Belgium: Local leaders and MEPs urge more funding for bridging missing cross-border transport links

02. Oktober 2016 zur Übersicht

Artikel erschienen auf am 30.09.2016

More investment for bridging missing transport links between EU border regions can boost territorial and social cohesion, markets integration and competitiveness, said local leaders and transport MEPs in a joint meeting on Thursday at the European Committee of the Regions. The next EU budget should ensure adequate funding also for links that are not included in the core Trans - European Transport Networks, they agreed.

In a joint meeting on 29 September, the European Committee of the Regions Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy (COTER) and the European Parliament's Committee for Transport and Tourism (TRAN) discussed the lack of financing for local transport infrastructure with particular attention to cross-border links.

"Small-scale cross-border infrastructure provides the many physical ties stitching Europe together in everyday life", said COTER chair, Mr Raffaele Cattaneo, President of the Lombardia Region Council. "Closing the missing links in border regions requires limited funding but has a big impact on European integration. COTER and TRAN will intensify their joint work to ensure that this issue receives adequate attention in the budgetary review and in the future White Paper on transport," he added.

"The main added value of European transport infrastructure policy is to join up transport networks of EU member states, providing an important basis for economic growth and stimulating development of the border regions. Although we have invested a lot in improving transport infrastructure, there is underinvestment in many cross-border sections and bottlenecks and missing links remain", said TRAN chair Michael Cramer (Greens/EFA, DE).

Local leaders and MEPs welcomed European Commission proposal to invest on small cross border projects 110mln from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The plan was greenlighted on 16 September by the CEF Coordination Committee, where Member States are represented.

"Only, very few resources are available through instruments such as the INTERREG programme, so I welcome the new Commission initiative to scale up support for smaller cross-border projects to help develop local and regional transport infrastructure", said Mr Cramer.

MEPs and COTER members also discussed the Committee of the Regions study on the potential of closing the missing transport link in border regions, including examples such as the link between Prague and Nuremberg, the bridge between Freiburg and Colmar, and the missing 15 km of electrified tracks between the German border and Wroclaw. "These missing infrastructures are not only embarrassing, they are economically harmful as they are necessary for commuters and also for long-haul transport", commented Mr Cattaneo.

The debate will feed into the European Committee of the Regions' work on the opinion on missing transport links in border regions, led by Michael Schaeffer (NL/ALDE).