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Imbalanced allocation of TEN funds penalises EU competitiveness


08 Oct 2008



The long-lasting, misguided EU transport policy and totally imbalanced allocation of TEN budget funds favours railways and penalises the competitiveness of the EU trade and economy.

Brussels – The road transport industry has just learnt, to its great surprise, that the EU Transport Council, which will meet on 9 October 2008, has invited the management of the Community of European Railways (CER) to discuss the 2009 TEN budget directly with Transport Ministers.

Taking into account that 85% of the TEN-T Priority Projects funds are currently allocated to the rail sector, while the rail market share accounts for less than 10% of total freight volumes, the IRU, whose members are responsible for over 75% of volume and more than 90% of value of Europe’s inland freight distribution, would have expected the Council to avoid a skewed and one-sided discussion by also inviting the road sector to contribute, in a balanced way, to this discussion.

IRU General Delegate to the EU, Michael Nielsen, said, “For the IRU, the railways, which represent an insignificant fraction of EU total trade and goods moved, as represented by CER, alone cannot provide adequate information to allow for a fruitful and balanced discussion to permit informed decisions by the Council regarding TEN, which will be the subject of the foreseen debate.”

Indeed, IRU EU members have long expressed their strong opposition to the prevailing long-lasting anti-road EU transport policy and totally imbalanced allocation of EU funds via the TEN-T budgets.

IRU President, Janusz Lacny, added, “For the IRU, it is time to put an end to the approval mechanism of TEN budgets, which are decided without listening to the constructive input from the road transport industry, and without undertaking any cost-benefit analysis to effectively assess where these funds should be allocated as a priority.”

Rather, as requested not only by the IRU but, above all, by EU citizens themselves, any transport budget, including TEN budget funds, should be prioritised to tackle the immense congestion problems, which penalise everyone and result from the lack of road infrastructure, since investment in EU roads has never been proportional to economic demand and consequent road transport growth.

For the IRU, such funds should also address the increasingly unacceptable waiting times at EU border crossings, of which the consequences are not in line with the human rights of the drivers. Equally, the budget should consider how to improve combined transport via the European Modular Concept, which would also help reduce road congestion and the road transport industry’s environmental footprint.

IRU Secretary General, Martin Marmy, warned, “Comparing the anti-road EU transport policy with transport policies in favour of road transport currently implemented by non-EU Members States, in particular in Asian countries which represent two-thirds of the world’s population and understand the vital role road transport plays in driving progress, demonstrates a clear imbalance which results from the constructive way non-EU decision-makers are working in true partnership with the IRU and its non-EU Members.”

“This imbalance, which penalises not only road transport but above all trade development, undoubtedly represents an increasing challenge for all EU decision-makers. In fact, EU transport policy, based on non harmonised legislation, stringent social regulations, ever-increasing obligations, taxation, restrictions, interdictions, etc. in all EU countries is clearly a misguided transport policy, which undermines EU competitiveness. Such policy is not only fully against the road transport industry, but first and foremost, against EU economic growth which results, year after year, in increasing unemployment, despite the numerous historic opportunities brought about by the EU successive enlargements and the globalisation process,” Martin Marmy concluded.

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