The Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) is a European Commission policy directed towards the implementation and development of a Europe-wide network of roads, railway lines, maritime shipping routes, ports, airports, and rail-road terminals.
The TEN-T Programme was established by the European Commission to support the construction and upgrade of transport infrastructure across the European Union.
The TEN-T Programme dedicated financial support towards the realization of important transport infrastructure projects - in line with the overreaching goal of European competitiveness, job creation, and cohesion.
It consists of two planning layers:
- The Comprehensive Network: Covering all European region
- The Core Network: Most important connections within the Comprehensive Network linking the most important nodes
TEN-T policy objectives foresee:
- completion by 2030 of the Core Network, structured around nine multimodal Core Network Corridors.
- completion by 2050 of the Comprehensive Network in order to facilitate accessibility to all European regions
As a whole, TEN-T projects aim to:
- Establish and develop the key links and interconnections needed to eliminate existing bottlenecks to mobility
- Fill in missing sections and complete the main routes - especially their cross-border sections
- Cross natural barriers
- Improve interoperability on major routes
The ultimate objective of TEN-T is to close gaps, remove bottlenecks and eliminate technical barriers that exist between the transport networks of EU Member States, strengthening the social, economic and territorial cohesion of the Union and contributing to the creation of a single European transport area. The policy seeks to achieve this aim through the construction of new physical infrastructures; the adoption of innovative digital technologies, alternative fuels, and universal standards; and the modernizing and upgrading of existing infrastructures and platforms.
The TEN-T program consists of hundreds of projects – defined as studies or works – whose ultimate purpose is to ensure the cohesion, interconnection, and interoperability of the trans-European transport network, as well as access to it. TEN-T projects, which are located in every EU Member State, include all modes of transport:
EU funding for projects on each Corridor and Horizontal Priority is provided by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), with relevant Member States obliged to align national infrastructure investment policy with European priorities. Other sources of funding and financing include the European Structural and Investment Funds and the European Fund for Strategic Investment.
The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is a key EU funding instrument developed specifically to direct investment into European transport, energy, and digital infrastructures to address identified missing links and bottlenecks.
The CEF benefits people across all Member States, as it makes travel easier and more sustainable, it enhances Europe’s energy security while enabling wider use of renewables, and it facilitates cross-border interaction between public administrations, businesses, and citizens.
In addition to grants, the CEF offers financial support to projects through innovative financial instruments such as guarantees and project bonds. These instruments create significant leverage in their use of the EU budget and act as a catalyst to attract further funding from the private sector and other public sector actors.
Under the CEF, over EUR 24.05 billion has been made available from the EU’s 2014 to 2020 budget to co-fund TEN-T projects in the EU Member States and were eligible, connections to neighboring countries. Of this amount, EUR 11.305 billion will be made available specifically for projects located within the territories of the Member States that are eligible for the Cohesion Fund.
The CEF is divided into three sectors:
One of the key priorities of CEF is enabling and strengthening the synergies between the three sectors. Actions across sectors may enable costs or results to be optimized through the pooling of financial, technical or human resources, thus enhancing the effectiveness of EU funding.
The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for Transport is the funding instrument to realize the European transport infrastructure policy. It aims at supporting investments in building new transport infrastructure in Europe or rehabilitating and upgrading the existing one.
CEF Transport focuses on cross-border projects and projects aiming at removing bottlenecks or bridging missing links in various sections of the Core Network and on the Comprehensive Network (link), as well as for horizontal priorities such as traffic management systems.
CEF Transport also supports innovation in the transport system in order to improve the use of infrastructure, reduce the environmental impact of transport, enhance energy efficiency and increase safety.
The total budget for CEF Transport is €24.05 billion for the period 2014-2020.
TEN-T’s Core network corridors
The Baltic-Adriatic Corridor is one of the most important trans-European-road and railway axes in Central Europe. It runs from the Baltic seaports of Gdansk, Gdynia, Szczecin and Świnoujście in the north, to the Adriatic ports of Koper, Trieste, Venice and Ravenna in the south, taking in the industrial regions of Central and Southern Poland, before straddling the Czech, Slovakian and Austrian/Slovenian borders on its way south to Italy and Slovenia. The corridor features key railway projects including the Semmering Base Tunnel and Koralm Railway Line in Austria, as well as important cross-border connections between the six corridor countries.
