CEF support to Atlantic Corridor - May 2020
CEF support to Atlantic Corridor - April 2018
The Atlantic Corridor stretches from the ports of the Iberian Peninsula to the port of Le Havre in Northern France, and cities of Strasbourg and Mannheim on the French/German border. The corridor’s railway component will feature new high-speed rail links and parallel conventional lines, providing for cross-border continuity between Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, Strasbourg, Mannheim and Le Havre. The corridor has strong multimodal dimensions, utilising rail, road, inland waterway and maritime routes. Key projects for the corridor include the Basque Y rail connection and a new high-speed rail link between Bordeaux and Tours.
Main bottlenecks and missing links
The corridor’s main missing link is the cross-border connection between Lisboa and Madrid. The section Porto-Valladolid is affected by the lack of electrification on the Spanish side. Additionally problems of interoperability (difference in gauge, electrification, signaling systems and train length) affect the existing San Sebastian-Bordeaux section. The optimal path for an interoperable route for freight across Madrid, and from there on to Vitoria is also yet to be resolved, as are any subsequent infrastructure requirements along the sections concerned. With regards to roads, the electronic tolling systems are only partly interoperable; Portugal and Spain are implementing interoperable systems along the Atlantic Coast.
In June 2011, France signed its first ever public private partnership agreement for the implementation of high-speed rail infrastructure. The EUR 7.8 billion Tours-Bordeaux high-speed rail line, which came into operation on July 2 2017, received significant backing from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) and includes a 50 year concession contract that covers the financing, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the high-speed line.
CEF: Pre-identified projects
European Coordinator for the TEN-T Atlantic Corridor, Professor Carlo Secchi
Professor Carlo Secchi was born in Italy on February 4 1944. He was appointed European Coordinator for the TEN-T Atlantic Corridor on 12 March 2014. In addition to his European Coordinator role, Professor Secchi provides consultancy services to various national and foreign research institutes and universities, to Italian public institutions (including CNR – the Italian National Research Council) and the European Union. Mr. Secchi has previously undertaken a TEN-T Coordinator role between July 2009 and December 2013; overseeing the implementation of Priority Project 3 and Priority Project 19 (railways) between France, Spain and Portugal. Mr. Secchi also chaired the Expert Group on TEN-T financing that contributed to the revision of TEN-T and the launch of the Connecting Europe Facility.
2014-2015: Co-author of the Christophersen-Bodewig-Secchi report on facilitating infrastructural projects and financial schemes
2013-2014: Chairman of the High Level Group on Business Services (DG ENTR and DG MARKT)
2000-2004: Rector, Bocconi University in Milan
2000: Member of the High level group of the European Parliament for the reform of the Statute and financial treatment of the Members of the European Parliament
1994-1999: Member of the European Parliament in the IV Legislature and Vice-President of the Economic, Monetary Affairs and Industrial Politics Commission (Deputy Chairman)
1994-1996: Member of the Italian Senate in the XII Legislature
1990-1993: President of the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes
1988-1993: Vice-President of CEMS - The Global Alliance in Management Education (formerly the Community of European Management Schools and International Companies)
1978-1999: Visiting professor at Erasmus University of Rotterdam (1978), the HEC in Paris (1988-1990), the Wirtschaft Universität of Vienna (1991) and the Centre for European Studies of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok (1999). He has taught at the Universities of Milano, Sassari and Trento, where he directed the Department of Economics.
1970-1972: Researcher at Netherlands Economic Institute of Rotterdam
Professor Emeritus of European Economic Policy at Bocconi University in Milan
Member of the board of Mediaset and Chairman of the Supervisory Body of Pirelli
Vice-President, Institute of International Political Studies (ISPI), Milan
Member of the Board of 'Alcide de Gasperi' foundation
Member of the Research Ethics and Integrity Committee, CNR, Rome
Newsletter September 2021
Online meeting of the Atlantic Corridor Forum, 23 November 2021
Prof. Secchi held a video meeting of the Atlantic Corridor Forum on 23 November, which gathered around 70 participants. The meeting included first an update about the Corridor studies in which the consultants highlighted the current and projected state of realisation of the Corridor and the ongoing process for the development of the 5th Work Plan, which is due to be proposed to the Member States in January. They also highlighted the sharp increase of the number of planned projects on the Corridor, resulting from its extensions as well as the financing gap challenge and the need to focus on the projects that will contribute to the technical requirements for completing the Corridor. For Spain, MITMA presented the current status of the planning of transport infrastructure projects, which will get further fine-tuned in the coming months in the context of the discussions on the European Regional Development Fund and on the Recovery & Resilience Facility. MITMA also briefly presented the completion of the road cross-border link with Portugal between Vilar Formoso and Fuentes de Oñoro while the port of Algeciras presented their project for a rolling motorway to Zaragoza. Portugal gave an overview of the planned investments on the Corridor under the PNI 2030 which is in the final stages of adoption. The most important projects are related to rail of which the new high-speed line between Lisboa and Porto, the first halves of the new high-speed lines between Aveiro and Mangualde and between Porto and the border with Spain to Vigo and the new stretch between Poceirao and Bombel, while works are ongoing between Sines and Ermidas, between Evora and Caia and on the Beira Alta line. For France, the Ministry presented the potential implications for the Corridor resulting from the new Climate and Resilience Law and from the new national strategy for the development of rail freight, which will require further discussions. The Managing Director of the Atlantic Rail Freight Corridor gave a status update about the traffic and path allocation situation and the other activities of the RFC, including its market studies. The Advisor of Prof. Secchi gave an update about the relevant activities from the European Commission, including the revision of the TEN-T Regulation which should be proposed to Council and European Parliament on 14 December. She also called for wishes in terms of meetings of Atlantic Corridor Working Groups. Prof. Secchi closed the meeting by summarizing the key take-outs and announcing that the next meeting will take place in the context of the TEN-T Days in Lyon from 28 till 30 June 2022, while additional online working meetings will most probably be organized until then. He also reminded of his availability and that of his Advisor for meetings on a need basis.
European Year of Rail event of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), 15 November 2021
Prof. Secchi participated to an event promoting the European year dedicated to rail, focusing on the potential of rail to become a fully sustainable and competitive mode of transport, thereby helping to achieve the Green Deal targets. The event was organised by the EESC, more specifically its Section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society (TEN) and its Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI). After opening remarks from amongst others the Cabinet of Commissioner Valean, a first panel discussion was dedicated to “Decarbonisation and Digitalisation of Railways”. There were then two short parts devoted to a cultural event and to the announcement of the "Women in Rail" agreement between the Confederation of the European Railways (CER) and the European Transport Workers’ Association (ETF), aimed at promoting employment of women in the sector. A second panel discussion was then dedicated to “The role of railways in the TEN-T corridors and in the completion of its core network” and involved Prof. Secchi as well as two other European Coordinators i.e. Mrs Radicova and Mrs Ayala Sender. Prof. Secchi talked about why rail is so central in the TEN-T policy and elaborated on some of the issues it faces, especially in the field of interoperability, and what factors play a role in those issues such as financial means and political will. He also referred to his work with European Coordinator Kurt Bodewig about attracting private financing to TEN-T projects, the impact of Brexit on the TEN-T and partnerships with neighbouring countries.
T20 Final Summit (4-6 October 2021) and Task Force 7 Final Meeting (4 November 2021) for G20, Italy
Prof. Secchi, as the co-chair of Task Force 7 Infrastructure Investment and Financing, took part to the concluding events of this year’s activities of the T20 (the engagement group bringing together global leading think tanks and research centres in order to provide research-based policy recommendations to the G20 Governments). The related policy briefs can be accessed here.
Also in his capacity of Vice-President of ISPI, the Milan based Institute for International Political Studies, which coordinated the T20 activities this year, he produced with other distinguished authors a policy brief on “A Regional Connectivity Partnership for the Mediterranean”. For the Mediterranean countries, a fundamental role can be played by the EU’s Neighbourhood Policy, while the cooperative scheme proposed in the policy brief can obviously be replicated in other areas of the world. The policy recommendations highlight the promising potential of enhanced regional cooperation for transport, energy and digital infrastructure, to be achieved amongst others through a logistic platform to support the involvement of private operators and investors. To this end, accompanying measures are suggested in the regulatory context and in the setting of common standards, in the development of human capital through technical assistance and capacity building measures, in the improvement of the quality of projects, as well as in other important fields. A crucial role belongs to Multilateral Development Banks, such as the EIB, and to National Promotional Banks, in providing financial instruments and blending schemes in order to better attract private financial resources and to develop a well-functioning market.
The research activity and the development of policy recommendations will continue in 2022, with Indonesia taking over the G20 presidency.
Meeting of the European Coordinators and Connecting Europe Express, Strasbourg and Paris, 6&7 October 2021
On 6 October, Prof. Secchi participated in Strasbourg to a meeting of the European Coordinators. The meeting was focused on the revision of the TEN-T Regulation and consisted of an exchange of views on the different elements of the revision. The meeting was followed by a discussion with the President of Region Grand Est Jean Rottner. Prof. Secchi also participated to the ceremony of the Connecting Europe Express (CEE) at the train station of Strasbourg.
On 7 October, Prof. Secchi and the other European Coordinators rode on the CEE from Strasbourg to Paris, its final destination. On board, they had a meeting with European Commission’s Director-General for Transport and Mobility Henrik Hololei. In Paris, the CEE was welcome by a variety of parties including European Commissioner Thierry Breton and French Secretary of State Jean-Baptiste Djebbari. A Portuguese video made on the ride and in Paris can be viewed here.
Ride on the Connecting Europe Express (CEE) and meetings with the Portuguese Minister and Secretaries of State, Sept 1-4, Lisboa-Madrid-Hendaye-Bordeaux
On 1 September, Prof. Secchi met with Portuguese Secretary of State for rail and road transport Jorge Delgado and with Secretary of State for maritime and air transport Hugo Mendes, discussing on the implementation of the Atlantic Corridor in Portugal, as well as on the upcoming revision of the TEN-T Regulation which the European Commission will propose on 14 December.
On 2 September, Prof. Secchi spoke at the CEE’s Conference on high-speed rail in Lisboa, where he underlined the learnings that can be taken out from the implementation of high-speed rail networks in other regions of the world, stressing that the momentum in Europe is now and that all efforts should be made to complete the European high-speed rail network in the best possible timings, also in view of the expected benefits in terms of economic development and environmental, cultural and cohesion aspects.
From 2 to 4 September, Prof. Secchi rode on the CEE from Lisboa to Madrid to Hendaye and Bordeaux with additional stops at amongst others Covilha, Vilar Formoso and Medina del Campo. On the train, Prof. Secchi met and discussed with various stakeholders, including Portuguese Minister of Infrastructure Pedro Nuno. He also took part in exchanges of flags at different stops, handing over the EU flag and receiving flags of city and regions in return. In Hendaye, he made a speech in which he referred to the symbolic dimension of the Irun/Hendaye cross-border connection and the need to upgrade and increase the speed of the existing line between Bordeaux and Hendaye, since the construction of the new high-speed line has unfortunately been postponed till after 2037 by the French authorities.
On 3 September, Prof. Secchi spoke at the welcome ceremony of the CEE in Madrid, together with Spanish Secretary of State Isabel Pardo de Vera and with high representatives of ADIF and RENFE, underlining the sustainability aspects of rail as a mode of transport and referring to the advances on both the Atlantic and Mediterranean Corridors in Spain, as well as the remaining works to complete them by end 2030.
On 4 September, Prof. Secchi met with President of the region of Nouvelle Aquitaine Alain Rousset, President of Bordeaux Agglomération Alain Anziani as well as President of Port of Bordeaux Jean-Frédéric Laurent. The discussion focused amongst others on the project of a RER in Bordeaux and on its implications for the Atlantic Corridor.
Seminar on the South rail corridor in Portugal, 15 July 2021
The seminar was opened by Jorge Delgado, Secretary of State for Infrastructure, and hosted by Infraestruturas de Portugal’s Director José Carlos Clemente. It hosted a debate carried by representatives of the ports of Lisboa, Setubal, Sesimbra, Sines and Algarve and railway undertakings Transitex and Takargo. Prof. Secchi gave an intervention focused on the achievements and challenges of the Atlantic TEN-T Corridor in that part of Portugal, underlining that the Evora-Caia stretch is the missing link of the Corridor and receives special attention from the European Commission. The participants highlighted the importance of the completion of the South rail corridor between Sines, Lisboa and the border with Spain at Evora-Caia as it will allow to reduce travel time by 3,5 hours and costs by 50% and increase train length to 750m and traffic by a factor of x2.5. The importance of rail investments in ports was also discussed, as well as the need to improve the navigability of the Tagus for the port of Lisboa. The topic of the lack of competition and the fact that the market is big enough for additional operators was also debated. One of the most important points coming out of the seminar is the importance of the electrification of the line Merida-Puertollano in Spain, that line being the one most used for freight transport between the two countries, since the line through Caceres is penalised by a too high gradient.
