN-T policy can only be achieved by properly applying the principles of a bottom-up, multilevel governance approach and subsidiarity – engaging all levels of governance to work in partnership. Furthermore, we insist on the need to better include local and regional authorities (LRAs), which are in many cases responsible for the maintenance of transport infrastructure. As such, LRAs are involved in the political, operational, technical and implementing management bodies of the TEN-T infrastructure projects; however, maintaining the Member States’ and European Commission’s role in the coordination process is crucial.
- Commit to providing our expertise together with strong political leadership in order to make full use of the TEN-T policy as an instrument to modernise and expand transport networks for all modes of transport and to all corners of Europe. To this extent, we welcome the financial and technical support from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and other relevant EU initiatives such as the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the INTERREG programme and Horizon 2020.
- Strongly support targeted public and private investments in transport infrastructure and systems which can generate considerable direct and indirect employment effects at a time when unemployment remains high in some EU countries. We encourage greater synergies between different funding instruments and contributions from supranational, national, regional and local sources, together with public-private partnerships to alleviate this. Furthermore, we highlight the need to strengthen the capacity of LRAs to use the financial tools provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB) in delivering investments for the fulfilment of the policy’s objectives.
- Recognise that the nine core network corridors lead the way in implementing the TEN-T. However, we point out that there is a lack of financial resources for developing local and regional infrastructure and small-scale infrastructure in border and peripheral areas which are particularly crucial for the sustainable development of Europe’s regions. To this end, we urge the renewal of the CEF’s economic commitment by increasing its finances and, in part by encouraging initiatives to implement the comprehensive networks and the system for linking up with the TEN-T core network corridors in order to fill in the missing links.
- Support the extension of the current TEN-T network through the completion of the Baltic-Adriatic corridor, including the extension of the entire Ionian-Adriatic coast to Brindisi, on the one hand, and to the southern tip of Greece, on the other. We support the European Parliament’s invitation to the participating countries to focus their efforts on the implementation of projects that are covered by the TEN-T network and other current interventions to extend the TEN-T network towards the South-East Europe/Eastern Adriatic coast. These projects have the potential to close the existing infrastructure gap in the Adriatic-Ionian area, such as the highway on the Adriatic-Ionian east coast, the high-speed rail on the Italian-Adriatic coast and other projects by strengthening road, sea and air connections between east and west.