Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
Alfred Sant (S&D)

E-000996/2017
Subject: Boosting transport links projects in EU border and peripheral areas

As different as they are in social, cultural and geographical terms, EU border regions share economic problems related to their peripheral condition and negative impacts of structural change, such as rural de-population, disinvestment and low levels of socio-economic well-being.

The development of EU border regions is largely determined by the availability of infrastructure that facilitates links between cities, businesses and people on both sides of the border. Alongside the lack of investment, regulatory problems are often an obstacle to the development of infrastructural projects in border regions.

Even if improved transport links are key for an effective regional development policy, and should be an essential component of the EU’s cohesion and mobility policies, the vast majority of EU funds (TEN-T-CEF) go to the core corridors of the TEN-T.

Small projects on the comprehensive network and interventions linking up with the TEN-T network, although essential to solving specific problems and to the development of cross-border connections and economies, are often ineligible for (co-)financing, or for national financing partly due to their border position.

In this regard:

– How does the Commission intend to boost public and private investments in small-scale transport links between border areas and the wider European networks?

– Does the Commission intend to develop an EU comprehensive funding strategy to close missing links in border regions?

EN
Answer given by Ms Bulc
on behalf of the Commission
(4.7.2017)

Territorial cohesion and closing the cross-border gaps are the ultimate objectives of the TEN-T Regulation[1] with the implementation of both core and comprehensive networks. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)[2] primarily supports projects on the core TEN-T network. Smaller TEN-T projects such as those connecting regions across national borders are thus also eligible for funding under the CEF. While CEF focuses on the core network and its corridors[3], funding possibilities also exist for the comprehensive network. A recent call for proposals with a total available budget of EUR 110 million was largely dedicated to the comprehensive network, and a noticeable number of cross-border projects submitted to the Commission are currently under evaluation.

EU Regional Policy seeks to support a sustainable development of all regions of the EU, including border areas. The importance of good transport links for regional development is broadly recognised. In the 2014-2020, around EUR 70 billion in EU co-financing from the Cohesion Fund and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) have been programmed for transport projects. These projects will help develop the TEN-T, enhance regional mobility by providing better connections to the TEN-T, and promote sustainable regional and local mobility. EU Regional Policy, under its European territorial cooperation goal[4], addresses the specific situation of border areas. In the period 2014 – 2020, 32 cross-border (Interreg) programmes have selected the thematic objective of „promoting sustainable transport and removing bottlenecks in key network infrastructures“. The Commission will give particular attention to the small-scale cross-border projects which are most promising and help unlocking potentials in regions across borders.

In addition to grant support, the Commission aims at enhancing private involvement in cross-border transport infrastructure projects.

[1] Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network and repealing Decision No 661/2010/EU OJ L 348, 20.12.2013, p. 1–128
[2] Regulation (EU) N° 1316/2013 of the European Parliament and the of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing the Connecting Europe Facility, amending Regulation (EU) N° 913/2010 and repealing Regulations (EC) N° 680/2007 and (EC) N° 67/2010 (OJ L 348, 20.12.2013, p. 129)
[3] Art. 17(3) of the Regulation 1316/2013.
[4] Regulation (EU) No 1299/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on specific provisions for the support from the European Regional Development Fund to the European territorial cooperation goal.

Maltese Version
E-000996/2017

Suġġett: Trid tingħata spinta lill-proġetti ta’ konnessjoni tat-trasport fiż-żoni tal-fruntiera u f’dawk periferali tal-UE
Għalkemm huma differenti minn xulxin mil-lat soċjali, kulturali u ġeografiku, ir-reġjuni tal-fruntiera tal-UE jikkondividu problemi ekonomiċi komuni relatati mal-kundizzjoni periferali tagħhom u mal-impatti negattivi tal-bidla strutturali, bħalma huma d-depopolazzjoni rurali, id-diżinvestiment u livelli baxxi ta’ benesseri soċjoekonomiku.
L-iżvilupp tar-reġjuni tal-fruntiera tal-UE huwa determinat fil-biċċa l-kbira mid-disponibilità ta’ infrastruttura li tiffaċilita l-konnessjonijiet bejn l-ibliet, in-negozji u l-persuni fuq iż-żewġ naħat tal-fruntiera. Flimkien man-nuqqas ta’ investiment, il-problemi regolatorji spiss huma ta’ ostaklu għall-iżvilupp ta’ proġetti infrastrutturali fir-reġjuni tal-fruntiera.
Anki jekk konnessjonijiet tat-trasport imtejba huma essenzjali biex ikun hemm politika ta’ żvilupp reġjonali effettiva, u jenħtieġ li jkunu komponent essenzjali tal-politika ta’ koeżjoni u tal-politiki ta’ mobilità tal-UE, il-maġġoranza l-kbira tal-fondi tal-UE (TEN-T-CEF) tmur għall-kurituri ewlenin tat-TEN-T.
Il-proġetti żgħar fi ħdan in-netwerk komprensiv u l-programmi li jikkonnettjaw man-netwerk TEN-T, għalkemm huma essenzjali biex jissolvew problemi speċifiċi u biex jiġu żviluppati konnessjonijiet transkonfinali u ekonomiji transfruntiera, spiss la jkunu eliġibbli għall-kofinanzjament u – parzjalment minħabba l-pożizzjoni tal-fruntiera tagħhom – l-anqas ma jkunu eliġibbli għall-finanzjament nazzjonali.
F’dan ir-rigward, il-Kummissjoni hija mitluba twieġeb għal dan li ġej:
– Kif għandha l-ħsieb li tagħti spinta lill-investimenti pubbliċi u privati fil-konnessjonijiet tat-trasport ta’ skala żgħira bejn iż-żoni tal-fruntiera u n-netwerks Ewropej usa’?
– Għandha l-ħsieb li tiżviluppa strateġija ta’ finanzjament komprensiva tal-UE biex tagħlaq il-konnessjonijiet nieqsa fir-reġjuni tal-fruntieri?
MT
Tweġiba tas-Sinjura Bulc
f’isem il-Kummissjoni
(4.7.2017)