ISPI Report on Sustainable Infrastructure and videoconference, 15 July 2021
ISPI (the Italian Institute for International Political Studies, based in Milan) made public on 15 July 2021 its annual Report on Infrastructure. Under the title “The Global Quest for Sustainability. The Role of Green Infrastructure in a Post-pandemic World”, it is edited by Prof. Carlo Secchi (vice-president of ISPI and Head of its Centre on Infrastructure) and by Alessandro Gili, and it was presented on the same day at a videoconference with many distinguished speakers, including some of the Italian top players in infrastructure development and financing, as well as Director General of DG Reform Mario Nava, who also commented the “Fit for 55” package adopted by the European Commission the day before.
The Report (https://www.ispionline.it/sites/default/files/pubblicazioni/ispi_report_infrastructure_2021.pdf) covers the current debate on sustainable infrastructure, focusing on the most important fields and players, including the EU, as well as the most important problems facing implementation, with a special attention to funding and financing, including the role of the financial market and of private investors to be substantially enhanced in comparison to the present situation. Finally, attention is given to the geo-political implications of sustainable infrastructure development, being it one of the key issues tackled by the G7 and by the G20, as well as by China, the US and the EU, as underlined by the conclusions by the Council on 12 July 2021 on “A globally connected Europe”.
General Assembly videoconference meeting of AVEP - 29 June 2021
Prof. Secchi took part to the yearly General Assembly of AVEP (Alta Velocidad Espana Portugal) EIIG which was held by videoconference on 29 June 2021. It was the occasion not only to approve the annual accounts of 2020 and to re-elect the members of the Governing Board, but also to discuss the progresses achieved and to examine the ongoing projects and works to modernize and adapt to TEN-T standards the rail links between the two countries. Special attention was given to the ongoing works on the Evora-Merida new and upgraded line, including the last-mile connections at the border (having in mind also the Implementing Decision of April 2018), as well as to the ongoing works on the line between Vilar Formoso and Fuentes de Onoro.
The Assembly examined also the Progress Report of the study supported by AVEP to assess the interoperability issues between the two countries and the rest of Europe, and to establish an action plan to solve them, and it acknowledged that it should be completed within three months. Likewise, it examined the progress achieved and the ongoing activities of the special working group set up between IP and ADIF to address technical interface issues in the cross-border links between Portugal and Spain.
At the end, prof. Secchi expressed satisfaction for the excellent cooperation between both countries and thanked IP, ADIF and the Ministries for their high-level commitment for the implementation of the Atlantic Corridor in the Iberian Peninsula.
Meeting of the European Coordinators with the Communauté Européenne du Rail (CER), 16 June 2021
On 16 June, Prof. Secchi participated with most of his colleagues European Coordinators to a meeting with Alberto Mazzola, Executive Director of the CER, the grouping of railway undertakings and rail infrastructure managers of the EU. The purpose of the meeting was to exchange views about how the European Coordinators can help accelerate the realization of the rail component of the Trans-European transport network (TEN-T), in particular on their respective corridor. Mr Mazzola introduced the meeting by underlining the importance of rail and of ERTMS. He placed the discussion in the context of the Resilience and Recovery Facility (RRF) under which additional investments in rail will be made in the coming years and of the revision of both the Rail Freight Corridors (RFC) and TEN-T Regulations.
The Coordinators agreed to the importance of rail as a green mode of transport (when electrified from clean sources) and stressed the importance of addressing not only the infrastructure needs but also the operational and administrative barriers. They also pointed out at the importance of rail for the access to ports , of maintenance, of a correct internalisation of negative externalities of road transport, on the importance of a good coordination between the core network corridors and the rail freight corridors etc. They suggested amongst others the creation of a specific task force for the completion of the cross-border rail connections. Prof. Secchi stressed in particular the important investments made in rail in Spain and Portugal and the issue of national investment plans not always in line with the TEN-T Regulation (referring to the postponement of the Bordeaux-Hendaye new high-speed line until after 2037 in France). He also stressed the need to streamline and shorten procurement and permitting procedures, which is the aim of the Streamlining Directive about to be adopted albeit with the limitations of a Directive compared to a Regulation.
Mr Mazzola summarized from his side what the CER is working on, including task forces for capacity improvements, digitalization, ticketing and other areas. He also expressed interest for hydrogen-powered trains as an addition to electric trains in the battle to get rid of diesel. It was agreed to have regular exchanges between the European Coordinators and the CER to coordinate efforts, take stock of progress made and identify possible joint actions, such as the upcoming Connecting Europe Express event.
Seminar of the European Coordinators on Financing, 9 June 2021
Prof. Secchi participated with his colleagues European Coordinators to this seminar focused on the financing aspects of the review of the TEN-T Regulation. The seminar unfolded in three parts.
In the first part, Antongiulio Marin, deputy Head of Unit at DG MOVE, documented and animated a discussion on how the “Do No Significant Harm” (DNSH) principle could be reflected in the TEN-T Regulation. He illustrated how it is already reflected in many EU financing programmes and tools and highlighted the importance of the EU Taxonomy Regulation and of its Delegated Act of April 2021 (which will be revised in 2022 to include, inter alia, more modes of transport).
In the second part, Head of Unit Eddy Liégeois gave an overview of the financial reporting and monitoring provisions of the current Regulation, underlined their issues and limitations such as the administrative burden, the lack of harmonisation and the reliance on very good collaboration with the data providers and proposed possible solutions that were discussed with the Coordinators.
In the third part, Prof. Secchi and Prof. Bodewig presented a discussion paper building on their last report “Enabling the uptake of the TEN-T projects pipeline by the EU financial instruments and by the financial market”. They took stock of the developments since that last report of September 2019 (e.g. Recovery & Resilience Facility, Green bonds, Green taxonomy etc.) and presented recommendations to get more TEN-T projects picked up by the market. Those recommendations include, amongst others: a fair implementation of the polluter pays principle coupled with the internalisation of also positive external economies in order to ensure a true level playing field between the modes of transport; further Eurostat guidance on PPPs and guidance on Concessions; the creation of a specific asset class for sustainable TEN-T projects; the adaptation of the Stability & Growth Pact to the post-covid recovery context etc. The other Coordinators provided feedback and further ideas on these matters.
Seminars of the European Coordinators, 11 May and 1 June 2021
On 11 May, Prof. Secchi participated with his colleagues European Coordinators to a seminar about the alternative fuels and ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) provisions of the TEN-T Regulation and how to best revise them. Regarding alternative fuels, there was extensive discussion about the state of play of the implementation of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive. The Coordinators also discussed about its Revision which is ongoing (targeted to be complete in summer 2021) and which policy options would be most appropriate. Prof. Secchi suggested to further analyse the implications with the revision of the TEN-E Directive published last December. Moreover, he pointed out the need to clearly define the “transition period” for certain clean fuels with reference, in particular, to the use of LNG. He underlined that LNG is getting a growing importance especially in the maritime sector and that it will be possible to substitute it with cleaner fuels like hydrogen only after at least a decade from now. Regarding ITS, they had a similar discussion about the state of play of the implementation of the ITS Directive and its limitations, and then about its ongoing Revision (targeted to be complete in November 2021) with the issues most at stake for the realization of the core TEN-T network and how the TEN-T Corridors can be used as catalysts for the further deployment of ITS. This plays an important role in the implementation of the Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy, and Prof. Secchi suggested to develop a coherent approach to systematically involve ITS stakeholders in the activities of the Corridors (like in the CNC fora or in specialized working group meetings).
On 1 June, another seminar was held about the provisions for Motorways of the Sea (MoS) and inland waterways (IWW) in the TEN-T Regulation and how to best revise them. The discussions for MoS focused on the connections between ports and their hinterlands, about the clustering of ports and about the relevancy and strength of the requirements set forth in the Regulation. Many new ideas were discussed. Prof. Secchi stressed the importance of supporting adequate incentives for modal shift of freight from road to short-sea shipping whenever appropriate, like Ecobonus and Marebonus, in order to better contribute to de- carbonization. Moreover, he underlined the importance of short-sea shipping also to strengthen cooperation with neighbouring countries, like, for example, in the Mediterranean Basin. For IWW, the discussions also focused on the relevancy and strength of the requirements set forth in the Regulation and how to adapt them to define what is a “good navigation status” for inland waterways in all its important aspects (not only draught and height under bridges).
Meeting of the special Working Group France-Spain about the cross-border rail connection Bordeaux-Vitoria, 18 May 2021
Prof. Secchi participated to the 5th meeting of that special Working Group that aims to ensure a well-functioning cross-border connection of sufficient capacity and speed by end 2030, using the new Y Basque high-speed line on the side of Spain and an upgraded Bordeaux-border conventional line on the side of France. The information from the part of France focused on the newly created infrastructure-services Atlantic platform, the current planning of the works for upgrading the existing line between now and end 2030, the status update of the remodelling plans for the station complex Irun-Hendaye and the status of the planning for the adaptation of the tunnels for the rolling motorway. The information from the part of Spain focused on the status of the permitting and works for the different sections of the Y Basque and its connection to Madrid via Valladolid, with specific highlights on the new station planned for Vitoria, the placement of a third rail between Astigarraga and Irun by end 2023 and the different environmental impact assessments which are on-going. Prof. Secchi acknowledged the progress in terms of planning and coordination between the two countries and the intermediate goal of starting regional cross-border services as of 2024. He however expressed concerns about, on the side of France, the fact that the banalization between Le Gazinet and Morcenx is not planned while it could help alleviate the impact of the works on freight traffic by avoiding closures of the line, as well as the time that will be necessary to adapt all 21 tunnels and, on the side of Spain, the risks in terms of timings given that some parts are still at environmental assessment level. He encouraged all parties to continue working towards the deadline of end 2030. The 6th meeting will be planned for October or November this year.
Portuguese Presidency "Shifting freight to rail" Conference, 12 May 2021
Prof. Secchi participated to this Conference, hosted by Jorge Delgado, Portuguese Secretary of State for Infrastructure and opened also by Peter Javorcik, Director-General for Transport at the General-Secretariat of the Council. The Conference gave the word in three panels to rail freight customers and their associations, including railway undertaking and shippers, as well as to equipment manufacturers. The European railway Agency was also involved. It covered customers’ needs, ship-to-wagon practices and digitalization & automation. Prof. Secchi made the closing remarks, as well as DG MOVE Director Kristian Schmidt, in charge of road and rail. In his remarks, Prof. Secchi underlined what still needs to be done in particular in the Atlantic Corridor to complete the rail component of the core TEN-T network by 2030, which includes cross-border connections and taking care of interoperability (gauge, electrification, 740m sidings, ERTMS etc.). He also elaborated on the need to address the administrative barriers and to give sufficient priority in terms of good quality slots to freight trains. Last, he made a plea for further and reinforced cooperation between all actors involved. Kristian Schmidt built on Prof. Secchi’s remarks to highlight the different initiatives being prepared by the European Commission and the need to internalize both the positive and negative externalities for all modes of transport, so as to level the playing field between them. He insisted that the momentum for rail freight is now and not in ten or twenty years when road freight transport will have become greener.
Workshop “Smart and Sustainable Maritime Transport in the Atlantic and North Sea Region Post-Brexit”, 22 & 23 April 2021
Prof. Secchi organised, together with his colleagues European Coordinators Kurt Bodewig for Motorways of the Sea (MoS) and Péter Balázsfor the North Sea Mediterranean Corridor, a workshop in two parts focused on the ports along the Atlantic and North Sea coasts. The two parts were respectively the follow-up of a previous workshop held in Dublin in April 2019 about connectivity of Ireland in the Brexit context and the continuation of previous meetings of the Atlantic & North Sea Med Working Groups on Ports.
The first part on 22 April placed emphasis on ensuring the maritime connectivity between Ireland and continental Europe. Prof. Secchi participated to the opening statements, referring to the new alignment of the Corridors as of January 2021, which added Ireland to the Atlantic Corridor, and to the fact that new situation post-Brexit may also be seen as a source of opportunities for the Atlantic ports. The workshop featured two key sessions. The first looked at the development of maritime links since the implementation of Brexit last January, with interventions from the Irish Ministry of Transport, ports, maritime operators and logistics actors. The second analysed the future prospects and key development factors in terms of the maritime links between Ireland and the continent, with interventions from the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) and again from ports, maritime operators and logistics actors. Prof. Secchi concluded that first part by drawing a few conclusions, namely that the future is still full of uncertainties with the final shape of trade relations and transport links between Ireland and continental Europe still unknown, as well as the regulatory context: will the UK be a third country like any other or with preferential links with the EU? He also concluded that the role of short sea shipping should be looked at from the point of view of providing a positive contribution to decarbonisation and that we can expect policy interventions on this, such as prohibitions and incentives.
Seminars of the European Coordinators, 13 April and 20 April 2021
On 13 April, Prof. Secchi participated with his colleagues European Coordinators to a seminar about the relationship between the TEN-T and third countries, with the objective of identifying and discussing opportunities for improvement of the related provisions in the TEN-T Regulation, which is under revision. The seminar was based on the concrete experiences of the extension of the TEN-T maps for third countries to the Western Balkans and to the countries of the Eastern Partnership. The impact of the developments financed by China and by Russia were also discussed. Prof. Secchi underlined the importance of not only the land connections but also the maritime ones, including Short Sea Shipping routes. In that context, explicit reference was made to the Mediterranean Basin and to North African Countries. The specific case of the UK following the Brexit was also discussed. The Coordinators concluded on the need to have a structured dialogue with the third countries, the importance of a clear legal base for the possible involvement of the Coordinators into those discussions, under the caveat of staying prudent and at operational level, and the need to focus on cross-border connectivity.
