TEN-T: Building a Trans-European Transport Network


Building a trans-European transport network which connects all EU Member States is essential for promoting economic growth, social cohesion, competitiveness and environmental sustainability. However, major projects are being delayed due to a lack of funds and government coordination. 


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The construction of a trans-European transport network (TEN-T), where national networks for all modes of transport are accessible, interconnected and interoperable, is fundamental to securing a single market with free movement of passengers and goods, as well as for reinforcing economic ties and social cohesion and promoting competitiveness and sustainable development in the European Union. 

To achieve these objectives, the Community first established guidelines, in 1996, defining a series of priority projects of common interest. Financial instruments to support member states in implementing these projects were also set up. 

These guidelines were reviewed in 2004 prior to the enlargement of the EU, with the aim of integrating the ten new member states’ infrastructure into the TEN-T (See EurActiv 11 May 2004). 

The number of priority projects, deemed essential for completing cross-border connections among the EU's 27 member states, was raised from 14 to 30, and rules for granting Community aid were modified to allow for a higher maximum co-funding rate (of 20% rather than 10%) for priority projects which cross borders and natural barriers. 

The updated list of projects also aims to ensure the modal shift – advocated in the 2001 Transport White Paper as the key to a more sustainable transport policy – by focusing investments in rail and water transport (of the 30 priority projects, 18 are railway projects, 2 are inland waterways and shipping projects).