Juncker plan: Over 100 bn euro for transport, says Bulc
The transport commissioner considers that the sector could be the main beneficiary
Transport projects are likely to be the main beneficiaries of Jean-Claude Juncker’s €315 billion investment plan. Over the next three years, they will absorb some €100 billion of investment, said Commissioner Violeta Bulc told the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport (TRAN) on 2 December.
For Bulc, the major challenge will be to identify the projects likely to find themselves in the much talked-about project reserve that the Commission intends to set up in order to benefit from the new funding mechanisms.
“I am not worried about the money – it is the projects that concern me,” admitted the commissioner. These projects must show clear added value to Europe, be economically viable, with a high “socio-economic return on investment” (they must create jobs, explained Bulc), and be sufficiently developed in order that they can be launched within three years.
Easy? Barely six months ago, the Commission indicated in the TRAN committee that it had been disappointed by the quality of a certain number of projects presented by member states during a call for tenders launched in the context of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). Consequently, of the €280 million made available by the Commission at the time, only €230 million had been allocated.
These truths are something that the commissioner may delight in recalling to transport ministers on 3 December. Upon the initiative of the Italian EU Presidency, an initial interim report will be presented to them, identifying certain transport projects likely to interest private investors and benefit from the “innovative financing” desired by Juncker. This report was drawn up by former Commissioner Henning Christophersen (Denmark) and two TEN-T coordinators, Kurt Bodewig (Germany) and Carlo Secchi (Italy).
According to our information, the Christophersen report identifies three main project categories: classic infrastructure projects, such as railway connections, airport expansions, motorways, logistics platforms and the extension of port and river capacities; projects aimed at improving the management of rail traffic (deployment of ERTMS) and air traffic, as well as the deployment of an alternative fuel infrastructure along major trunk roads and in ports; and projects for the maintenance and improvement of existing infrastructures, with German roads and the French railway network to be targeted in particular.
According to this report, the list of transport projects alone could generate no less than €140 billion in investment. In TRAN, the commissioner shed light on some of these projects, indicating that one would also find certain cross-border associations, such as the railway connection between Warsaw and Tallinn, the restructuring of the Kiel Canal (which connects the North Sea to the Baltic Sea), road and rail access to the port of Barcelona, the development of the ports of Dublin and Valletta, as well as urban transport projects, such as an underground line between Charles de Gaulle Airport and Paris. According to our information, these projects also include the restructuring of ports in Calais, Koper (Slovenia), Dublin, Cork and Venice, as well as airport extension work in Helsinki, the construction of a new airport in Crete, and new connections between Malpensa Airport and the centre of Milan.
In: Growth & Competitiveness