On 20 April, another seminar was held about the ideas and challenges related to the revision of the TEN-T Regulation’s provisions for rail, ERTMS and roads. This included discussions on the need to align and maximise synergies between core network corridors of the TEN-T and the rail freight corridors, a need which Prof. Secchi strongly supports and which he already strives to achieve through constant interactions with the Atlantic Rail Freight Corridor. The discussions also went about the standards for rail, which Prof. Secchi would like to see made more ambitious and widened (for example with a requirement for the loading gauge of tunnels) as well as brought forward in time for the comprehensive network. The need to set up a minimum operating average speed for passenger rail lines on the core network was also discussed, in light of the mixed developments of new high-speed lines and upgrades to existing lines, also in line with the recommendations of the Court of Auditors evidencing that new high-speed lines do not always make economic sense. The discussion on ERTMS focused on how to get out of the chicken and egg situation and be pragmatic in order to accelerate the deployment of the necessary track side and on-board equipment. Last, the discussion on roads was focused on safety aspects, the compliance of tunnels to the Tunnel Directive 2004/54, the issue of overloading of trucks and their impact in terms of damages to the infrastructure and finally the use of the road network for military purposes. Helpful advice and recommendations were brought up by the Coordinators on those topics on the basis of their experiences on their respective Corridors.
Workshop on “Ports and Global Maritime Transport” organised by ISPI - Milano, 31 March 2021
Prof. Secchi chaired an online workshop organised on 31 March 2021 by ISPI (the Milan-based Institute for International Political Studies, where he serves as Vice-President and Head of its Infrastructure Centre), on “Ports and Global Maritime Transport: Which Trends to Foster Growth and What Role for Europe?”. The event was attended by a large number of stakeholders, including many Port Authorities, operators and experts (also from the Atlantic Corridor) and it was promoted with the knowledge partnership of Mc Kinsey & Company, with two speakers (Arjen Kersing and Luuk Speksnijder) on “Sustainability in Shipping. Opportunities for shipping and ports players”. Prof. Kurt Bodewig, European Coordinator for Motorways of the Sea, gave an opening speech focused on current trends in European policy and support instruments for navigation and ports, especially in view of environmental sustainability and digitalisation, including his plans for future Work Plans for MoS, with special emphasis on short-sea shipping as a substitute for road transport. Finally, Zeno D’Agostino, who is also Vice-Chairman of ESPO, the European Sea Port Organisation, dealt with the challenges facing the sector, both in terms of organisation (aiming at becoming “port systems” integrated with logistic platforms, their hinterland and all related activities, including clean energy), automation and digitalisation, and environmental sustainability, as well as deriving from expected changes in world trade flows, following the pandemic and more recent events like the Suez Canal accident.
European ITS Platform (EU EIP) webinar on the digitalisation of road transport, 25 March 2021
Prof. Secchi gave a keynote speech as an introduction to the fourth webinar held by the EU EIP Forum on 25 March on “Digitalisation of road transport in Europe: the great progress under the CEF”. Over two hundred stakeholders registered to examine the results achieved by the ITS corridors where projects are being implemented, as well as the future priorities for traffic management and safety in European roads. As European Coordinator for the Atlantic Corridor, Prof. Secchi underlined to progresses achieved in the Member States concerned also thanks to CEF support. He then gave an update on the likely enhanced role of ITS in the TEN-T Revision currently being developed, as well as in the financial support foreseen by CEF2 and other sources of financial support at EU level. Indeed, he concluded, “ITS are quite important both for the Green Deal and for the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy of the Commission and play an important part in the Recovery and Resilience Facility of Next Generation EU”. Pierpaolo Toni from INEA focused from his part on the ITS projects supported by the Connecting Europe Facility, showing concrete realizations and underlining the benefits in terms, for example, of cooperation and standardisation. At the end of the webinar, Kristian Hedberg, Head of Unit of DG MOVE.B.4 gave his concluding remarks.
Meeting of the Atlantic Corridor Forum, videoconference 23 March 2021
On 23 March, Prof. Secchi gathered around 85 members of the Corridor Forum for an official meeting. He first welcomed the new stakeholders coming from the extensions of the Corridor and reminded the context and working practices of these meetings. He then gave the floor to Daniela Carvalho, head consultant for the Corridor Studies, who gave a very clear overview of the KPIs compliance today, including with the extensions, and expected by end 2030, highlighting where additional efforts are needed. She also shared the learnings from the different elements of the Corridor Studies. Next, Mrs Carvalho gave a very interesting presentation, based on actual transport flow data, of the impact of covid on the traffic in the different modes of the Corridor, highlighting where recovery is going well and where it is lagging behind and giving expectations for the few years post-covid. Prof. Secchi then asked the new Managing Director of the Atlantic Rail Freight Corridor, Mrs Claire Hamoniau from SCNF, to give a status update of the capacity offer, studies and other projects of the RFC. The advisor of Prof. Secchi, Isabelle Maës, gave an overview and status update of the different EU financial tools and programmes, highlighting that the first CEF2 call should take place in may while the Regional Funds (EFRD and CF) will see their new Regulation approved in June and other programmes (e.g. InvestEU, RRF) are getting finalised. She also recapped the main information given during the informal meeting of 3 February, including regarding the review of the TEN-T Regulation, and announced the workshops which will take place on 22 and 23 April related to Ports in partnership with the North-Sea Mediterranean Corridor and with Motorways of the Sea (the link to register to these workshops was sent just before the meeting). Last, she announced that the TEN-T trains will start their tour not on 9 June but rather on 1 September, still from Lisboa, given the slow improvement of the pandemic situation. Prof. Secchi next gave the floor to each MS representative to give an overview of what TEN-T/Atlantic projects are included in the latest version of their national plan under the Recovery & Resilience Facility, which provided an encouraging picture that the RRF will contribute to the financing and hence realization of a number of projects on the Corridor. The meeting was followed by a restricted session with the Member States representatives, which focused on the upgrade of the Bordeaux-Hendaye and of the Algeciras-Bobadilla rail lines. It was agreed that France and Spain will organise a next meeting of the special WG about their cross-border rail connections in May.
Seminars of the European Coordinators, videoconferences, 9 and 19 March 2021
Prof. Secchi and his colleagues European Coordinators continued their regular seminars with a focus on the revision of the TEN-T Regulation. They first gathered on 9 March to discuss about the provisions related to the Governance of the TEN-T and of the Corridors. Many interesting points were made and will be taken on board in the on-going impact assessment study which will lead to the revised Regulation. Prof. Secchi insisted in particular that the tools at the disposal of the Coordinators to help ensure the realization of their Corridor be strengthened. He also insisted that the Coordinators be more and more often involved in the informal Transport Councils, in order to increase the visibility of their role and to give them an extra occasion to meet the Ministers and Secretaries of State of the countries on their Corridors. In the same line of thought, he insisted on resuming after covid the tradition of meeting a Minister or SoS with all the Coordinators who have the country on their Corridor, as it always proved very effective in the past in leading to new or strengthened political commitments from the MS.
The seminar on 19 March was focused on the provisions related to the urban nodes on both the core and comprehensive network. Prof. Secchi gave his full support to the idea of drawing a more complete list of these nodes based on well-defined criteria. He also pointed out that the obligations set upon the urban nodes on the network must be made clearer and more ambitious, as they play a key role in the smooth functioning of the network, in particular for the first and last miles and also for transiting traffic where they can be the source of bottlenecks. Last, he called for better intermodal connections in the urban nodes.
Hearing with the TRAN Committee of the European Parliament, 25 February 2021
Prof. Secchi participated, together with his colleague Coordinator Ines Ayala Sender, to the meeting of the TRAN Committee on 25 February in which they spoke about the state of play on their Corridor and brought up relevant issues for the upcoming revision of the TEN-T Regulation. Prof. Secchi underlined the changes related to the governance of the Atlantic Corridor, with his involvement in the meetings of AVEP and of the special Working Group between France and Spain for their rail cross-border connections. He also summarised the key achievements on the Atlantic Corridor since 2014 and were we expect to end by 2030. He pointed out at the impacts of the covid crisis which are still unclear and at the recent extension of the Corridor to Ireland and within Spain, which are brining additional projects to carry out. He also enlarged the debate from pure infrastructure deployment to also administrative and operational barriers that need to be tackled. Last, he briefly touched on two areas for improvement of the TEN-T Regulation, first for urban nodes the fact that the obligations are too vague and lack ambition and sufficient focus on multi-modality. Second the insufficient recognition of the role of ports and of the importance of their connection to rail and inland waterways as well as of their decarbonisation. He then invited the MEPs to ask him questions also about the financing of the TEN-T projects, a field in which he has been providing regular recommendations to the EU institutions, the Member States and the project promoters together with his colleague Kurt Bodewig. MEPs asked many questions and there was not enough time to answer them all in sufficient details, therefore Prof. Secchi offered to be contacted by email or phone including through his Advisor. He was however able to say that what we will achieve by 2030 is clearly outlined in the Work Plans, that the re-planning of infrastructure investments in France is being addressed through the special working group in which he is in continuous dialogue with the French authorities to obtain a full upgrade of the existing line between Bordeaux and Hendaye at the border with Spain, that he is organizing special workshops on 22&23 April about the impacts of Brexit for Ports together with Peter Balazs (NSM Corridor) and Kurt Bodewig (MoS), that the revision of the TEN-T Regulation will put forward an important re-statement of the MoS/maritime aspects and also address the enhancement of the role of the Coordinators.
T20 Inception Conference for G20 (Italy 2021),8 and 9 February 2021
The Inception (video) Conference, held on 8-9 February was the official kick off of the activities foreseen in 2021 by the T20, which is, since many years, an official Engagement Group of the G20. This year it is taking place under the national coordination of ISPI (the Milan based Institute for International Political Studies) and is bringing together leading global Think Tanks and Research Centres in order to serve as the “ideas bank” of the G20, which in 2021 is organised under Italian Presidency (www.t20italy.org). The T20 aims at providing research-based policy recommendations to the G20 and is organised in Task Forces on different topics. Prof. Secchi, also in his capacity of Vice-President of ISPI and Head of its “Infrastructure Centre” serves as one of the co-chairs of Task Force 7 on “Infrastructure Investment and Financing”, which gathered in a special session of the Conference to discuss a set of some 14 Policy Briefs to be written by many authors around the world in order to submit policy recommendations to the G20. The different topics include the role of private investment; sustainability, resilience and maintenance issues in infrastructure; quality infrastructure financing; the scope and benefits of advances in technology and digitalization; regional and international cooperation and coordination. Prof. Secchi will be the lead co-author of a Policy Brief on “A new platform for Infrastructure Cooperation in the Mediterranean” to be developed within ISPI (also with other Research Centres) in order to point out the benefits deriving from increased cooperation within the area, aiming at closing gaps in infrastructure development and at enhancing competitiveness. Particular attention will be given to the potential benefits deriving from a more active engagement in this field by the EU with Mediterranean North African and Middle-Eastern countries.
Videoconference of the Atlantic Corridor, 3 February 2021
Prof. Secchi organised a videoconference with the stakeholders of the Atlantic Corridor. He first welcomed the participants with a special word for the newcomers following the extensions of the Corridor since 1 Jan 2021 and reminded of the modus vivendi of the Corridor’s meetings. His Advisor Isabelle Maës made some internal announcements related to the RFC with the retirement of its Managing Director Mr Jacques Coutou, and to the change of HoU at DG MOVE. She then shared information about the Sustainable & Smart Mobility Strategy issued by the Commission on 9 Dec 2020; the TEN-T Days planned for June/July in a moving format aboard trains; the last CEF1 reflow call which was published on 15 Dec 2020 and for which the deadline for submission is 22 March 2021; the CEF2 Regulation which still needs to be formally adopted; some provisions that still need to be confirmed regarding the first CEF2 calls; and the status and process of the revision of the TEN-T Regulation. Mrs Daniela Carvalho reminded the MS of the need to give input for the update of the Corridor’s Project List. Prof. Secchi announced that the next Corridor Forum meeting will take place by videoconference on 23 March afternoon and it was agreed that the MS will briefly present at that occasion what TEN-T infrastructure projects are included in their national plans under the Recovery & Resilience Facility (RRF).
Seminar of the European Coordinators, videoconference 2 February 2021
Prof. Secchi participated to the first seminar of the European Coordinators dedicated to the revision of the TEN-T Regulation. It will be followed by at least five other seminars on different aspects of the revision. This first seminar was dedicated to an exchange of views about the main elements of the revision as well as the role of the Coordinators. Director Herald Ruijters explained the political context of the revision linked to the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, while Head of Unit Eddy Liegeois elaborated on the roadmap and specific elements of the revision. The Coordinators expressed and discussed their views about amongst others urban nodes, the external dimension of the TEN-T, the alignment of the CNC’s and of the RFC’s and the development of inland waterways and maritime ports. The next seminar will take place on 9 March.
