MEPs last month approved the plans for the new budgetary period. They envisage just over €8 billion for TENs, almost twice the amount in the previous funding period (2000-06) but less than half the €20bn originally proposed. They also allow the EU to fund up to 20% of a priority project, or 30% for cross-border schemes.
But delays in arriving at the final figure mean the application period has been shrunk to two months (May-July) and the first grants will not be agreed until later this year at the earliest.
T&E policy officer Nina Renshaw said: “It’s important to note that the majority of EU money available for the transport TEN projects will not come from this budget but from the Cohesion Funds, which have over €37bn available for TEN-t. This means proper selection criteria and rigorous environmental impact assessments are essential if inappropriate projects are not to be given the go-ahead.”
The EU currently has 30 priority projects, but they are behind schedule. Only four had been completed by the end of last year, whereas nine should have been finished by the end of 2005.
EU transport ministers meeting last month said the continuing delays in “completing” the transport network were weakening the Common Transport Policy and putting economic growth at risk.
This news story is taken from the June 2007 edition of T&E Bulletin.