The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have launched a pre-feasibility study to better connect the rail networks of Ukraine and Moldova with the TEN-T. The EIB technical advisory service JASPERS is responsible for completing the study by May 2023, in close cooperation with all countries concerned.
“The EIB study on integration of Ukrainian and Moldovan railway networks with the EU is the first step towards a modern transport link between the EU, Moldova and Ukraine. Integration of rail networks will allow for easier and safer movement of people, goods and services between the three markets, and faster integration of the two countries with the EU,” EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwińska, who is responsible for operations in Ukraine and Moldova, said.
As the two countries have 1,520 mm-gauge rail systems, trains face difficulties when crossing the cross-border to the Eastern Europe countries. This could be solved by extending the 1,435 mm-gauge lines across the borders from Poland and Romania into Ukraine and Moldova. The study is a key step in preparing for better EU–Ukraine and Moldova connectivity after the war.
“The study is one of the medium- to long-term measures set out in the Solidarity Lanes action plan and is also closely linked to the Commission’s July’s 2022 proposal on the extension of the TEN-T to Ukraine and Moldova rail systems. This way we are setting the scene for longer-term solutions, supporting Ukraine in its post-war trade and the reconstruction of the country, aiming, in particular, to remove the interoperability gap at borders,” the Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said.
In July, the EC proposed to amend the revision of the TEN-T Regulation and to extend four European Transport Corridors (ETCs) to Ukraine and Moldova which include the ports of Mariupol and Odesa, which will improve the connectivity between the two countries and will ensure the integration with the European railway system.
The extension is ensured by the revised TEN-T maps in Ukraine also taking place in summer. Due to Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, the EC proposed to remove Russia and Belarus from the TEN-T maps leading to downgrading the last miles of all cross-border connections between the EU and Russia/Belarus from core and comprehensive networks.