Politecnico di Milano, 4 December 2020
Like in the past, Prof. Secchi was invited to give a lecture at Politecnico di Milano for some fifty participants to the master course on “Management and Finance of Infrastructure Investment”. The focus was on the situation and prospects for TEN-T and for CEF2, also in relation to the RRF and to the new MFF, as well as to other instruments and programs, such as InvestEU and Horizon Europe, with a special attention to innovative financial instruments.
Videoconference meeting with ADIF, 2 December 2020
On 2 December, Prof. Secchi had a videoconference meeting with ADIF, more specifically President Isabel Pardo de Vera, Director-General Maria Luisa Dominguez Gonzalez, International Director Fernando Nicolas Puiggari and International Projects Director Manuel Besteiro Galindo. The purpose of the meeting was to exchange information about the state of rail projects and planning in Spain on the Atlantic Corridor. ADIF emphasised the four main border-crossings (Tui-Valença, Fuentes de Oñoro-Vilar Formoso and Badajoz-Elvas with Portugal and Irún-Hendaye with France), then showed an overview of the main freight traffic flows along those four crossings and within the country, with increasing trends for the traffic with Portugal and decreasing trends for the traffic with France, linked to closures of the line south of Bordeaux for works. ADIF also gave a status update of the deployment of the UIC gauge and of the OGI project for variable axle gauge freight trains, which represents a commercial opportunity not only for the Iberian Peninsula but also for other countries facing the issue of having a different gauge than the standard UIC one. ADIF then showed the projects planned on or near the Atlantic Corridor, including the renovation of the existing line between Badajoz and Madrid via Puertollano, where freight traffic will be focused when the new high-speed line Badajoz-Madrid via Caceres will be completed. Some discussions also focused on the high-speed rail crossing of Madrid via Atocha and Chamartín, on tunnels gauge and on logistics terminals and connections to ports. A last important point in the discussion was the national Recovery & Resilience Plan under which ADIF included a relevant set of rail projects.
ISPI Infrastructure Forum - Mediterranean Dialogues - Rome, 30 November 2020
Prof. Secchi chaired the second session of the “Infrastructure Forum” organised by ISPI, the Italian Institute for International Political Studies, of which he is Vice-President and Head of its Centre on Infrastructure). The event took place virtually in Rome, within the “Mediterranean Dialogues” organised yearly for the last six years by ISPI and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The event gathers participants from governments, think tanks, universities, civil society and the business community from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region) and other countries, as well as international institutions (see website med.ispionline.it). The Infrastructure Forum focused on “Rethinking Infrastructure: Fostering a Steady and Sustainable Economic Recovery in the Mediterranean” and was organised in two sessions, respectively on “New funds for a post-pandemic recovery” and on “Towards a regional integration in the Mediterranean: the core role of energy and transports”. It was attended by some eighty participants, both from the public and from the private sector, and provided the opportunity to also discuss the role and instruments of the EU, including the Green Deal and Next Generation EU, and EIB, in relation to the European TEN-T policy, to foster cooperation in developing sustainable and smart infrastructure in the region.
Coordinators conference, 25 November 2020
Prof. Secchi participated to the videoconference with his colleagues European Coordinators, which focused on the Review and Revision of the TEN-T Regulation and on the Recovery & Resilience Facility.
Atlantic Corridor videoconference, 24 November 2020
Prof. Secchi organised a videoconference with the Corridor Forum members of the Atlantic Corridor to share information and updates. Some 75 people attended the videoconference. Prof. Secchi gave an update of what happened in terms of his activities related to the Corridor since the last videoconference of 23 June and was is planned for the rest of the calendar year. Daniela Carvalho, Senior Consultant of T.I.S, gave an update about the Corridor Studies with a focus on the inclusion of the upcoming extensions to the Corridor as of 1 January 2021. Jacques Coutou, Managing Director of the Atlantic Rail Freight Corridor (RFC) gave a status update of the situation and activities of the RFC. Isabelle Maës, advisor to Prof. Secchi at DG MOVE, gave an update about the Recovery & Resilience Facility, the MFF 2021-2027 of which the CEF2 budget and the second CEF1 reflow call which is due to be published in December. She also discussed changes that are in the works for CEF2 calls such as climate proofing and new evaluation criteria. Last, the Member States gave an update of their situation with regards to transport infrastructure planning, key ongoing projects and the impact on covid. Prof. Secchi concluded the meeting.
National School of Administration, Rome, 24 November 2020
Prof. Secchi was invited by the Italian Scuola Nazionale dell’Amministrazione (SNA) based in Rome, on 24 November 2020, to give a lecture to some fifty participants coming from various Italian Ministries, within their Diploma Course on European Governance. The video-lecture focused on the current status and expected developments of the European transport & infrastructure policy, including the financial support foreseen by CEF 2 within the MFF 2021-2027, by InvestEU and by the RRF, as well as the ongoing revision of the TEN-T Regulation. At the end, a Q&A session allowed to go deeper into topics of general and of Italian-specific interest.
Assolombarda, Milano and Confindustria Lombardy Conference, 10 November 2020
The two leading industrialists organisations in Milano and Lombardy organised on 10 November, within the “World manufacturing week 2020” an online Conference on “Expected developments in transport and infrastructure policies for Lombardy within the new Global Value Chains”. The Conference was based on a specific research work directed by Prof. Oliviero Baccelli, responsible at Bocconi University of the Master programme in “Economics and management of transport, infrastructures and supply chains (MEMIT)”. It focused on the infrastructures needs of the most advanced and export-oriented region in Italy, also in view of the developments in production and international trade envisaged for the post-covid economic recovery. Moreover, Lombardy is at the crossing of the Mediterranean and Rhine-Alpine Corridors, and it is closely linked with the Scan-Med and Baltic-Adriatic Corridors. In his intervention, Prof. Secchi provided an overview of the current trends in the European transport infrastructure policy, including the ongoing negotiations on the MFF and on CEF2 and the revision of the TEN-T Regulation, as well as the role of Next Generation EU (including the RRF) and of Invest EU in supporting investments in infrastructure, consistent with the European targets in this domain.
"Connecting EU insights" webinar, 27 October 2020
Prof. Secchi took part to one of the virtual events organised by the Circle Group, based in Genova, during the last week of October, with a special focus on “Maritime industry and green transition”. On 27 October, he was interviewed by Alexio Picco, Managing Director of the Circle Group, about the features and the expected developments of the Atlantic Corridor in this respect. The conversation covered the ongoing projects to increase capacity of the Atlantic ports, improve their links with their hinterland and the rest of Europe - especially by rail - enhance their efficiency through digitalisation, achieve higher levels of sustainability and environmental respect. The prospects related to Brexit were also discussed, in view of the extension of the Atlantic Corridor to Ireland, in particular the inclusion of the ports of Dublin, Cork and Shanon Foys, as of 1 January 2021. The session was followed live by many interested stakeholders including of the Atlantic Corridor and subsequently also made available on social media.
Videoconferences of the Atlantic Corridor for respectively Portugal, Spain and France on 20 Oct, 23 Oct and 17 Nov 2020
On 20 October, Prof. Secchi held a videoconference with representatives of the Portuguese Ministry for Planning and Infrastructure, State Secretariat for rail and road transport, State Secretariat for maritime and air transport, Institute of Mobility and Land Transport, rail and road Infrastructure Manager IP and representation in Brussels, as well as representatives of the Atlantic Rail Freight Corridor, INEA and DG REGIO. The meeting was focused on three main aspects i.e. 1) the status of the main on-going infrastructure projects on the Corridor, 2) the planning and funding aspects, including the national plan under preparation for the Recovery & Resilience Facility and the country’s intentions in terms of projects to submit to CEF/EU co-funding and 3) the country’s first analysis and wishes in the context of the upcoming revision of the TEN-T Regulation. Next to the on-going projects, with a review of all major rail projects, a large part of the discussion focused on the PNI (National Plan of Investments) 2030 i.e. the country’s transport planning and investment programme for 2020-2030 and in particular its rail components. The meeting resulted in a number of concrete follow-up actions on the side of both the Commission and the country.
On 23 October, Prof. Secchi held a similar videoconference with representatives of the Spanish Ministry for Transport and Mobility, rail Infrastructure Manager ADIF and representation in Brussels, as well as representatives of the Atlantic Rail Freight Corridor, INEA and DG REGIO. The meeting focused on the same aspects as the one for Portugal. Next to the on-going projects, with interesting discussions about the Y Basque and the new high-speed line Madrid-Badajoz-border, a large part of the discussion was dedicated to the Mobility Strategy and the upcoming Mobility Law and another large part to the status and content to-date of the national plan under preparation for the Recovery & Resilience Facility. The meeting also resulted in a number of concrete follow-up actions on the side of both the Commission and the country.
On 17 November, Prof. Secchi held also a similar videoconference with representatives of the French Ministry - with a large delegation covering not only EU Affairs but also the specific transport modes Rail, Maritime and Inland Waterways -, representatives of the Atlantic Rail Freight Corridor, rail Infrastructure Manager SNCF Réseau, INEA and DG REGIO. The same agenda points were addressed as for the other countries. The review of ongoing projects covered amongst others the works south of Bordeaux and the discussion about future projects covered for example the new high-speed line Paris-Normandy, the renewal of the line between Bordeaux and Hendaye and a number of projects located in the urban nodes of the Corridor such as in Bordeaux and Toulouse. France summarised the key elements of its national plan under the Recovery and Resilience Facility which foresees a substantial amount of investment for rail, albeit not necessarily on the Atlantic Corridor. The important initiative 4F (Fret Ferroviaire Français du Futur) was also discussed, in which the Commission would like to see sufficient focus on international freight transport. Last, France expressed its wishes and expectations for the revision of the TEN-T Regulation. The meeting also resulted in a number of concrete follow-up actions.
Videoconferences of the European Coordinators, 22 Sept and 19 Oct 2020
Prof. Secchi participated to the videoconferences of the European Coordinators which took place on 22 Sept and 19 Oct with also the staff of Unit B.1 of DG MOVE, its head of Unit Jean-Louis Colson, MOVE B Director Herald Ruijters and the Head of Unit B.2 of DG MOVE Olivier Silla.
In the videoconference of 22 Sept, the main focus was on rail-related matters. Former European Coordinator for ERTMS Karel Vinck and former Ambassador of Belgium Jan Grauls presented the initiative "European Year of Rail 2021", which foresees a series of events, campaigns and initiatives that will promote rail as a sustainable, innovative and safe mode of transport. Elisabeth Werner, Director for Land Transport at DG MOVE provided an overview of the Commission’s rail policy and the upcoming initiatives, including the revision of the Rail Freight Corridors Regulation. The Coordinators discussed relevant related projects on their Corridors and how to best support the European Year of Rail from their side.
In the videoconference of 19 Oct, the focus was on the Resilience and Recovery Facility (RFF) with a presentation from Unit B.2 of where things are in the legislative process and questions & answers from the Coordinators. The key principles, the guidance and the templates for the national plans to be prepared under that RFF were issued by the Commission already on 17 Sept (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_1658) and there is now also a hub where all key information is gathered for the Member States (MS) at https://ec.europa.eu/info/departments/recovery-and-resilience-task-forc…. The negotiations at the Council and at the European Parliament have progressed and the budget of €672.5bn for the RFF is confirmed, with a split of €312.5bn in grants and €360bn in loans. That budget is pre-split between MS for 2021 and 2022 based on a set of criteria. MS have been invited to submit their draft national plan under the RFF as of 15 Oct and need to submit their final plan by 30 April 2021. The Commission will then have 8 weeks to assess them and share its analysis with Council and EP. The Council will need to adopt the national plans by qualified majority. The related financial commitments from the MS will be covered from 1 Jan 2021 until 31 Dec 2023, with the possibility for retroactivity back to Feb 2020.
Videoconference meeting of the High-Level Working Group on cross-border rail connections between France and Spain - 30 July 2020
The Spanish Ministry for Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (MITMA) organised on 30 July 2020 the 5th meeting of the High-Level Working Group on cross-border rail connections between France and Spain set up under the initiative of Commissioner Bulc during the TEN-T Days in Ljubljana (25-27 April 2018), in order to exchange information and foster solutions to overcome obstacles and bottlenecks in rail traffic flows between the two countries concerning both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Corridors. Prof. Secchi, together with Head of Unit Jean-Louis Colson, took part in particular for the matters concerning the Atlantic Corridor. The initial focus was on the current situation and plans covering the Atlantic Corridor both in Spain and in France, with an update with respect to the previous meeting (Paris, 25 September 2019), providing also the time horizon for the plans and the works under way.
There followed a detailed discussion on problems and possible solutions in relation to the forthcoming partial closing of the line between Bordeaux and Dax to carry out upgrading works. This is due to the fact that counter-flow installations (which would allow not to stop completely the traffic) are missing between Bordeaux and Morcenx. Some solutions envisaged to minimise the negative effects (especially on freight traffic) were presented and will be further analysed. Also in relation to this matter, an update was examined concerning the plans for the rolling motorway between Vitoria and Lille. There are problems concerning the loading gauge of some tunnels. A technical working group between SNCF Réseau and ADIF will meet early in September to find agreements and thus allow to carry out as soon as possible the enlargement of the tunnels involved. Finally, the new lay-out of the Hendaye station, at the French border towards Irun, was examined. The aim is to allow smooth transit especially of freight trains.
