Following the ECF’s long-running campaign, which included sending letters to every MEP last week, we are pleased to announce that the TEN-T guidelines were approved by a large majority at this week’s Plenary session in Strasbourg meaning that cycling and EuroVelo are referenced in these guidelines for the first time ever!
The Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) is a EU policy area designed to focus funds on supporting trans-European transport infrastructure developments considered to be strategically important by the EU.
The ECF considers that EuroVelo, the European cycle route network, is a natural fit for the TEN-T: cycling matches the philosophy of the European 2020 strategy for “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” perfectly. Despite this fact until now EuroVelo was not part of the European Commission’s initial proposal for the TEN-T guidelines and there was no reference to cycling at all.
The ECF has therefore been working hard since 2011 to ensure the inclusion of the EuroVelo network and add a reference to cycling. On 15th December 2011, the European Parliament explicitly asked for EuroVelo to be included in the TEN-T in their response to the European Commission’s White Paper on Transport. The ECF then led a successful campaign to carry this forward into the drafting of the actual TEN-T regulations for the period 2014 – 2020.
These regulations, drafted by the European Commission and amended by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, were voted upon this week in the Parliament’s plenary session. The report was passed by a large majority (read here). So there is now, for the first time ever, a reference to cycling and EuroVelo in the TEN-T guidelines! This will hopefully ensure that EuroVelo routes will be respected when they intersect with TEN-T projects as well as opening up the possibilities for the funding of EuroVelo infrastructure along TEN-T priority corridors.
Last week the ECF’s EuroVelo Team delivered 755 letters to the EU Parliament in a concerted effort to garner support for the references to EuroVelo and cycling. We also called on MEPs to ask the Commission for clarification of how the references will be used in practice. The ECF will incorporate the input we receive from MEPs to ensure that the meaning of the regulations is clear.
The ECF will reiterate that cycling needs to become a priority for TEN-T, moreover, the funding required is much less than for the type of gargantuan infrastructure project which is usually eligible for TEN-T funding. This point was made by the European Green Party during the debate held in the Plenary. Cycling represents a comparatively huge return on investment – it is estimated that the entire EuroVelo network would generate 7 billion Euros of revenue annually[i], according to a study commissioned by the European Parliament but requires only 1.5 – 2.5 billion[ii] Euros for 7 years to reach completion by 2020.
The result of the latest plenary vote means that including EuroVelo and cycling in the TEN-T network has now twice been given a mandate by the European Parliament.
Please refer to to the official TEN-T report. The direct reference to EuroVelo and cycling can be found in Amendment 5 recital 8a.
Following the vote in the Plenary, the final hurdle for the legislation is to be approved by the Council of the European Union. The ECF will continue to strive for full integration of the EuroVelo network with TEN-T and will ask the European Commission take the best out of the accepted guidelines.
[i] European Parliament, Directorate-General for Internal Policies: The European Cycle Route Network EuroVelo 2012, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/tran/studiesdownload.html?languageDocument=EN&file=78331
[ii] ECF, “The EuroVelo Development Strategy 2012-2020” cites 1.5 – 2.5 billion euro as the total cost of development. TEN-T funding at 30% of total would require a total maximum investment of 1 billion.
Homepage photo (c) European Parliament
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