HLG calls for better transport links with EU Neighbours
Publication date: 07 December 2005
The High Level Group set up by the European Commission last year to look at transport connections between the newly enlarged European Union and its 26 neighbours submitted its final report today. Recommendations include a mix of infrastructure projects and simpler measures aiming to stimulate trade and to facilitate traffic flows between countries along five major transnational transport axes.
Chaired by former Transport Commissioner Ms Loyola de Palacio, the High Level Group comprised 53 countries and 3 international financing institutions. After a year of intensive work, the Group agreed on a set of priority measures, focussing efforts on 5 major transnational axes connecting the EU with the neighbouring countries in the North, East and South-East as well as around the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions.
final_report_hlg_tent.pdf (2815 KB)
The Group highlights its main priorities in the operational conclusions which include a number of infrastructure projects and several “soft” measures with the aim of removing physical and administrative bottlenecks along the main transport axes identified and to facilitate cooperation and communication between authorities in the different countries (harmonisation of documents and procedures, joint border control stations, etc). These measures include maritime safety and environmental protection, rail interoperability, extension of the European satellite radio navigation system (GALILEO) as well as the extension of the Single European Sky initiative to the neighbouring countries. The Group also wants to promote the exchange of best practice to explore the role of public-private partnerships in accelerating the implementation of the projects. Total cost of the projects is estimated at € 45 billion, of which € 35 billion should be found between today and 2020 primarily from the national budgets of the countries concerned and international financing institutions complemented by EU support.
The Group recommends that the Commission, the EU Member states as well as the Banks focus their cooperation and financing actions on the priority axes and on the horizontal measures identified in the report. The Group’s recommendations should also be adequately reflected in the cooperation agreements and action plans under the European Neighbourhood Policy. In this context, the Group considers that the twinning of an EU Member state with a neighbouring country could be a very useful and effective tool for implementing the horizontal measures, particularly in the areas of maritime and road safety as well as simplifying border crossing procedures. To ensure coherence of networks, implementation of the proposed measures should be synchronised along the axes.
conclusions_tent_hlg.pdf (270 KB)
Based on the Group’s recommendations, Vice President Barrot intends next Spring to present a Communication to the Council and European Parliament on the way ahead.