As a matter of fact, special emphasis in the discussion was given to the need to enhance rail freight traffic, in full agreement with the EU focus on modal shift. The exchange of views proved quite interesting, also in relation to the 4F (French Rail Freight of the Future) project currently being developed in France, on which the participants will be kept informed.
The High-Level Group agreed to meet again before the end of 2020.
University of Rome "La Sapienza" webinar, 8 July 2020
Prof. Secchi, together with former MEP Eva Lichtenberger (member of the TRAN Committee in 2004-2014), was guest speaker at a webinar organised by the Degree Course and by the Master Programme in European Studies of the Faculty of Law of the University of Rome "La Sapienza" on 8 July 2020. The event was supported by the European Parliament to Campus 2020 Programme and co-funded by the Erasmus + Programme of the EU. It focused on "TEN-T Network: Evolution of European Regulation and Current Legal Issues". In his speech, Prof. Secchi touched upon the evolution, instruments and current set-up of the EU policy for the development of transport infrastructure, as well as on the most important issues on the table at the moment, including CEF2 and the new MFF, the role of transport in Next Generation EU and in InvestEU, the scope for new financial instruments and for the financial market, actions to foster innovation, digitalization and sustainability in transport, the forthcoming revision of the TEN-T Regulation and, finally, the regulatory context, including the draft Streamlining Directive. There followed a debate with the participants (academics, students and experts) which allowed to further clarify the most important issues still under discussion at EU level.
General Assembly videoconference meeting of AVEP, 3 July 2020
Prof. Secchi participated to the General Assembly meeting of the AVEP (Alta Velocidad España Portugal) EEIG. Initially set up to manage the coordinated development of high-speed passenger rail, AVEP also received the mandate to address interoperability issues for freight transport. This meeting on 3 July first covered the study about rail interoperability issues in the Iberian Peninsula, which was launched in March and will be completed in December. It is expected that it will provide valuable learnings for the Atlantic Corridor. The meeting also covered the status of the cross-border rail connection between Evora in Portugal and Merida in Spain, which is the subject of an Implementing Decision from the European Commission of April 2018. Although some delays can be observed compared to the initial planning, the connection is still expected to be operational by the end of 2025. The third topic covered was the cross-border working groups for issues such as the overhead lines, the power stations and the signaling systems, with specific status updates about the Tui-Valencia, Vilar Formoso-Fuentes de Oñoro and Badajoz-Elvas (of which Evora-Merida is part) cross-border connections. The last topic covered was the cross-border agreement between IP and ADIF, which is in the process of being finalised and covers all main operational aspects, including the coordination of maintenance works. Prof. Secchi thanked the representatives of ADIF, IP and the Ministries for the excellent cooperation and the progresses made over the past year.
Videoconference of the Atlantic Corridor, 23 June 2020
On 23 June 2020, Prof. Secchi held a second videoconference with the stakeholders of the Atlantic Corridor, which gathered a wide attendance again. The conference focused on two main topics, being the 4th Work Plan for the Corridor (for 2020-2021) and the INEA Report on the CEF projects on the Corridor.
Regarding the 4th Work Plan, which is almost formally approved by all four Member States, Prof. Secchi highlighted first the governance aspects, referring to his participation to the general assemblies of AVEP and to the meetings of the high-level working group between France and Spain about their rail cross-border connections. He then summarised the objectives for the Corridor, referring to its technical implementation as per the requirements of the TEN-T regulation but also to the Green Deal. He summarised the main achievements on the Corridor since 2014 with a lot of progress in rail, rail connections to ports, ITS, logistics platforms and alternative fuels. He explained where the Corridor is expected to come out at the end of 2030 in terms of its compliance with the TEN-T requirements, with only minor shortcomings in terms of track gauge in Portugal and ERTMS deployment. He underlined the importance of addressing also the administrative and operational barriers, especially in rail, and the absolute need to attract more financing from the financial market, referring to his work in that field with Prof. Bodewig. He concluded by stressing the two biggest challenges on the Corridor being on the one hand the upgrade of the existing rail line between Bordeaux and the border with Spain, connecting to the Y Basque, and on the other hand the interoperability of rail in the Iberian Peninsula including the rail connection between Lisbon and Madrid. Prof. Secchi also put the Work Plan in the context of the covid-crisis and stressed that the impact of this crisis on the realization of the Corridor will be carefully analysed and monitored.
Regarding the INEA Report on the CEF projects on the Corridor, Stefano Campagnolo gave a presentation of the status of implementation of these projects by mode and highlighted the challenges pertaining to the realization of often complex infrastructure projects as well as the financial aspects.
Isabelle Maës, Advisor to Prof. Secchi, gave some updates from the European Commission including about the CEF reflow call, of which the selection of projects will be adopted by the Member States in the CEF Committee meeting of 16 July, about the agreement reached between the Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission about the Streamlining Directive, which will help accelerate the permit-granting procedures of important projects on the Corridors, about a first assessment of the implications for transport of the EU Recovery Plan and finally about the additional flexibility which will be made possible on a case-by-case basis to extend the duration of CEF projects impacted by the covid-crisis. Daniela Carvalho, heading the Corridor’s studies, gave a short presentation about the review of the TEN-T Regulation, indicating which consultations the stakeholders still have the chance (and are encouraged) to participate to. Prof. Secchi then wrapped up and concluded the meeting.
ISPI Report on Infrastructure and videoconference with the Italian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, 15 June 2020
ISPI (the Italian Institute on International Political Studies) made public on 15 June 2020 its Report on “Infrastructure in a changing world: trends and challenges” edited by Prof. Carlo Secchi (who is vice-president of ISPI) together with Alberto Belladonna. Prof. Secchi also contributed a chapter on "The support of the EU for the development of infrastructure", describing the development of the TEN-T policy and the current prospects in view of the next MFF (2021-2027), of CEF2 and of the ongoing revision of the TEN-T Regulation, in the context of the recovery actions to be put in place by the EU for the covid-crisis, where infrastructure investment should play a primary role.
This Report served also as a background for a videoconference held in the same day with the Italian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Paola De Micheli and some of the top players in the field in Italy (active also at the international level). The participants (about one hundred) put forward suggestions and proposals for infrastructure investments (both greenfield and maintenance works) also as a contribution to the national infrastructure plan that Minister De Micheli is preparing as a key contribution to the recovery and modernization of the Italian economy after the current crisis. In his conclusions, Prof. Secchi underlined the ongoing developments at the EU level and the need to be well prepared to profit from them both in terms of financial resources and in designing an infrastructure plan (within the TEN-T context) well-suited in terms of sustainability, digitalization and multimodality.
Videoconference of the Atlantic Corridor, 28 May 2020
On 28 May 2020, Prof. Secchi held a videoconference with the main stakeholders of the Atlantic Corridor, which gathered a wide attendance. DG MOVE Head of Unit for the trans-European transport network Jean-Louis Colson gave an introduction, in which he highlighted some of the most important initiatives of the EU since the start of the covid-crisis, both related to transport (e.g. the green lanes initiative of 23 March, the guidelines of 13 May on how to gradually lift transport restrictions and restore transport services) and in general terms (e.g. the proposal of the Commission for a new SURE programme to support Member States’ employment schemes, the proposal of the Commission of 27 May for a European recovery instrument “Next Generation EU” and for a reinforced multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027). Prof. Secchi said a few words about his fourth Work Plan for the Atlantic Corridor, covering the period 2020-2021, in terms of its adoption process and its expected release to the Corridor’s stakeholders by the end of June. Isabelle Maës, Advisor to Prof. Secchi, gave a short overview of the EU initiatives related to the crisis as well as, later in the meeting, information about on-going CEF projects and the new CEF projects to come from the reflow call, the outcome of which will be discussed at the CEF Committee meeting on 15 July. The Member States representatives of Portugal, France, Germany and Spain also shared information related to the management of the crisis at national level. Jacques Coutou, the Managing Director of the Atlantic Rail Freight Corridor, gave a presentation on the main issues in terms of rail freight, including the impact and management of the crisis and insights into the future potential of rail freight including in the context of the project of the rolling motorway between Lille and Vitoria. Daniela Carvalho, heading the Corridor’s studies, gave a presentation of what has been done over the past two years and the current status of the Corridor in terms of KPIs and projects pipeline. She also highlighted the upcoming extensions of the Corridor as of 2021, with the inclusion of additional roads, rail lines, urban nodes, ports, airports, RRTs, regions and Member State i.e. Ireland, and called for everyone’s cooperation on providing data for the next round of the Corridor’s studies starting after the Summer. Prof. Secchi gave an overview of the next steps of the Corridor’s work, including further videoconference meetings expected before the Summer from the special WG of France and Spain on their cross-border rail connections and from AVEP related to the interoperability of rail in the Iberian Peninsula. It is not yet clear whether the activities after the Summer will be in person, possibly in reduced groups, or by videoconferences. Prof. Secchi then wrapped up and concluded the meeting.
Videoconferences of the European Coordinators, 24 April and 18 May
Prof. Secchi participated to the videoconferences of the European Coordinators which took place on 24 April and 18 May with also the staff of Unit B.1 of DG MOVE, its head of Unit Jean-Louis Colson and MOVE B Director Herald Ruijters. The main purpose of those meetings was to share information about how the covid-19 situation is impacting on transport in the EU and on the realization of the Corridors and how the EU and the Member States are responding to it. They provided a useful platform for exchanging information and ideas on those topics, as well as to discuss common files such as the Streamlining Regulation, the Work Plans or the Court of Auditor’s upcoming report on eight large projects on the Corridors. Similar videoconferences will continue to be organised until meetings can resume in person.
Meeting of the Atlantic and North Sea Mediterranean Working Groups on Urban Nodes, 19 February 2020, Paris
Prof. Secchi and his colleague Coordinator for the North Sea Mediterranean Corridor Prof. Balázs, held a joint meeting of their Working Groups on Urban Nodes. The meeting was hosted by SNCF Réseau in the presence of Mr. Ghedira, Head of the Client and Services Direction. The opening remarks included a speech by Mrs. Sandrine Chinzi, Head of the Directorate for Transport and Infrastructure at the Ministère de la Transition Ecologique et Solidaire. The meeting involved the presentation of and discussion about specific projects in the urban nodes of Amsterdam, Bilbao, Bordeaux, Dublin, Lyon, Paris, Strasbourg & Mulhouse and Toulouse. There was also a specific presentation about the French strategy for rail development in urban nodes. Participants included representatives of the Member States and Regions, city authorities and infrastructure managers. In his introduction, Prof. Secchi emphasised the importance of the urban nodes given that they are the main points of departure and arrival of transport flows on the network and that they may also represent bottlenecks for longer-distance transport. He underlined that addressing both the issues and the opportunities created by urban nodes is vital for the good functioning of the TEN-T network. The meeting was also the occasion for Prof. Secchi to meet representatives of Toulouse Métropole, who will become an urban node of the Atlantic Corridor as of January 2021. In the margin of the meeting, Prof. Secchi and Prof. Balázs were interviewed by HAROPA for an article to be published in the HAROPA magazine, as well as by SNCF Réseau.
Seminar of the European Coordinators, Brussels, 10 December 2019
Prof. Secchi participated to this Seminar of the European Coordinators, which was focused on the update of activities both from the side of the European Commission and from the side of INEA, as well as on the learnings which can be derived from the experience of the long tunnels projects on the TEN-T network. Regarding the activities of the Commission, updates were discussed about the review of the TEN-T Regulation, the discussions in Council of the MFF and within that of the CEF2 budget, the work on military mobility, the currently open CEF call, the newly set-up Blending Facility etc. Regarding the activities of INEA, a clear update was discussed about the status of the CEF transport projects, including the rate of grants absorption and the delays experienced by some of the projects, although the overall picture is quite positive. The discussion with the CEOs of the different long tunnels (Brenner, Fehmarn Belt, Lyon-Torino etc.) produced interesting learnings useful for especially cross-border projects managed by a common structure but also for more general cases of complex and technically-challenging projects. Some learnings were focused on what the EU can do further to alleviate the difficulties, particularly in the field of administrative obstacles. The Seminar was also the occasion for Prof. Secchi and Prof. Bodewig to present their latest report on “Enabling the uptake of the TEN-T project pipeline by the financial market”, before it was presented to the representatives of the Ministries of Transport at the TEN-T Committee on 16 December 2019.
ISPI-Mediterranean Dialogues - Forum on Infrastructure - Rome - 5 December 2019
Prof. Carlo Secchi participated to the Mediterranean Dialogues organised by ISPI (the Italian Institute for International Political Studies, based in Milano, where he is vice-president and head of its Centre on Infrastructure) held in Rome on 5 to 7 December 2019 in cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, gathering representatives from governments, think-tanks and universities, civil society and the business sector from most countries of the so-called MENA (Middle East - North Africa) Region. This is the most important event in Italy on political, economic and cultural co-operation in the Mediterranean basin and in the MENA Region, and it involves almost one thousand participants in general and specialised sessions.
