TRANSEUROPEAN TRANSPORT NETWORK
COM (01) 545
Draft Regulation amending Council Regulation No. 2236/95/EC laying down general rules for the granting of Community financial aid in the field of the transEuropean transport network.
|Legal base:||Article 156 EC; co-decision; QMV
|Document originated:||3 December 2001
|Forwarded to the Council:
||4 December 2001|
|Deposited in Parliament:
||3 January 2002 |
|Department:||Transport, Local Government and the Regions
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 31 January 2002|
|Previous Committee Report:
|To be discussed in Council:
||March 2002 |
|Committee's assessment:||Politically important
|Committee's decision:||Cleared, but relevant to the debate already recommended on the European Transport White Paper and the transEuropean transport network
16.1 On 30 January 2002 we recommended the Commission's
second White Paper on transport ("Time to decide") and
a proposal to revise the existing Community guidelines for the
development of the transEuropean transport networks (TENs)
for debate in European Standing Committee A. The debate is to
be held on 13 March, in time for the Transport Council of 25/26
March. At that Council a decision is also expected to be reached
on a Commission proposal to amend the current rules for the granting
of Community financial aid to TENs.
16.2 The Commission proposes an amendment to the existing
financial regulation for TENs (No. 2236/95) to allow the Community
to contribute up to 20% of project costs as opposed to
the 10% currently allowed to support critical but difficult
to finance cross-border projects and projects to clear bottlenecks
on the borders with candidate countries.
In his Explanatory Memorandum of 31 January 2002, the Minister
of State for Transport (Mr John Spellar) sets out the Commission's
"The Commission now proposes that the maximum level of
support of 20% of total investment costs should... be made available
from 1 January 2003 to crossborder rail projects crossing
natural barriers such as mountain ranges or stretches of water
and to other projects aimed at eliminating bottlenecks at borders
with countries seeking accession to the EU. The Commission suggests
that a higher rate of support will have a leverage effect and
attract private investors in particular.
"The Commission also proposes that the committee procedure
set out in Article 17 of the existing Regulation should be modified
to comply with the 1999 Council Decision on Comitology.
"Finally, the Commission proposes that the TENs financial
framework for the period 2000 to 2006 as set out in Article 18
of the existing Regulation should be increased by £100 million
to £4,700 million. The Commission suggests that the additional
£100 million could be allocated to Member States to use towards
the most urgently needed improvements related to cross-border
transport infrastructure with candidate countries."
The Government's view
16.3 In his Explanatory Memorandum, the Minister tells
"This is not the first time that the Commission has proposed
that the maximum level of EU support to TENs projects should be
more than 10% of total investment costs. When the Council adopted
the Financial Regulation in 1995, it rejected a proposal from
the Commission that the maximum support should be set at 30%.
And, while the Council and European Parliament accepted 20% support
for satellite positioning and navigation systems when they adopted
the amending Regulation in 1999, they rejected the Commission
proposal that 20% should also be made available to transport projects
relating to more than one Member State or projects contributing
strongly to the broader transEuropean interest including
those having an important environmental dimension.
"The Government believes that the bulk of TENs financing
should continue to come from the public and private sectors in
individual Member States and, at Community level, from the European
Investment Bank and, where appropriate, the Cohesion Funds. The
role of the TENs budget should be to act as a catalyst to get
projects off the ground. The current EU financial provision for
TENs is not sufficient to provide support of even 10% of total
investment costs to major transport projects. And the Government
believes that allowing the Community to meet up to 20% of projects'
costs could put strong upward pressure on the TENs budget line.
"The Government supports the proposed changes to the committee
procedure set out in Article 17 of the existing Regulation to
bring it in line with the 1999 Comitology Decision. And it is
content to see the financial framework set out in Article 18 of
the existing Regulation increased to £4,700 million, subject
to sufficient margin being available for future years under the
20002006 Financial Perspective."
16.4 The Community funding for TENs is designed to
act as a catalyst for extra investment in important trans-European
routes. However, as the Government observes, the funding available
in the existing TENs budget line is not enough to meet the calls
on that funding, even with the current maximum of 10% of the projects'
costs. The Commission's proposal to increase the maximum to 20%
will inevitably lead to increased tension in allocating the funds
amongst competing projects. If the Commission's proposal is agreed,
we urge the Minister to monitor closely whether there are any
adverse effects on the TENs funding for UK projects.
16.5 We clear the document, but it is relevant to
the forthcoming debate on the European Transport White Paper and
the draft Decision on Community guidelines for the development
of the transEuropean transport network.
The maximum level of support (from 1 January 2003) was increased
under Regulation No. 1655/1999 from 10% to 20% of total investment
costs for projects concerning satellite positioning and navigation
systems. For all other projects, the maximum remains 10% of total
project costs. Back
I 999/468/EC of 28 June 1999. Back
11932/01, (22776) 12597/01: HC 152-xv (2001-02), paragraph 2 (30
January 2002). Back