TEN-T map for Ukraine back on the table, this time prioritised
The EU and Ukraine have dusted off the TEN-T maps for Ukraine, and are more willing than ever before to invest in the transport connections to and from the country. The maps that were initially designed and approved in 2018 have been adjusted and brought back to the attention of the counterparts.
A high-level understanding was signed between the EU and Ukraine on 12 May on the ‘indicative maps of the Trans-European transport network in Ukraine’. With this agreement, the parties reaffirmed the high importance they attach to the extension of the trans-European transport network to Ukraine as part of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), a policy that was initially adopted in 2018.
The extension plan
The plan at that time anticipated an investment of around 2 billion euros that would be spent by the EU to enhance the railway network in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The European Commission and the World Bank presented an Indicative Investment Action Plan that identified the priority projects in the respective countries.
Although some of these investment plans have been put on hold, the TEN-T extension to Ukraine is now more relevant than ever before. The country needs to be able to realise its export potential to Europe, and with the main Black Sea ports still blocked, the overland transport network is essential. Furthermore, the EU wants to enhance the transit potential of Ukraine for traffic between China and Europe.
That this is an understanding shared by the EU and Ukraine alike was made clear by Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration. At a recently held meeting with European Commission’s Director-General for Mobility and Transport Henrik Hololei, she stated: “The priority of the Ukrainian government is to ensure implementation of projects within the TEN-T investment plan and to ensure that the action plan will not remain on paper only.” (ukrinform)
The exact adjustments to the map have not yet been revealed. According to the initial plan, a total of 206 million euros would be invested in the north-south line connecting to the border with Belarus. This included electrification of the section Berdychiv-Korosten-Berezhest at a budget of 124 million Euros for the first phase of this project. A branch of this line connecting to the Russian border would see capacity upgrades at the Hrebinka-Poltova section.
Other projects mentioned were the upgrade of the Yagodyn railway connection to the Polish border at a budget of 35.8 million Euros and, further south,upgrades of another cross-border line connecting Poland and the Black Sea, enabling speed upgrades and a new traction substation. A total of 26.2 million Euros was allocated for these projects.
According to Klympush-Tsintsadze, they will require almost 13 billion euros in investment. It is planned to build 4,800 kilometers of roads and railways, 6 ports and 11 logistics centers using these funds, she explained according to news website ukrinform.
The same source mentioned that Henrik Hololei responded saying that the EU is interested in seeing Ukraine as one of the possible transport corridors in an important logistical project – the creation of a railway transport corridor between Europe and China bypassing Russia.