On 5 December, Prof. Secchi was the moderator of a forum on the role infrastructure: "Stay Connected: Infrastructure as a tool for economic integration in the Mediterranean", organised in two sessions. The first one dealt with infrastructure as an engine for a long-term economic growth in the MENA Region, while the second one focused on sustainability and climate change as a new driver for cooperation in the Mediterranean.
The forum was attended by some eighty participants, representing both the public and the private sector, and it was also the occasion to discuss about possible forms of cooperation with the European initiatives in the field of infrastructure and transport, including the TEN-T network and in particular the Motorways of the Sea.
Seminar on Financing Motorways of the Sea, Rome, 26 November 2019
Prof. Secchi co-chaired with European Coordinator for Motorways of the Sea Prof. Bodewig a seminar on how to finance the maritime sector. The event was hosted by the Italian Ministry of Transport and attracted more than 80 participants including MS representatives, industry stakeholders, financial institutions, port authorities and maritime associations. The seminar aimed at informing about the wide range of existing funding and financial instruments which are relevant for the maritime sector including CEF funding possibilities (calls, blending facility), EIB financing possibilities (loans, green shipping guarantee fund) and advisory support, new innovative and sustainable schemes (eco-incentive schemes, green bonds) and the proposal to extend the General Block Exemption Regulation to ports under the upcoming InvestEU. The event was also the opportunity for the two European Coordinators to present their latest report on “Enabling the uptake of the TEN-T project pipeline by the financial market”.
Politecnico di Milano, 21 November 2019
Prof. Secchi was invited by Prof. Fabio Pammolli to give a lecture at Politecnico di Milano within the master course on "Finance and Management of Infrastructure Investment". He focused on the current and future situation of TEN-T and CEF, including innovative financial instruments and themes related to the report that he produced with European Coordinator Prof. Bodewig on “Enabling the uptake of the TEN-T project pipeline by the financial market”.
Corridor Forum Meeting and meeting with HAROPA, Brussels, 19&20 November 2019
On 19 November, Prof. Secchi held his 14th meeting of the Atlantic Corridor Forum. The discussions focused on the Corridor Studies and in particular the list of projects to realise the Corridor by end 2030, the needs and issues identified by the Atlantic Rail Freight Corridor, the planning of activities for the coming semester and news from the European Commission. The next meeting will take place on 23 June 2020 also in Brussels while the Atlantic session at the TEN-T Days in Croatia in May 2020 will focus on the 4th Corridor Work Plan.
On 20 November, Prof. Secchi met, together with his colleague Coordinator for the North Sea Mediterranean Corridor Mr Balazs, with representatives of HAROPA (the ports of Le Havre, Rouen ad Paris) about the preparation of their administrative regrouping and the related strategy developments.
Business and Experts Forum of the Central European Initiative (CEI) Member States, Milano, 15 November 2019
Prof. Carlo Secchi participated to this high-level Conference organised by the Italian Government (which holds in 2019 the Presidency of the Central European Initiative) and opened by Mrs. Paola De Micheli, Minister of Infrastructures and Transport. The CEI was established in 1989 and now includes 18 members, of which ten are EU Member States, five are Western Balkans States under pre-accession to the EU and three are part of the European neighbourhood policy.
The general theme was "Infrastructural and multimodal connectivity as factor of development and integration". Prof. Secchi was the moderator of the first panel on "A macro-regional policy for the development of the European Corridors - Technological and sustainable solutions in the CEI Area", where the main focus was on how to extend the TEN-T network and Corridors and Motorways of the Sea to neighbouring states (in particular Western Balkans, following the Western Balkans Transport Community signed in 2017, as well as Ukraine and Belarus). It was also the occasion for Prof. Secchi to give and update on the CEF2 Regulation and on the expected revision of the TEN-T Regulation. The other panels focused on multimodal connections to increase East-West trade, on the available financial instruments (EIB, EBRD and private banks) and on an exchange of experiences by private sector representatives.
Meeting of the Atlantic Working Group on Urban Nodes, 17 October 2019, Lisbon
The meeting gathered representatives of the seven urban nodes of the Atlantic Corridor i.e. Paris, Bordeaux, Mannheim, Porto, Lisbon, Madrid and Bilbao. It was opened by Mr Miguel Gaspar, Councillor for Mobility of the city of Lisboa and hosted at the headquarters of Area Metropolitana de Lisboa by its First Secretary, Mr Carlos Humberto.
The objective of the meeting was to share the status of the ongoing and planned projects to optimise transport from, to and through the urban nodes, as well as to exchange best practices. Presentations took the form of case studies as follows: for Paris, the Grand Paris Express project; for Bordeaux, the C-ITS projects; for Mannheim, the overall mobility challenges; for Porto, the overall mobility challenges; for Lisbon, the multimodal mobility & ticketing platform MOBIL.T; for Madrid, the high speed rail connection between Atocha and Chamartín and to the airport; for Bilbao, the overall mobility challenges.
Next to the presentations, Mrs Carvalho from TIS explained the role of urban nodes in the TEN-T Corridors, Prof. Secchi gave an overview of the state of realisation of the Atlantic Corridor and the remaining challenges up until 2030 and Mrs Maës presented the new CEF call open from 16 October until 26 February 2020 as well as the upcoming blending facility.
The meeting revealed very valuable to identify the remaining priorities for the urban nodes of the Atlantic Corridor in view of its upcoming 4th Work Plan for 2020-2021.
Working Group meetings about France-Spain rail connections – Madrid 22 May and Paris 25 September 2019
In follow-up of the meeting and an agreement between Commissioner Bulc and the Transport Ministers of France, Spain and Portugal in April 2018, a Working Group was set up by France and Spain to develop a calendar of interventions on the France-Spain cross-border rail connections. In particular, the Bordeaux-Vitoria line on the Atlantic Corridor and the Montpellier-Barcelona line on the Mediterranean Corridor. This work aims to increase the capacity of the lines for freight transport, in order to address the growing freight transport flows to and from the Iberian Peninsula, in the context of France having postponed the construction of new high speed lines.
Prof. Secchi participated to all meetings held so far, including the last two in May in Madrid and in September in Paris. He recapped, for the Atlantic cross-border connection between Vitoria and Bordeaux, the four points that remain open from his perspective i.e. (i) his request to first install counterflow installations between Morcenx and Bordeaux, to have the whole line banalised, so that works can be carried out without having to close it and interrupt or constrain freight traffic, (ii) his request that the tunnels are enlarged in such a way that 4m trailers can be transported, as part of the rolling motorway project, (iii) the need to finalise and implement the new lay-out of the station of Hendaye (and Irún) and (iv) the need to have political and financial commitment behind the plans.
Spain gave a status update of the Y Basque and France gave an overview of the incurred and planned investments on the conventional line between the Bordeaux and the border. Discussions took place regarding the timings of the Y Basque, the impacts for freight traffic of works with closures of the line, the possibilities of enlarging the tunnels and operational issues such as the homologation of rolling stock or the management of sidings.
Prof. Secchi concluded the Atlantic part of the meeting by underlining his wish to have by the end of the year a clear situation of the planning for both countries, which he will use for his 4th Work Plan, putting forward his remaining expectations to have a smooth cross-border connection in place by the time the Y Basque starts operating.
Bilbao, 10 September 2019, Workshop of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) for the Atlantic Arc about the revision of the TEN-T Regulation
Prof. Secchi was invited to speak at the workshop and to take note of the views of the Regions and other actors alongside the Atlantic coast. The workshop included a series of presentations from representatives of the Basque, Pays de la Loire, Nouvelle Aquitaine, Bretagne, Alentejo, Cantabria, Galicia and Navarra Regions, representatives of the ports of Bilbao, Nantes-St-Nazaire, Galway, La Rochelle and Santander, MEP Izaskun Bilbao, the Atlantic Rail Freight Corridor and the Basque rail infrastructure manager Euskotren. Prof. Secchi carefully listened to the wishes and expectations of the different stakeholders and provided perspective on the context and objectives of the review. He explained that, after the public consultation which was run over May-July and is currently being analysed, an evaluation study was launched in June and will be completed in spring 2020. Targeted consultations will also take place as of mid-Oct until May 2020 and the results of all those elements will be presented at the TEN-T days in Croatia in May 2020. An Impact Assessment will then be launched, leading - most probably - to a revision of the Regulation which the Commission will draft and propose to the Council and the European Parliament. Prof. Secchi expects that the Commission will be ready to do so in in 2022.
Brussels, 2 September 2019, Exchange of views with the new TRAN Committee
Prof. Secchi participated to an exchange of views with the new TRAN Committee, together with MOVE Director Herald Ruijters and European Coordinators Peter Balazs and Mathieu Grosch. The exchange aimed at providing the members of the new TRAN Committee with clear and up-to-date information about the state of play of the TEN-T policy and the way of working of the European Coordinators, as well as at answering their questions and taking their suggestions.
In his intervention, Prof. Secchi first talked about the Atlantic Corridor, highlighting that some cross-border sections still need to be built or relieved from congestion, which he illustrated with the examples of the rail cross-border connections between Spain and France on the line Vitoria-Bordeaux and between Portugal and Spain on the line Lisbon-Madrid. He explained their respective challenges and how he is involved to help address them. He then pointed out at some other files on the Atlantic Corridor, such as the interoperability of the cross-border rail connections of Spain and Portugal and the gradual upgrade of their railways to the standard UIC gauge, the connection of long-distance transport with local and regional needs and the development of alternative fuels on motorways and at ports. Finally, he elaborated on the work he conducts with his colleague European Coordinator Kurt Bodewig about how to attract innovative and private financing to the TEN-T projects and summarised the key recommendations from their third Paper which is soon to be published.
Around 15 MEPs asked questions after Mr Ruijters and the Coordinators’ interventions. Prof. Secchi actively participated to answering them and to the debate and further exchanges which then arouse. Of particular relevance for the Atlantic Corridor was the intervention of MEP Izaskun Bilbao Barandica who expressed concerns about the rail cross-border connection between Spain and France and discussed ways for the EP to help ensure that Member States implement their respective parts of the TEN-T and for private financing to be mobilised in the absence of certainty with regards to Member States’ infrastructure investment planning.
Guarda, Portugal, 26 July 2019
Prof. Secchi participated to the celebration of the signature of the works contract for the Guarda-Cerdeira section and the launch of the procurement for the Pampilhosa-Santa Comba Dao section of the Beira Alta rail line, connecting Aveiro and Leixões to the border with Spain and further to Salamanca and the rest of Europe.
He was invited by Portuguese Minister of Transport Pedro Nuno Santos and Secretary of State for Transport Infrastructure Jorge Delgado. António Laranjo, President of Infraestruturas de Portugal, as well as other top officials were also present.
The rehabilitation of the line has been granted a co-financing of €375,9 million from the Connecting Europe Facility. It is part of the pre-identified projects of the Atlantic Corridor in the CEF Regulation and aims to achieve an interoperable connection between Aveiro and Vilar Formoso at the border with Spain. When completed, the rehabilitation will allow the movement of longer (up to 750 metres) and heavier trains, at an increased average reference speed of 100km/h. Moreover, the line will be prepared for the installation of the UIC gauge in synchrony with Spain and its overhead contact line will be adapted to ensure ITE (Information Technology Equipment) compliance. This will increase the competitiveness of the ports of Aveiro and Leixões and decrease the travel time for passengers by more than half an hour.
Rome, 16 July 2019, Annual Meeting of the Assarmatori association
Assarmatori is one of the two large Italian ship-owners' associations. Prof. Secchi was invited to speak at their Annual Meeting, which gathered around 400 participants. The meeting was opened by Assarmatori's Chairman Mr Messina and had amongst others an intervention from former Prime Minister Enrico Letta. It was concluded by Minister of Transport Toninelli, who stressed that, according to him, the Mediterranean is not so well covered by the European maritime and MoS policies and promised more attention to Italian specific needs both at national and European levels. He said as well to be very much in favour of promoting multi-modality and digitalisation and a general upgrade of technical standards in ports, including the need to improve last mile connections, better links to logistic platforms and to the rail network and in particular to the TEN-T Corridors. In his intervention, Prof. Secchi stressed the need to be more pro-active in preparing good projects for CEF and other financial instruments including EIB and InvestEU. He pointed at the example of the Juncker Plan supporting the grouped renewal of regional rail rolling stock as a potential route for the needed renewal of the Italian fleet of small ferries. Last, he pointed out at the Commission's initiatives for supporting the deployment of alternative fuels, such as the blending facility.