2. NORTH SEA-BALTIC
The North Sea-Baltic Corridor consists of 5947 km of railways, 4029 km of roads, and 2186 km of inland waterways and connects the ports of the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea with ports of the North Sea, situated in Northern Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. New and improved links will be implemented between ports in both regions, including roads, railways and inland waterways. The corridor’s most significant project is Rail Baltic; a European standard gauge railway connecting Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to Poland. The corridor starts in the modern harbor of Helsinki before passing south through the three Baltic States and northeastern Poland and onto Warsaw. From there it follows the traditional east-west corridor through Lodz, Poznań, and Berlin, continuing to the major ports on the North Sea coast in the west (Hamburg, Bremen, Bremerhaven, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Moerdijk and Antwerp). The corridor has branches to Ventspils in Latvia, and to Klaipeda, and Vilnius in Lithuania and to Terespol on the Polish/Belarussian border.
The Mediterranean Corridor is the main east-west axis in the TEN-T Network south of the Alps. It runs between the south-western Mediterranean region of Spain and the Ukrainian border with Hungary, following the coastlines of Spain and France and crossing the Alps towards the east through Italy, Slovenia and Croatia and continuing through Hungary up to its eastern border with Ukraine. The corridor primarily consists of road and rail, aside from the Po River, several canals in Northern Italy and the Rhone River from Lyon to Marseille. The corridor is approximately 3000 km long; it will provide a multimodal link for the ports of the Western Mediterranean with the center of the EU. It will also create an east-west link through the southern part of the EU, contribute to a modal shift from road to rail in sensitive areas such as the Pyrenees and the Alps, and connect some of the major urban areas of the EU with high-speed trains.
4. ORIENT-EAST MED
The Orient/East-Med Corridor connects large parts of Central Europe with ports of the North, Baltic, Black and Mediterranean Seas. It focuses upon fostering the development of these ports as major multimodal logistics platforms and providing economic centers in central Europe with modernized, multimodal connections to Motorways of the Sea. The corridor incorporates the Elbe River as a key inland waterway and will improve multimodal connections between Northern Germany, the Czech Republic; the Pannonian region and Southeastern Europe. The corridor will also provide an improved link to Cyprus.
The Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor represents a crucial north-south axis for the European economy. The corridor stretches from Finland and Sweden in the North, to the island of Malta in the South, taking in Denmark, Northern, Central and Southern Germany, the industrial heartlands of Northern Italy and the southern Italian ports. The most significant projects on the corridor are the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link and Brenner Base tunnel, including their access routes.
The Rhine-Alpine Corridor constitutes one of the busiest freight routes in Europe. It connects key North Sea ports of Belgium and the Netherlands with the Mediterranean port of Genoa. The regions it encompasses count among the most densely populated and economically strong in Europe. Altogether, more than 70 million people live, work and consume in the catchment area of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor, which is also home to a number of the leading manufacturing and trading companies, production plants, and distribution centers. The corridor runs through the so-called “Blue Banana”, which includes major EU economic centers such as Brussels and Antwerp in Belgium, the Randstad region in the Netherlands, the German Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Neckar regions, the Basel and Zürich regions in Switzerland and the Milano and Genoa regions in Northern Italy. This multimodal corridor incorporates the Rhine River as the key inland waterway in Europe, as well as important tunneling projects in Switzerland, including the world’s longest and deepest rail tunnel, the Gotthard Base tunnel.
The Atlantic Corridor stretches from the ports of the Iberian Peninsula to the port of Le Havre in Northern France, and cities of Strasbourg and Mannheim on the French/German border. The corridor’s railway component will feature new high-speed rail links and parallel conventional lines, providing for cross-border continuity between Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, Strasbourg, Mannheim and Le Havre. The corridor has strong multimodal dimensions, utilizing rail, road, inland waterway and maritime routes. Key projects for the corridor include the Basque Y rail connection and a new high-speed rail link between Bordeaux and Tours.
8. NORTH SEA–MEDITERRANEAN
The North Sea-Mediterranean Corridor stretches from the Scottish capital Edinburgh in the north, to the French ports of Marseille and Fos-sur-Mer in the south; passing through Ireland, England, the Low Countries, and the French capital, before skirting the French/German border en-route south. When complete, the corridor will offer enhanced multimodal links between North Sea ports, major European rivers basins (the Maas, Rhine, Scheldt, Seine, Saone, and Rhone) and the southern French ports of Fos-sur-Mer and Marseille. It will also improve links between the British Isles and Continental Europe.
The Rhine-Danube Corridor provides the main east-west link across Continental Europe. Tracing its route along the Danube River, it connects Strasbourg and Southern Germany with the Central European cities of Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest, before passing through the Romanian capital Bucharest to culminate at the Black Sea port of Constanta. A second branch of the corridor tracks a path from Frankfurt to the Slovakian/Ukrainian border, linking Munich, Prague, Zilina, and Kosice. Key projects situated along the corridor include improvements to the Good navigation status of the Danube River in all the riparian countries.