THE JOINT VISEGRAD GROUP STATEMENT
ON THE PROPOSAL FOR THE REGULATION ON UNION GUIDELINES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE TEN-T AND ON THE PROPOSAL FOT THE REGULATION ESTABLISHING CONNECTING EUROPE FACILITY
The Visegrad Countries welcome the European Commission’s proposal for the Regulation on Union guidelines for the development of the Trans-European Transport Network, which completed a two-year long preparatory phase of the TEN-T policy revision. The Visegrad Countries are aware of the highest importance of the new Guidelines and agree that well developed infrastructure as well as integrated and coherent transport system are essential for the completion of Single European Market. Therefore, we fully support the dual layer structure of the future TEN-T development based on core and comprehensive network.
From the perspective of the Visegrad Countries the following issues should be highlighted:
- As indicated in the White Paper – Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area, the differences of transport infrastructure quality between Western and Eastern parts of the European Union are still a reality. Therefore, in view of the Visegrad Countries it is important to focus on the development of the entire core network including also its road sections as well as the elimination of bottlenecks and missing links in its infrastructures.
- In accordance with Article 172 TFEU, the Visegrad Countries are of the opinion that the Member States shall, after the consultation with the Commission, decide which projects of the core network should be given priority to. In this respect the Visegrad Countries would like to underline, that this approach is fully in line with the main objective of the TEN-T policy revision, which is the completion of the core network by 2030.
- Moreover the Visegrad Countries regret that the core network corridors have been designated and presented by the Commission without a clear methodology or criteria. Furthermore the idea has not been consulted with the Member States during the preparatory phase of the TEN-T policy revision.
- The Visegrad Countries therefore suggest focusing on the completion of the entire core network rather then only on specified corridors.
- Bearing in mind the current and potential future economic difficulties and their consequences for national budgets, the Visegrad Countries are of the opinion that deadlines for the completion of the core and comprehensive network shall be reviewed in the TEN-T Guidelines Review by 2023 at the latest.
- Furthermore, the Visegrad Countries have concerns about the proposed role of the core network corridors coordinators, which has been considerably strengthened in comparison with the previous status quo. Since the Member States bear the main responsibility for the projects’ implementation and having also in mind the principle of subsidiarity, the Visegrad Countries present the opinion that the coordinators’ activity should focus on selected cross-border sections of the entire TEN-T network, where implementation discrepancies might arise rather than on the intervention in the national infrastructure planning.
- Subsequently, the Visegrad Countries insist that realization of purely national sections should remain solely in the competences of eachMemberStatein accordance with the principle of subsidiarity.
- The Visegrad Countries also question the obligation to create corridor platform. In our opinion, such solution would result in further growth of bureaucracy and administrative costs without guarantee that the TEN-T projects will be more effectively coordinated rather than at present.
- The Visegrad Countries propose to harmonize all provisions of the Commission´s proposal with the current EU legislation, in particular in the area of rail transport, where technical parameters are not fully in compliance with TSI INF (Commission Decision No. 2011/275). The fulfilment of these further requirements would lead to excessive costs.
- As regards the Commission´s proposal to earmark EUR 10 billion from the Cohesion Fund for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the Visegrad Countries are not in favour of such idea, since both funds strive to achieve quite different objectives. The Visegrad Countries are of the opinion that through funding of only selected transport projects (in particular in area of rail and inland waterways)
CEF will not ensure the fulfilment of main objective of the cohesion policy – strengthening of economic, social and territorial cohesion of the Member States. Considerable differences exist also between management and funding rules of those funds (in particular in case of eligibility of projects and costs).