Portugal, 11 & 12 July 2019 – Meeting with Secretary of State for Infrastructure – Visit of the Port of Sines – Conference Feira Do Mar in Sines
On 11 July, Prof. Secchi met with SoS for Infrastructure Mr Jorge Delgado as well as his Head of Cabinet Mrs Isabel Pires, the Managing Director of IP Mr Carlos Fernandes and the representative of IMT Mr Hélder Cristovao. The discussion first focused on the revision of the TEN-T Regulation, identifying the points which Portugal will bring forward, such as the upgrade of the Minho line from comprehensive to core. The discussion then moved to the Infrastructure investment plan which will replace Ferrovia 2020 and is under discussion at the Portuguese Parliament. Feedback from the Parliament is expected before the national elections of 6 October. The discussion then went to the status of the CEF co-funded projects in Portugal and other projects of Ferrovia 2020. Prof. Secchi will go back to Portugal on 26 July for the start of the works contract for the section Guarda-Cerdeira of the Beira Alta line.
On the same day, Prof. Secchi visited the Port of Sines and its five terminals. The visit started with the impressive LNG terminal where its Director explained the history of its birth and its current activities. The plant is used to supply LNG by ship or truck to various locations in Portugal where it is used for different purposes. Prof. Secchi explained the strategy of the EU with regards to alternative fuels and encouraged the development of LNG as a transport fuel, pointing out at the fact that CEF can co-fund such a development. Prof. Secchi then visited the other terminals and finally the IT rooms linked to the ports single windows, which is already in use since a few years at Sines, working hand in and with the Port of Leixoes. There is now a project to include the ports single windows in the larger logistics single window called “JUL” which was tested in Madeira Island earlier this year, will be tested in Sines in September and in Leixoes in November, and will be rolled out to all Portuguese ports in March 2020. That project fully complies with the EU Regulation for ports single windows.
On 12 July, Prof. Secchi spoke at the “Feira Do Mar” Conference focused on the Port of Sines, looking at its history, present time and future opportunities. Sines is a 100% artificial port, gained on the sea. It is the only deep water port in Portugal and its rocky bottoms allow not needing to dredge it regularly. These represent considerable competitive advantages. From a historical point of view, Sines is the home town of explorer Vasco De Gama, who established a trading route between Portugal and India for the trade of spices and other products. Prof. Secchi was part of the panel discussing the present time of Sines. He explained the place of the Port in the ATL TEN-T Corridor and the projects which have been co-financed so far by TEN-T/CEF, as well as some ideas of how the Port could further develop, including in LNG as a transport fuel.
XXXI Villa Mondagrone International Economic Seminar, Rome, 25 June & ‘Capital for Italian infrastructure’ event, Milano, 24 June
Prof. Secchi was a speaker in the Villa Mondragrone Economic Seminar, on the first day dedicated to ‘Capitalism, global change and sustainable development’. This was the occasion for him to present the trends in the TEN-T policy, the related work on infrastructure financing and the review of the TEN-T Guidelines. The Seminar was also the occasion for informal talks and exchange of views with Minister of Economy Giovanni Tria and his adviser Prof. Lucio Scandizzo, with EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco and with top managers from Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, related to the financing challenges and the MFF for 2021-2027 including the CEF2 budget, which still needs to be adopted.
On the evening before in Milano, Prof. Secchi took part in the event ‘Capital for Italian infrastructure’ organised by the Adam Smith Society and the assets management company Arca sgr. The event was well attended with around 100 representatives of the financial community. Here as well Prof. Secchi talked about the trends in the TEN-T policy and the review of the TEN-T Guidelines and the related work on infrastructure financing that he is conducting with Prof. Bodewig.
Atlantic Corridor Forum meeting, Brussels, 18 June 2019
Prof. Secchi welcomed close to 50 participants to the meeting of the Atlantic Corridor Forum. The following topics were discussed:
- Update on the Corridor studies; With the next “Project Implementation Report” in October, based on the final project list to be ready in September, the Corridor’s consultants will identify which projects most need intervention/attention from the Coordinator.
- Presentation from JASPERS about their support to projects and to proposals, in the context of their mandates with DG MOVE and DG REGIO in view of CEF or ERDF (European Regional Development Fund)/CF’s (Cohesion Fund) co-funding.
- Presentation from Spain and France about the rolling motorway project Vitoria-Lille. The results of the Barcelona-Bettembourg rolling motorway open since February on the Mediterranean Corridor evidence the potential. The first call for expression of interest, for the rolling stock, showed that manufacturers are able and willing to adapt. The second call for expression of interest, for services, is being analysed and will be presented at the next Corridor Forum meeting in November.
- Presentation from the Advisor and consultants of the Coordinator for Motorways of the Sea, showing how to best interact with the Corridor and synergise with the Corridor studies.
- Presentation from the Atlantic Rail Freight Corridor about the on-going studies, including the measurement of tunnel gauges, the paths allocations, the ERTMS projects, the temporary capacity restrictions and the international contingency management plan which will be tested in September.
- Presentations about CEF: INEA gave an overview of the results of the 2018 call for the Atlantic Corridor. B.2 gave a presentation about the blending facility which should be opened as of September and another presentation about advisory services including the EIAH and ELENA. An update about the blending facility will be given in the next Corridor Forum meeting in November.
- Updates and planning regarding Coordinator’s activities and Working Groups’ meetings and update regarding the expected Corridor’s extensions as of 2021.
In his concluding remarks, Prof. Secchi called on all Atlantic stakeholders to participate to the consultation about the review of the TEN-T Regulation, which is open until 17 July.
Berlin, Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure and Deutsche Bahn Head Office, 29 May 2019
Prof. Secchi participated to the yearly meeting between the German Ministerial level and the TEN-T Coordinators for the Atlantic, Orient East Med, Scan Med, Rhine-Alpine, Rhine Danube and North sea Baltic Corridors, as well as ERTMS. Together with his colleagues Coordinators, he met the Federal State Secretary Beermann, the State Secretary Güntner and the Parliamentary State Secretary Bilger. The meeting allowed for exchanges of information on Corridors’ essential issues and overriding policies. German and EU priorities were discussed including existing bottlenecks. Prof. Secchi also presented the developments related to CEF II and the revision of the TEN-T Regulation.
Prof. Secchi also participated to the yearly meeting between DB’s top management (Dr Richard Lutz and his management team) and the TEN-T Coordinators for the Atlantic, Orient East Med, Scan Med, Rhine-Alpine, Rhine Danube and North sea Baltic Corridors, as well as ERTMS. The thematic of the meeting was for DB to inform the Coordinators about its policy and plan “Digital Rail Germany”. The underlining principle is that the environmental challenges, the needs for increased railway capacity and for a more performing rail system can be addressed by digitalisation. Interconnecting into one digital system the TEN-T network and urban nodes would also be most beneficial. However, the modernisation of the railway infrastructure and rolling stock is raising important financial issues. Harmonised radio frequencies are also needed. It was agreed that follow-up discussions will take place.
April 2019: ISPI publication on Infrastructure For Growth
In his quality of Vice President of ISPI, the Institute for International Political Studies, Prof. Secchi contributed to the recent ISPI publication "Infrastructure for Growth: How to Finance, Develop and Protect It", with an article about the future of TEN-T in Europe and beyond. In that article, Prof. Secchi reflects on the financing of transport infrastructure projects (see for more details the below summary of his activities at the Informal Transport Council in Bucharest on 27 March) and elaborates amongst others on CEF2, InvestEU, the Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth and the cooperation with China (see pages 16 to 21). Prof. Secchi has also been a mentor of the Commission's study about the impact of completing the core TEN-T, about which the consultants who conducted the study provided a summary in the publication (see pages 7-15). The study demonstrates that implementing the core TEN-T by 2030 will increase the EU GDP with 1.6% and generate an additional close to 800.000 full-time equivalent jobs. It also establishes that for every euro invested on the core TEN-T, there is an average impact of €3.3 of additional GDP (Full study).
Joint seminar of the MoS, NSM and ATL Coordinators on “Ireland’s European Connectivity”, Dublin, 16-17 April 2019
On 16-17 April 2019, the European Coordinators for Motorways of the Sea, the North-Sea Mediterranean and the Atlantic Corridor invited to a joint seminar on “Ireland’s European Connectivity – ports and maritime links in the Atlantic sea basin”. In the context of a possible Brexit, the connectivity of Ireland to continental Europe is very much challenged. This seminar aimed at looking at the current and future transport flows in the Atlantic sea basin, the current state of preparations and logistic solutions by the maritime sector as well as ways for a reinforced cooperation of all Atlantic stakeholders. Please find further details in the press release.
Forum per il dialogo tra l’Italia e la Svizzera, Genova, 12-13 April 2019
Like in previous editions, Prof. Secchi participated to the biannual meeting of the Forum for the dialogue between Italy and Switzerland, in his quality of European Coordinator for the TEN-T, as well as Vice-President of ISPI, the Institute for international political studies. He spoke in the cluster for Transport and Infrastructure dedicated in particular to the new rail line through the Gothard. This axis is on the Rhine-Alpine Corridor and there remains a few kilometers of tunnels to be built. That upcoming rail connection is of key importance to connect the industries of the Po Valley and the Port of Genova with Central Europe. Prof. Secchi talked about the TEN-T policy and the CEF funding instrument and the new developments in terms of financial support, such as InvestEU and the CEF blending facility.
Luxemburg, 9 and 10 April 2019
Prof. Secchi participated to the seminar of the European Coordinators, organised in Luxemburg with meetings with the European Court of Auditors and the European Investment Bank. This was the occasion to exchange updates with and between the European Coordinators and for Prof. Secchi to present the latest work he conducted with Prof. Bodewig about how to attract more financing to the TEN-T transport projects. Prof. Secchi also had a meeting with the CoA regarding the Vitoria-Dax high speed line project, which is the subject of an audit along with six other large TEN-T projects. Regarding the work on financing, there was a good exchange of views and information with the EIB, who expressed appreciation for the recommendations made by Prof. Secchi and Prof. Bodewig.
Cross Corridor Working Group on Regions and Urban Nodes, Milano, 1 April 2019
Prof. Secchi took part on April 1, 2019, to the Cross Corridor Working Group on Regions and Urban Nodes organised in Milano by the Mediterranean CNC (with Coordinator Iveta Radicova a co-chair) and by the Rhine-Alpine CNC (with Coordinator Pawel Wojciechowski as the other co-chair). He gave a speech on "Financing projects in urban areas" which covered also the latest developments, such as an update on the TEN-T and CEF Conference in Bucharest (28 March 20129), the launch of the "blending facility" and the current state of CEF-II. The participants had also the opportunity to visit the railway station (support by CEF) and the "cargo city" at Malpensa Airport.
Informal Transport Council and TEN-T & CEF Conference, Bucharest, 27&28 March 2019
Prof. Secchi attended the Informal Transport Council on 27 March in Bucharest and took the floor to address the Ministers and the Secretaries of States about the new Discussion Paper on “Enabling the uptake of TEN-T projects by the financial market”, which he drafted with his colleague European Coordinator Prof. Kurt Bodewig. The Discussion Paper first defines the criteria which a project should consider to be bankable for the financial market. It then puts forward additional recommendations to increase project quality, cut the red tape, widen the sources of financial support and create a more investor-friendly environment. The first comments from the Member States were positive and the Paper is now available online for further input.
Prof. Secchi also participated to the TEN-T & CEF Conference on 28 March as a panel speaker in the session dedicated to Financing, moderated by DG MOVE’s Deputy Director-General Maja Bakran. The other panellists included amongst others European Coordinator Matthias Ruete, Deputy Director-General Matthew Baldwin and EIB Director Gavin Dunnett. Prof. Secchi also presented the new Discussion Paper on “Enabling the uptake of TEN-T projects by the financial market”.
Portugal, 6 & 7 March 2019, meeting of the Atlantic Working Group on Ports
Prof. Secchi organised a meeting of the Atlantic Working Group on Ports with the support of the Ministry of the Sea of Portugal as well as the Port authorities of Lisboa and APDL (Ports of Douro, Leixões e Viana do Castelo). The meeting was attended by around 50 participants consisting of representatives of the Portuguese, Spanish and French Ministries, of some of the Regions along the Corridor and of 14 Ports including A Coruña, Algeciras, Bilbao, Bordeaux, Gijon, Huelva, Le Havre, Leixoes, Lisboa, Nantes Saint Nazaire, Paris, Porto, Rouen and Sines.
On 6 March, the meeting started on the premises of the Port of Lisboa with a welcome speech from President Lidia Sequeira. Prof. Secchi also gave words of welcome covering the status of the discussions regarding the extension of the Atlantic Corridor in the context of the CEF2 Regulation, the status of the CEF1 budget and calls, the main conclusions of his third Work plan with regards to Ports and an announcement of the upcoming seminar on the connectivity of Irish ports to take place in Dublin on 16&17 April. This was followed by a session about Digitalisation of Ports with presentations from the Port of Sines (José Dias), and about the French, Portuguese and Spanish Ports Single Windows (Anna Schulh, Antonio Urbano, Jaime Luezas). There was then a session about Governance and Strategy with presentations about the Portuguese ports system (Lidia Sequeira), HAROPA (Cédric Virciglio) and the Portuguese LNG roadmap (Duarte Lynce de Faria) and finally a session about Climate Change with presentations from the Port of Bordeaux (Michel Le Van Kiem) and the University of Valencia, GALP Energia and about the CEF project CoreLNGasHIVE. The discussions were followed by a visit to the Maritime Traffic Control Centre of the Port of Lisboa and a transfer to Porto for a visit of the Porto Cruise Terminal.
