MEPs are outraged that the action plan to kick-start investment in segments of the trans-European transport network projects was adopted by the European Council without them being consulted.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution expressing its disapproval not at not having been consulted on the Quick Start programme adopted by the European Council on 26 February. In December, the Commission and the European Council agreed to 'quick-start' the investment of segments of the 30 pan-European corridors selected as priority TEN transport projects. The Quick-Start Transport Projects are predominantly mature cross-border rail connections, sea and inland waterways or road links interconnecting with other networks such as the 'motorways of the sea'. While the whole trans-European transport networks requires an investment of 220 billion euro up to 2020, the segments selected for the Quick-Start programme need an investment of 38 billion euro between now and 2010. MEPs stressed that the timing and funding of the individual projects depended solely on the criteria of the project's state of maturity in planning, funding and construction terms and not on the Quick Start programme.
Two days earlier, the Council had officially adopted its common position on the rules for granting Community financing for the trans-European transport networks (TENT). According to the Council's common position, the EU funding should amount to 20 per cent in the cross border sections of priority TEN transport projects and those allowing the crossing of natural obstacles (such as mountains for examples) provided they are launched before 2010. For other TEN projects, EU funding will amount to ten percent. The rest of the money will come from the national budgets, as well as loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the private sector.
Meanwhile, five leading environmental NGOs have warned MEPs of the damaging environmental effects that three planned TEN projects will have on protected species and habitats. NGOs call for a new and improved environmental impact assessment to be conducted before projects are launched.