TRANSEUROPEAN TRANSPORT NETWORK
Letter from Chairman of the Committee
to Mr David Jamieson MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State,
Department of Transport
Thank you for your Explanatory Memorandum dated
24 October which Sub-Committee B considered at its meetings on
4 November and 2 December 2002.
As you know, we share your concerns about the
attempts to add the six new Priority Projects to the existing
list of fourteen. We also note, however, that the Galileo satellite
project appears to be going ahead independently. Why is this?
Did the Finance Council deliberately exclude it from their consideration
of the increased contributions required under the TEN programme?
We note that the future of this proposal is
uncertain, but should the issue be placed on the agenda of a future
Transport Council I hope you will ensure that we are properly
briefed in advance of the Council meeting.
Under the circumstances, we are prepared to
lift the Scrutiny reserve on this document.
4 December 2002
Letter from David Jamieson to the Chairman
Thank you for your letter of 4 December which
advises that the Committee are prepared to lift the Scrutiny reserve
on the above document.
In your letter you also highlighted the status
of the Galileo project in relation to the priority project list
and asked why it appeared to be going ahead independently. You
will be aware that the project has reached an advanced stage of
discussion with the release of TEN funds for the development phase
having been agreed at the March 2002 Transport Council. This puts
it in the same category as the majority of projects in receipt
of TEN funding which are ongoing but are not accorded priority
project status. The existing priority project list was settled
by the Essen Council of 1994. Plans for the Galileo project would
not have been sufficiently advanced for it to be considered a
priority project at that time.
You also asked why the Finance Council excluded
it from their consideration of the increased contributions required
under the TEN programme. They did so because Regulation 1655/99,
adopted in June 1999 by the Council of Ministers and European
Parliament, already provides for the maximum level of support
for projects concerning satellite positioning and navigation systems
to be increased from 2003 to a maximum of 20 per cent of total
investment costs. What the current proposed amendment to the Financing
Regulation seeks in part to do, is to extend this to other types
Finally I would like to take this opportunity
to update you on developments relating to the more extensive revision
of the TEN guidelines which the Commission is required to produce
by 2004. It has established a High Level Group as part of its
preparatory work. The Group, compromising representatives of Member
States and chaired by Karel Van Miert, a former Commission Vice-President,
will examine proposals for new priority projects to update the
Essen list. Member States have been invited to nominate a representative
and DfT's Director General Transport Strategy, Roads and Local
Transport Group will be the UK delegate.
The Group is due to make recommendations to
the Commission by the end of March 2003. The Commission will then
use its conclusions as the basis for developing the proposals
that it would publish in late 2003/early 2004. I will keep the
Committee informed of the output from the Group.
I hope this is helpful.
18 December 2002
Letter from the Chairman to Mr David Jamieson
Thank you for your letter dated 18 December
2002 setting out the reasons why the Galileo project has gone
ahead, and why the Finance Council excluded it from their consideration
of the increased contributions required under the TEN programme.
This letter was considered by Sub-Committee B at its meeting on
13 January 2003.
It was good of you to bring us up to date on
the developments of the TEN guidelines, and the establishment
of a High Level Group by the Commission under the Chairmanship
of Mr Karel Van Miert. We note that you have appointed your Director
General, Transport Strategy Roads and Local Transport Group to
be the UK delegate.
15 January 2003
Letter from David Jamieson to the Chairman
The above EM was considered by your Committee
on 6 November 2002 and deemed politically important and for debate.
There have been further developments since the submission of the
EM and I thought you would like to hear about the current position.
To be succinct, this document is rapidly being
overtaken by events. In its 2001 Transport Policy White Paper,
the Commission proposed a two stage revision of the guidelines.
The first stage, the subject of this EM and also EM 2597/01, aimed
at a limited adaptation, albeit with some additions to the list
of priority projects agreed by the Essen Council in 1994. The
second stage in 2003-04 would involve a more extensive revision.
The Commission is now focusing increasingly
on the 2004 revision and has now established a High Level Working
Group (HLG) as part of its preparatory work. The Group, comprising
representatives of Member States and chaired by Karel Van Miert,
a former Commission Vice-President, will examine proposals for
new priority projects to update the Essen list. Member States
were invited to nominate a representative and DfT's Director General
Transport Strategy, Roads and Local Transport Group is the UK
delegate. The Group is due to report back to the Commission in
May. Its report will be one of the inputs that the Commission
will then use to further develop a formal proposal that it will
publish in late 2003-early 2004.
In these circumstances we do not now expect
the Commission to take its revised 2001 proposal any further forward.
It would seem very odd indeed if the Commission was to continue
pushing for changes to the Essen list now, when at the same time
it has commissioned a High Level Group to work on the same issue
as part of the development work leading to the 2004 revision.
The projects under consideration are major long-term infrastructure
projects and it would be pointless to bestow priority status on
a project now if there was the possibility of a U-turn in just
18 months of so. Moreover, one of the reasons for setting up the
High Level Group was to address criticism from Member States that
evidence had not been produced to support the addition of six
new projects to the Essen list as part of the 2001 revision.
The Danish Presidency did not pursue the dossier
following its failure to secure political agreement in the October
Council. And the Greek Presidency will be limiting its work to
a consideration about how to integrate into the TEN the networks
of the acceding countries ie in relation to the changes due in
2004 and not to the Commission's amended 2001 proposal. We are
expecting to have a Communication on this particular aspect in
April/May and will of course prepare an EM in the light of it.
Given these circumstances, I would be grateful
if you would let me know whether you feel that it would be more
valuable to hold the debate at this stage or defer it until the
2004 revision is issued.
I hope this is helpful.
9 April 2003