The coupling of economic growth and transport has been the commonly accepted paradigm for over 30 years of transport policy. The concept of the European transport networks, as well as transport corridors, was conceived on the basis of a wish for further economic growth and cohesion within Europe.
Recognises that the first attempts at developing an EU transport infrastructure policy, inspired by the 'missing links' of the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT), were boosted by the Commission communication of 2 December 1992 entitled "The future development of the common transport policy", with the justification to "achieve economic growth, competitiveness and employment" and were put on track by former Transport Commissioner Karel Van Miert; notes that Council Regulation (EC) No 2236/95 of 18 September 1995 laying down general rules for the granting of Community financial aid in the field of trans-European networks(6) and Decision No 884/2004/EC tried to be oriented towards the abovementioned aims; and draws attention to the stimulus given to this policy by the Commissioner responsible for energy and transport matters, Vice-President Loyola de Palacio
In 1990, the Commission adopted a first action plan on trans-European networks. Following the coming into force of the Maastricht treaty in 1993, the TEN-T became one of the key instruments for cohesion and growth within the European Union. Based on these competences, the Essen European Council in 1994 endorsed the so-called "Essen List" including the 14 projects that were supposed to contribute most to
European integration. This list of priority projects was later included in the Community Guidelines for the development of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) that was adopted by the European Parliament and Council in 1996. The first financial regulation for the TEN-T was adopted in 1995.
During the first revision of the TEN-T Guidelines in April 2004, 16 further projects were added to the list that then consisted of 30 so-called priority projects, taking
special account of the enlargement of the EU. In parallel a new financial regulation was proposed.
As a result of the tough and long-winded negotiations on the EU budget for the
financial period from 2007 to 2013, the new financial regulation was not adopted by the European Parliament until May 2007. This financial uncertainty delayed the planning and start of projects and caused accumulative problems in the timely realisation of projects. Negotiations on the TEN-T budget were unsatisfactory and only 8 bn euro was allocated for the realisation of the TEN-T for the period from 2007 to 2013. A figure of at least 23 bn euro would have been necessary to sufficiently co-fund the priority projects.
The concept of corridors and networks on a European level (geographically European, so also including central and south-eastern European countries) arose in the 1970s when the United Nations' Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE) decided to carry out a project on Trans-European-Motorways (TEM) that was later extended to rail transport (TER). This was a pre-cursor to the European TEN-T. Further information can be found here: http://www.unece.org/trans/main/tem/tem.html
Pan-European transport Conferences
A series of Pan-European transport conferences aimed to set up a European transport infrastructure plan. Of the three conferences (Prague 1991/Crete 1994/ Helsinki1997) the last one, in Helsinki, had the most impact. One year after the conference the European Commission proposed the extension of the TEN-T network to the former Accession Countries. This resulted into 10 multimodal transport corridors that have formed since then the so-called "backbone network".
The transport infrastructure needs assessment (TINA) aimed at initiating the development of a multimodal transport network within the EU enlargement countries
of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus.
Bearing in mind the backbone network, decided at the 1997 Helsinki conference, additional connections were identified and the network was further refined. In 1998 the TINA group – consisting of the 15 EU Members and the 11 accession countries, excluding Malta – agreed on the elaborated network. This network was later included in the revised TEN-T network.
The TINA process is ongoing, albeit on a reduced scale, and is managed by its own secretariat, which undertakes the tasks of implementation guidance and monitoring of implementation into the TEN-T.