Il-koeżjoni territorjali u l-għeluq tal-lakuni transfruntiera huma l-għanijiet aħħarija tar-Regolament tat-TEN-T[1], bl-implimentazzjoni tan-netwerk ewlieni u dak komprensiv. Il-Faċilità Nikkollegaw l-Ewropa (CEF)[2], qabel kollox, tappoġġa l-proġetti tan-netwerk ewlieni tat-TEN-T. Għalhekk, proġetti żgħar tat-TEN-T, bħal dawk li jikkollegaw ir-reġjuni li minnhom jgħaddu l-fruntieri nazzjonali, huma wkoll eliġibbli għall-finanzjament taħt is-CEF. Filwaqt li s-CEF tiffoka fuq in-netwerk ewlieni u l-kurituri tiegħu[3], jeżistu wkoll possibilitajiet ta’ finanzjament għan-netwerk komprensiv. Sejħa għall-proposti riċenti, b’baġit totali disponibbli ta’ EUR 110 miljun, kienet prinċipalment iddedikata għan-netwerk komprensiv, u attwalment qed jiġi vvalutat għadd notevoli ta’ proġetti transfruntiera sottomessi lill-Kummissjoni.

Il-Politika Reġjonali tal-UE għandha l-għan li tappoġġa l-iżvilupp sostenibbli tar-reġjuni kollha tal-UE, inklużi ż-żoni tal-fruntieri. L-importanza ta’ konnessjonijiet tat-trasport tajbin għall-iżvilupp reġjonali hija rikonoxxuta b’mod ġenerali. Bejn l-2014 u l-2020, għall-proġetti tat-trasport ġew allokati madwar EU 70 biljun f’kofinanzjament tal-EU mill-Fond ta’ Koeżjoni u l-Fond Ewropew għall-Iżvilupp Reġjonali (ERDF). Dawn il-proġetti se jgħinu fl-iżvilupp tat-TEN-T, isaħħu l-mobilità reġjonali permezz ta’ konnessjonijiet aħjar tat-TEN-T, kif ukoll jippromwovu l-iżvilupp sostenibbli u l-mobilità lokali. Il-Politika Reġjonali tal-UE tindirizza s-sitwazzjoni speċifika taż-żoni tal-fruntieri, skont l-għan tal-kooperazzjoni territorjali Ewropea tagħha[4]. Fil-perjodu bejn l-2014 u l-2020, 32 programm transfruntier (Interreg) għażlu l-għan tematiku tal-“promozzjoni tat-trasport sostenibbli u t-tneħħija ta’ ostakoli tal-infrastrutturi tan-netwerks ewlenin”. Il-Kummissjoni se tagħti attenzjoni partikolari lil proġetti transfruntiera ta’ skala żgħira li huma l-iktar promettenti u li jgħinu biex joħorġu l-potenzjal fir-reġjuni li minnhom jgħaddu l-fruntieri.

Barra mill-għoti ta’ appoġġ, il-Kummissjoni qed timmira lejn it-tisħiħ tal-involviment privat fil-proġetti tal-infrastruttura tat-trasport transfruntiera.

[1] Ir-Regolament (UE) Nru 1315/2013 tal-Parlament Ewropew u tal-Kunsill tal-11 ta’ Diċembru 2013 dwar linji gwida tal-Unjoni għall-iżvilupp tan-netwerk trans-Ewropew tat-trasport u li jħassar id-Deċiżjoni Nru 661/2010/UE (ĠU L 348, 20.12.2013, p. 1–128)
[2] Ir-Regolament (UE) Nru 1316/2013 tal-Parlament Ewropew u tal-Kunsill tal-11 ta’ Diċembru 2013 li jistabbilixxi l-Faċilità Nikkollegaw l-Ewropa, li jemenda r-Regolament (UE) Nru 913/2010 u jħassar ir-Regolamenti (KE) Nru 680/2007 u (KE) Nru 67/2010 (ĠU L 348, 20.12.2013, p. 129)
[3] Artikolu 17(3) tar-Regolament 1316/2013.
[4] Regolament (UE) Nru 1299/2013 tal-Parlament Ewropew u tal-Kunsill tas-17 ta’ Diċembru 2013 dwar dispożizzjonijiet speċifiċi għall-appoġġ mill-Fond Ewropew għall-Iżvilupp Reġjonali għall-għan ta’ kooperazzjoni territorjali Ewropea.