The Trans-European transport network and the "Connecting Europe" facility
European transport infrastructure is missing many important connections. Travelling across borders is often not as easy as travelling inside a Member State - and poor infrastructure is too often a factor, especially when travelling by train.
The EU helps Member States to finance infrastructure between one state and another. But the guidelines for funding were poorly defined, so that the situation has not improved much in the past. Many regional connections are actually in worse shape than before World War II.
Member States are keen to complete major prestige projects. While these projects are too often not sufficiently connected to the existing infrastructure, they have generated enormous costs for taxpayers and tend to exceed their budgets.
What was the Greens' position?
The Greens argue that many small projects could help European infrastructure more than a few big ones. Currently the EU finances projects in nine corridors, including the Lyon-Turin connection, the Brenner Base tunnel, and the Fehmarn belt. They swallow most of the EU transport budget. But in many border regions a few hundred meters of railway could reduce travelling time considerably.
We are also against additional funding for highways. In countries like Greece or Portugal unused highways have turned into cost factors for governments.
Guidelines for infrastructure should ensure climate-friendly infrastructure and respect environmental regulation, for example the Natura 2000 directive.
Did other MEPs accept the Greens' position?
The Greens were able to convince enough deputies to support sustainability criteria and CO2 reductions in EU-funded infrastructure projects.
We insisted successfully on the respect of EU environmental legislation, like the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, the Strategic Environmental Assessment and the Natura 2000 Directive. This will avoid problems like what occured when Poland planned to cross natural reserves with a section of the Via Baltica in 2007.
Thanks to our amendments the Parliament also requested that Member States prove a project's added value for European infrastructure.
Which points did the Greens lose?
The Greens failed to convince enough deputies to vote for more efficient infrastructure spending. The big prestige projects were maintained, so that much of the EU's infrastructure budget will continue to fund very few projects with unclear usefulness and prone to cost explosions.
We voted against the final text, because it bristled with incoherence: it was not enough for us to include sustainability criteria while earmarking most of the funds for unsustainable projects.
Lead MEP:Georgios Koumoutsakos (EPP), Ismail Ertug (S&D), Dominique Riquet (EPP), Ines Ayala Sender (S&D), Adina Valean (ALDE)
Green MEP responsible:Michael Cramer
Staff contact:Paul Beeckmans (Email)
Outcome of the vote
Below you find the results of the final vote in plenary. How did the political groups vote? What about national delegations? And what was the position of your MEP?