Funding issues limit TENs

24 April 2008

Construction Work Has Only Been Completed on three of the original 14 Trans-European Transport Network (TENs) projects more than two years after the expected completion date. However, many of these schemes were modified in 2004 when the 16 new TENs projects were added, which has made it difficult to monitor progress, according to the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC).

The original 14 projects were instigated in 1994 and were scheduled for completion by 2004. But, following enlargement of the EU, the ‘new' projects were added and the others that were still in progress were amended to reflect the changes and a new end date of 2020 was established.

However, FIEC's 13th annual survey on the TENs projects was published last month and reveals that more than € 196 billion of work still needs to be carried out to deliver the schemes before the 2020 deadline. The report also reveals that, on average, the projects have only secured 51,8% of the funding needed to realise them and only just over a third of the work has been completed.

“Funding, as well as political will, remain the biggest obstacles to the TENs projects FIEC director for economic and legal affairs Domenico Campogrande told CE. “Most of the schemes have to be financed at a national level, with only a small contribution from the European Commission.

However, the ability of the Commission to provide funding for the schemes over the next six years is likely to be limited following setting of budgets for 2007 to 2013. “The Commission had said that, in order to play a leveraging role in progressing the TENs projects, it needed at least € 20 billion to remove the bottlenecks in the schemes, said Mr Campogrande. “But the member states have not agreed to provide the funding, and have cut contributions to just € 8 billion over the next six years.

Appointment of six coordinators to push forward some the more complex TENs projects in 2005 has had a positive impact on the programme, said Mr Campogrande.

“The coordinators have been able to give the projects a European perspective, whereas previously the countries involved in the schemes have had a more national approach, he said.

According to FIEC, the greatest progress over the next few years is expected to be seen on TENs project involving new member states. “These countries have better access to alternative funding and also generally have more political will to get the projects off the ground, said Mr Campogrande. “There is also talk of appointment of more project coordinators during 2007 but it is unclear which projects they will be working on.

“It is likely that we will start to see construction work on some of the ‘new' projects get underway in the next few years but some of the projects may not be completed by 2020. Nonetheless, these projects have an important role to play in creating cohesion and maintaining competitiveness in the European Union.

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