EU Council gives final approval for new TEN-T regulation

European Council. Source: Shutterstock/ETgohome ETgohome

The EU Council finally adopted the revised regulation concerning the development of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T). The act still needs to be signed by the Presidents of the EU Council and the European Parliament before being published in the EU’s official journal. The regulation will then enter into force 20 days after the publication.

According to the EU Council, the whole process shall be completed over the next few weeks. The TEN-T regulation sets the guidelines for all EU Member States to create a harmonised intermodal transport network throughout the Union. Despite bringing significant benefits, especially for the rail sector, there still are a few uncertainties regarding the new TEN-T regulation.

From the Commission to the Council

The journey of a new TEN-T regulation started in December 2021, when the European Commission drafted the first version. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the regulation was revised, giving more priority to integrating Ukraine and Moldova and downgrading cross-border connections with Russia and Belarus.

At the end of 2023, the EU Parliament and EU Council agreed on the steps in which the TEN-T expansion will take place. More specifically, the TEN-T network was divided into a Core Network, an Extended Core Network and a Comprehensive Network. These new sections will have to be completed in 2030, 2040 and 2050 respectively.

The European Parliament then voted in favour of the new TEN-T regulation a couple of months ago, paving the way for the last greenlight, given by the EU Council. The new version places significantly more focus on military mobility and multimodality and sets out the migration guidelines for countries with a rail gauge different from 1435 mm.

There is still room for improvement

Some of the aspects that still present some possible improvements are the strategy to deploy the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) and the TENtec system.

Concerning the ERTMS strategy, industry players have pointed out that there needs to be more focus on the on-board ERTMS deployment, while currently the EU is targeting the trackside impementation. Moreover, some criticism remains concerning the lack of cohesion between different countries and different ERTMS levels.

For the TENtec system, which should make communication between EU countries and institutions easier, there are also some aspects that need to be addressed. For example, the new TEN-T regulation sets out the guidelines for the TENtec implementation but does not include a timeframe.

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Author: Marco Raimondi

Marco Raimondi is an editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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