On 19 and 20 March 2015, European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, met in Innsbruck with the Transport Ministers of the seven Alpine States – Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland and Liechtenstein to discuss the development of transport solutions across the Alpine region. Central to the discussions was the question on how to solve growing mobility needs without increasing negative effects on local people’s living conditions and the unique natural heritage.
“An integrated and future-oriented transport concept for the Alpine region is vital for both the overall performance of Europe’s transport system and the preservation of nature and peoples’ living conditions in this region. With our new trans-European transport network’s policy, we have powerful instruments to help drive such a process forward”, said Violeta Bulc.
The Commissioner and the Ministers confirmed their joint commitment to completing all the key railway projects within the next 15 years and formally signed a declaration to promote sustainable transport in the region. These include “flagship” projects of the Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T) such as the planned Brenner and Lyon – Torino base tunnels. Each of the tunnels requires investments of over eight billion Euro. Equally important are the many other Alpine crossing projects, which are included in the trans-European transport network and, therefore, benefit from strong support at EU level. European Coordinators reconfirmed their willingness to bring together all the different actors and to stimulate coherent and efficient approaches.
Once completed, these projects will significantly change trade flows and passengers’ mobility across the Alps and improve economic relations within the internal market. They involve challenging opportunities for industrial innovation – both in construction techniques and mobility services. Financing these projects is crucial for Europe’s transport system. The Commission is committed to putting the Connecting Europe Facility to best possible use in order to tackle the transport challenges in the Alps.
Photo: © AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd