Bothnian Corridor to be part of the European core network
"Making the Bothnian Corridor part of the core network of EU transport links is a significant victory for Finnish EU policy," says Transport Minister Merja Kyllönen.
"Up till now, the projects included in the TEN priority network have only affected southern Finland. The Bothnian Corridor is an important traffic route for northern industry and for the movement of people from the south to the north. This is a real leap forward for the regional balance," enthuses Kyllönen.
She is also grateful to Sweden for its excellent levels of cooperation in securing the status of the Bothnian Corridor in this way.
On the Finnish side, the Bothnian Corridor, which skirts the Gulf of Bothnia, includes train and road links from north to south, including the main cross-country railway line and Highway 4.
On 19 October, the European Commission put forward its proposal for new guidelines for the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). The proposal contains targets for developing the Trans-European Transport Network, the definition of the network, and a proposal for a new TEN-T.
In the proposal, the TEN-T is divided into a 'comprehensive network' and a 'core network'. As for Finland, the former 'priority projects' - the Nordic Triangle, Motorways of the Sea and Rail Baltica and a new project, the Bothnian Corridor - are included in the core network.
Motorways of the Sea is the TEN-T maritime dimension. The Motorway of the Baltic Sea connects the EU Member States of the Baltic with Central and Western Europe. The Nordic Triangle is a corridor in southern Finland that includes European route E18 and the rail link from Turku to Vainikkala. Rail Baltica forms a transport corridor from Helsinki to Tallinn and via the Baltic countries to Warsaw.
The aim in new TEN-T policy is to try to give priority to projects that deliver European added value. In practice, this means that funding goes to projects that improve transport connections between more than one Member State, which are most productive relative to the investment made, and which support universal aims in transport policy, such as sustainable transport.
The core network forms the backbone of Europe's transport system. It includes axes and nodes of vital importance for transport flows within the internal market and between the EU, its neighbours and other parts of the world. It covers various combinations of modes of transport and includes intelligent transport systems. The projects included in the core network have been drawn from the comprehensive network. The core network has to be ready by the end of 2030.
EU TEN-T aid will in future mainly be channelled into the core network. In recent years, Finland has received between 5% and 15% of the funding for TEN-T projects, depending on the project.
The comprehensive network consists of the national rail, road, inland waterways and ports networks and the dense airport networks. The EU requires it to be ready by the end of 2050.
The aim of the TEN-T reform is to create a more viable, integrated and competitive pan-European transport network. There is a general desire to see an improvement in transport within the European Union's internal market and a reduction in the number of problems at border crossing points between countries. At the same time, the goal is also to cut greenhouse emissions.
The proposal for guidelines will now go to the European Parliament and the Council for deliberation. Finland's position regarding the proposal is still being awaited.
Mr Mikael Nyberg, Director of Unit, tel. + 358 40 837 8794
Ms Leena Sirkjärvi, Coordinator, tel. +358 400 339 196