Trans-European transport network: Coreper approves agreement with Parliament on faster permit-granting procedures

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Today, the member states’ ambassadors endorsed new rules to speed up the completion of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) by streamlining permit-granting processes. The ‘smart TEN-T’ proposal also clarifies the procedures which project promoters need to follow as regards permit granting and public procurement for cross-border projects. The new rules had been provisionally agreed by the Council presidency and the European Parliament, on 8 June.

“Clearer, faster and more efficient procedures to improve key European transport links will help us complete the TEN-T core network by 2030. This will boost connectivity across Europe and contribute to smart and sustainable growth, which is crucial for the post-pandemic recovery.”
Oleg Butković, Croatian Minister for the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, President of the Council

Smart TEN-T agreement

The co-legislators agreed that the legal format of the text will be a directive (instead of a regulation as proposed by the Commission). This will give member states the necessary flexibility to take advantage of their existing permit-granting procedures.

The directive will cover projects that are part of pre-identified sections of the TEN-T core network. It will also cover other projects on the core network corridors with a total cost exceeding 300 million. Projects exclusively related to telematics and other new technologies will be excluded from the scope, as their deployment is not limited to the TEN-T core network. However, member states may apply the directive to other projects on the core and comprehensive TEN-T network to enable a broader, harmonised approach to transport infrastructure projects.

Projects covered by the directive will be given priority treatment by member states’ authorities.

To make the procedures more efficient and transparent, member states will designate an authority to act as the point of contact for each project’s promoter. The authority will provide the project promoter with guidance on the submission of documents and other information. Member states may choose to designate the same authority for all projects, or have different authorities as the designated authority depending on the category of projects, mode of transport or geographical area.

A maximum time limit of four years will apply to the entire permit-granting process. This period can be extended twice in duly justified cases.

Member states will have two years from the directive’s entry into force to incorporate its provisions into national law.

The annex to the proposal listing the pre-identified sections of the TEN-T core network covered by the directive will only be added after the formal adoption of the Connecting Europe Facility programme (CEF 2.0), expected later this year.

TEN-T structure and deadlines

The TEN-T network has two layers: a comprehensive network, which ensures connectivity for all EU regions, and a core network, which consists of those elements of the comprehensive network which are of the highest strategic importance for the EU. The core network is to be completed by 2030 and the comprehensive network by 2050.

Smart TEN-T proposal – procedure

The Commission presented the proposal in May 2018 under the third ‘Europe on the move’ package, which is designed to make European mobility safer, cleaner, more efficient and more accessible.

Today’s endorsement of the agreement took place in the Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper). The agreed text will now undergo legal-linguistic revision, and a formal vote in both Parliament and the Council will follow at a later date, after the adoption of CEF 2.0.

A link to the approved text will be added to this press release on our website.

Connecting Europe Facility: Coreper confirms common understanding with the Parliament on extending the programme (press release, 13 March 2019)

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Sue Terpilowski
Author: Sue Terpilowski