TEN-T - The Trans-European Transport Networks

In contributing to the implementation and development of the Internal Market, as well as re-enforcing economic and social cohesion, the construction of the trans-European transport network is a major element in economic competitiveness and a balanced and sustainable development of the European Union.

This development requires the interconnection and interoperability of national networks as well as the access to them.

Lastly, to achieve these objectives, the Community has established guidelines covering the objectives, priorities, the definition of projects of common interest, and the main themes of the envisaged measures.

The Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency (TEN-T EA) was created in 2006 to implement and manage the TEN-T programme on behalf of the European Commission.

Introduction to the Community Guidelines for the development of the Trans-European Transport Network

On July 1996 the European Parliament and Council adopted on Community guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T). These guidelines comprises roads, railways, inland waterways, airports, seaports, inland ports and traffic management systems which serve the entire continent, carry the bulk of the the long distance traffic and bring the geographical and economic areas of the Union closer together.

The European Union must aim to promote the development of trans-European networks as a key element for the creation of the Internal Market and the reinforcement of Economic and Social Cohesion. This development includes the interconnection and interoperability of national networks as well as access to such networks.

In view of the delays in completing the planned network, the Commission considers that a headlong rush to create new infrastructure routes cannot be the answer to the capacity requirements. Instead, the planned revision of the guidelines should confirm that it is necessary to complete what was decided in 1996 by focusing Community activities and projects on reducing the bottlenecks on major routes and on a small number of major projects. Against this background the Commission initiated in October 2001 a first revision of TEN-T Guidelines in the lines of the White Paper on a European transport policy for 2010 to tackle the new challenges facing transport and to help to meet the objectives of the new transport policy as described in the White Paper. It aims at reducing the bottlenecks in the planned or existing network without adding new infrastructure routes by concentrating investments on a few horizontal priorities and a limited number of new specific projects.

A more fundamental revision the TEN-T Guidelines will be proposed by the Commission at the end of 2003, to take account of Enlargement and expected changes in traffic flows. New outline plans for 2020 will be drawn up with the aim of efficiently channelling tomorrows trans-European traffic in an enlarged Union. In this context the Commission will look at the idea to concentrate on a primary network made up of the most important infrastructure for international traffic and cohesion on the European continent, introduce the concept of 'sea motorways' and include sections of pan-European corridors situated on the territory of candidate countries.

Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor 1

is a crucial north-south axis for the European economy. Crossing the Baltic Sea from Finland to Sweden and passing through Germany, the Alps and Italy, it links the major urban centres and ports of Scandinavia and Northern Germany to continue to the industrialised high production centres of Southern Germany, Austria and Northern Italy further to the Italian ports and Valletta. The most important projects in this corridor are the fixed Fehmarnbelt crossing and Brenner base tunnel, including their access routes. It extends, across the sea, from Southern Italy and Sicily to Malta.

The North Sea-Baltic Corridor 2

connects the ports of the Eastern shore of the Baltic Sea with the ports of the North Sea. The corridor will connect Finland with Estonia by ferry, provide modern road and rail transport links between the three Baltic States on the one hand and Poland, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium on the other. Between the Odra River and German, Dutch and Flemish ports, it also includes inland waterways, such as the "Mittelland-Kanal". The most important project is "Rail Baltic", a European standard gauge railway between Tallinn, Riga, Kaunas and North-Eastern Poland.

North Sea-Mediterranean Corridor 3

stretches from Ireland and the north of UK through the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg to the Mediterranean Sea in the south of France. This multimodal corridor, comprising inland waterways in Benelux and France, aims not only at offering better multimodal services between the North Sea ports, the Maas, Rhine, Scheldt, Seine, Saone and Rhone river basins and the ports of Fos-sur-Mer and Marseille, but also better interconnecting the British Isles with continental Europe.

The Baltic-Adriatic Corridor 4

is one of the most important trans-European road and railway axes. It connects the Baltic with the Adriatic Sea, through industrialized areas between Southern Poland (Upper Silesia), Vienna and Bratislava, the Eastern Alpine region and Northern Italy. It comprises important railway projects such as Semmering base tunnel and Koralm railway in Austria and cross-border sections between PL, CZ and SK.

The Orient/East-Med Corridor 5

connects the maritime interfaces of the North, Baltic, Black and Mediterranean Seas, allowing optimising the use of the ports concerned and the related Motorways of the Sea. Including Elbe as inland waterway, it will improve the multimodal connections between Northern Germany, the Czech Republic, the Pannonian region and Southeast Europe. It extends, across the sea, from Greece to Cyprus.

The Rhine-Alpine Corridor 6

constitutes one of the busiest freight routes of Europe, connecting the North Sea ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp to the Mediterranean basin in Genoa, via Switzerland and some of the major economic centres in the Rhein-Ruhr, the Rhein-Main-Neckar, regions and the agglomeration of Milan in Northern Italy. This multimodal corridor includes the Rhine as inland waterway. Key projects are the base tunnels, partly already completed, in Switzerland and their access routes in Germany and Italy.

The Atlantic Corridor 7

links the Western part of the Iberian Peninsula and the ports of Le Havre and Rouen to Paris and further to Mannheim/Strasbourg, with high speed rail lines and parallel conventional ones, including also the Seine as inland waterway. The maritime dimension plays a crucial role in this corridor.

The Rhine-Danube Corridor 8

with the Main and Danube waterway as its backbone, connects the central regions around Strasbourg and Frankfurt via Southern Germany to Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and finally the Black Sea, with an important branch from Munich to Prague, Zilina, Kosice and the Ukrainian border.

The Mediterranean Corridor 9

links the Iberian Peninsula with the Hungarian-Ukrainian border. It follows the Mediterranean coastlines of Spain and France, crosses the Alps towards the east through Northern Italy, leaving the Adriatic coast in Slovenia and Croatia towards Hungary. Apart from the Po River and some other canals in Northern Italy, it consists of road and rail. Key railway projects along this corridor are the links Lyon – Turin and the section Venice – Ljubljana.

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