On 7 March, the day started with a visit of the Maritime Traffic Control Centre of the Port of Leixões, followed by a transfer to Regua for a session about Financing with presentations about the Spanish Fund for Port Accessibility and about the Med Atlantic Ecobonus project (Antonio Gongora). It was followed by a presentation from APDL covering the developments and projects for especially the Port of Leixões and the Douro River. The day ended with a trip on an electric boat on the Douro River to view the needs with regards to, for example, the correction of the geometry to increase the navigability of the River.
The meeting was a very good opportunity to exchange learnings amongst the participants. It is not possible to highlight them all, but we can list amongst others the tool developed under the CoreLNGasHIVE CEF project to model the necessary LNG infrastructure at different ports based on demand forecasts and the outcome of the Med Atlantic Ecobonus project which demonstrated that incentives to truck companies/drivers to use a ro-ro or ferry maritime service instead of road for a given route encourages ship-owners to invest in cleaner alternative fuels and the truck companies/drivers to shift from road to maritime. It also allows computing the optimal amount of the incentive.
This rich exchange was made possible by all speakers as well as the organisers and hosts from the Portuguese Ministry, Mobility Institute and Port authorities and TIS.pt Consultores.
Paris, 24 January 2019, meeting with Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne and CEO of SNCF Réseau Patrick Jeantet
Prof. Secchi participated, together with European Coordinators Peter Balazs, Iveta Radicova and Matthias Ruete, to two important meetings in Paris:
They first met with Patrick Jeantet, CEO of SNCF Réseau and members of his staff, for a discussion about the rail-related issues and opportunities of their Corridors in France. The meeting gave Prof. Secchi the occasion to exchange views and information about the future rolling motorway between Vitoria and Lille and about the upgrade of the conventional line between Bordeaux and Hendaye. Prof. Secchi also discussed about the deployment of ERTMS on the Atlantic Corridor and the future upgrade of the line between Valenton and Massy, with an extension to the airport of Orly, as part of the wider plans to bypass and decongest Paris.
They then met with Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne regarding the project of the Loi d’Orientation des Mobilités. For the Atlantic Corridor, Minister Borne agreed to the need to upgrade the conventional line Bordeaux-Hendaye before the Y Basque starts operating beginning of 2024. The Minister and Prof. Secchi shared the view that all necessary efforts must be made to shift freight transport from road to rail in the South-West cross-border region between Bordeaux and Vitoria, which currently suffers from congestion, safety issues and emissions from road transport. This is also the context into which the project of the rolling motorway Vitoria-Lille can be set.
Brussels, 18-19 December 2018, Seminar of the European Coordinators
Prof. Secchi participated to the seminar of the 11 European TEN-T Coordinators. This seminar was the occasion to say goodbye to the previous Coordinators Brian Simpson, Laurens-Jan Brinkhorst and Karel Vinck and to welcome the new Coordinators Iveta Radicova (Mediterranean Corridor), Anne Jensen (Baltic-Adriatic Corridor) and Matthias Ruete (ERTMS). Prof. Secchi presented the results of the Commission’s study on the impact of the core TEN-T network on jobs, growth and CO2 emissions reductions. The geographical scope of the study is thus limited to the core network. Also, it does not take into account the positive impacts of other EU policies. In any case, those impacts would not happen if the core network was not realised. Despite these scope limitations, the results are impressive: the implementation of the core network by end 2030 will create over 2017-2030 an additional 7.5 million person-years of jobs, generate an additional €1826bn of GDP and save 26 million tons of CO2. In 2030, compared to the hypothetical situation of the core network staying in the same state as in 2017, there will be an additional 800.000 jobs and an increase of 1.6% pts of the EU GDP. Results of course differ from one Corridor to the other and from one country to the other. As a next step, the impact of some specific projects will be looked at. The seminar was also to occasion to discuss the status of the CEF2 negotiations at Council and EP, to review the situation with regards to ERTMS deployment and future plans and to explore the impact of financial support to dual military-civilian transport infrastructure on the TEN-T network as of 2021, amongst other topics.
Brussels, 12 December 2018, electric motorway Milano-Brescia
Prof. Secchi participated to the workshop organised by Francesco Bettoni, Chairman of Brebemi S.p.A, to present and discuss the project of an electric motorway between Milano and Brescia. The technology to be used, a catenary feeding electricity to trucks carrying a pantograph, has already been tested in Sweden and Germany. It offers good potential for decarbonising freight transport in the Region of Lombardy, which is one of the most industrialised in Europe and which suffers in certain parts from heavy air pollution. The workshop included presentations from a wide range of speakers, including the companies involved in the technology in question. The project benefits from wide support from local, regional and national authorities and is based on fruitful transnational cooperation and exchange of knowledge. The intervention of Prof. Secchi focused on the EU transport policy where decarbonisation is indeed central. He explained the latest developments regarding CEF2, the review of the TEN-T Regulation, InvestEU, the Smart TEN-T Regulation proposal etc. He was complemented by two speakers of the European Commission, Antongiulio Marin, Deputy Head of the Unit dealing with CEF at DG MOVE and Axel Volkery from the Unit dealing with alternative fuels at DG MOVE.
Brussels, 19-20 November 2018
On 19 November, Prof. Secchi and his colleague Coordinator Prof. Bodewig organised a roundtable with around 30 representatives of the investment sector, including the EIB national promotional banks, commercial banks, pension funds, large operators and private investors. The objective of the discussions was to gather their feedback and additional ideas regarding the recommendations made by the two Coordinators in their Progress Report of January 2018 on their "Action Plan for making the best use of new financial schemes for European Transport infrastructure projects". The outcome of the discussions as well as of dedicated meetings with specific services of the European Commission will lead to the publication of an addendum to the Progress Report before Spring 2019.
Meeting of the Atlantic Corridor Forum
On 20 November, Prof. Secchi chaired a meeting of the Atlantic Corridor stakeholders referred to as "Forum", with around 40 participants. The discussions focused on the new round of corridor studies, updates from the Atlantic Rail Freight Corridor and from the Rail Units of DG MOVE, update on the works of Spain and Portugal on rail interoperability and their cross-border rail connections and update of the relevant initiatives of the European Commission and of the Coordinator's activities. The last part, restricted to the representatives of the four ministries (France, Spain, Portugal and Germany) allowed to exchange views on especially the upcoming French "Loi d'orientation des mobilités" and the ongoing special working group, agreed upon by Commissioner Bulc and the two Ministers concerned, on the French-Spanish cross-border rail connections on both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Corridors.
Badajoz, Spain, 13-14 November 2018
Visit to the multimodal logistics platform
Prof. Secchi visited the intermodal logistics platform of Badajoz, which is under development, together with Regional Minister Begona Garcia Bernal. The infrastructure is already in place in terms of the roads, lighting and energy supply. One of the parcels is already rented and other potential customers have expressed interest. The platform will offer direct access to road and rail. It is ideally located for freight traffic from and to Madrid as well as from and to Sines, Setubal and Lisboa and can therefore be seen as a common infrastructure of both Spain and Portugal. The development of the platform is co-funded by CEF.
Meeting of the Atlantic Working Group on Regions
The meeting focused on three of the rail cross-border connections of the ATL Corridor, single windows and cross-border rail agreements. It was the occasion to review the status of the Evora-Merida connection for which the European Commission issued an Implementing Decision in April, of the Vilar Formoso-Fuentes de Onoro connection for which Portugal is insisting to also have a link from and to the port of Aveiro via the upgrade of the Aveiro-Mangualde line and of the Irun-Hendaye connection which is under challenge as a result of the decision of France to postpone the construction of the new high speed line from Bordeaux to the border. Serious efforts need to be made to upgrade the existing conventional line before the end of 2023 so as to increase capacity for freight traffic from and to the Iberian Peninsula. Regarding single windows, the one of Portugal is in pilot phase and will go live as of February 2020 while the one of Spain is under development. Last, the Atlantic RFC presented its work on cross-border agreements: they are preparing a template which can be adapted to all rail cross-borders, accompanied by a manual of instructions for the Railway Undertakings.
Conference on logistics organised by the Region of Extremadura
The conference gathered 250 participants, of whom Portuguese Secretary of State Mr d'Oliveira Martins. Professor Secchi gave a keynote speech on the importance of multimodal logistics platforms for the Atlantic Corridor. He also presented a general overview of the ongoing legislative process concerning the new MFF and the CEF2 Regulation, including Invest EU and the potential role of financial instruments developed at DG MOVE. Finally, he talked about the steps to be taken for the future revision of the TEN-T Regulation.
Elvas, Portugal, 13 November 2018
Prof. Secchi visited the works taking place in Elvas and between Elvas and the border with Spain, together with representatives of IP. He expressed appreciation for the good progress of the works at the station as well as on the line where the tracks are being renewed, level crossings are being replaced by road bridges and rail bridges are being consolidated. The new section which will circumvent Elvas is being procured and works will start in a few months.
Port of Huelva workshop, Huelva, 23 October 2018
The workshop was a sharing and learning event involving several ports, hosted by Mr José-Luis Ramos, President of the port authority of Huelva. Prof. Secchi spoke about the proposal of the European Commission to extend the Atlantic Corridor to several core ports, including Huelva, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas. He also explained his activities as Coordinator of the Corridor and his priorities, for the Corridor and more specifically for its part in Spain. Last, he gave an update of the different relevant proposals of the European Commission, including the CEF budget for 2021-2027. The workshop was the occasion to get to know the characteristics and projects of the ports of Huelva, Tenerife and Las Palmas, to hear about the status and learnings from CEF projects Core LNGas HIVE, ECO-GATE and Port of Huelva Intermodal Platform, and to learn the perspective of ADIF and RENFE regarding that Platform. Representatives of the Ligurian port authority and of the Port of Koper were also there to share learnings from their projects. The workshop concluded by a visit of the Port. Prof. Secchi also participated on 24 October morning to a visit of the dry port of Majarabique where goods are transhipped between trains and trucks.
Via Atlantica workshop, Brussels, 16 October 2018
Prof. Secchi spoke in the workshop organised at the EP by the Altro association to promote the idea of a Via Atlantica crossing France by rail between Lyon and Poitiers and extending north up to Brest and south down to Santander. Other speakers included MEPs Ayala Sender, Bresso, Gloanec-Maurin and Riquet and representatives from the regions of Piedmont and Castilla León, the ports of Bilbao and Brest, the Transalpine association, the city of Angoulême, Mr Sopinski in the name of European Coordinator Iveta Radicova and Jean-Louis Colson, Head of the TEN-T Unit at DG MOVE. The discussions evidenced that there is a broad consensus that an east-west connection though France is missing on the core TEN-T/Corridors, but that several itineraries could be envisaged. Discussions are to be continued both at national level and in the context of the revision of the TEN-T Regulation in 2022, for which a study and a consultation are already underway.
Aspen Seminar, Venice, 13-14 October 2018
On 13 and 14 October, Professor Secchi participated to the Aspen Seminar for Leaders in Venice, in particular to the workshop "From transport to logistics: infrastructures are getting smart". About 40-50 infrastructure managers, project promoters, operators and experts took part to it, including Mario Virano, DG of TELT, MEP Massimiliano Salini of the TRAN Committee and Paolo Costa, former chairman of the TRAN Committee. This was an occasion for Prof. Secchi to talk about the TEN-T policy, including the likely future of CEF and of EU Financial Instruments.
Seminar of the European Coordinators, 5 October 2018, Brussels
European Coordinators gathered in Brussels on 5 October 2018 to discuss topics of common concern, such as the further evolution of the TEN-T and the state of play of the Commission proposal on a Connecting Europe Facility 2. Horizontal priorities (ERTMS and Motorways of the Sea), cross-border cooperation, military mobility were also on the agenda. Coordinators welcomed Ms Jensen, Ms Radicova and Mr Ruete as new members of the team and expressed their gratitude to Mr Brinkhorst and Mr Simpson whose mandate as Coordinator ended on 15 September 2018.
Working Group meetings about France-Spain rail connections - Madrid 23 July and Paris 25 September 2018
In follow-up of a meeting between Commissioner Bulc and the Transport Ministers of France, Spain and Portugal in April, a Working Group was set up by France and Spain with the objective to develop a calendar of interventions on the France-Spain cross-border rail connections. In particular, the Bordeaux-Vitoria line on the Atlantic Corridor and the Montpellier-Barcelona line on the Mediterranean Corridor. This work, focused on the existing French lines Bordeaux to the border with Spain and Montpellier to Perpignan, but also looking at the totality of the lines, aims to increase their capacity especially for freight transport to address the growing demand for traffic to and from the Iberian Peninsula, bridging the gap with when the new French high speed lines will be built and operating.
Prof. Secchi participated to the first working group meeting in Madrid which established the basis of the cooperation, also in the presence of the Transport Ministry of Portugal. Prof. Secchi participated as well to the second working group meeting in Paris which looked at the current situation and plans at an operational level. This process already allowed identifying a number of concrete opportunities and will be pursued over the coming months. Prof. Secchi emphasised that both lines are part of the core TEN-T network which must be realised by 2030. Sufficient capacity and commercial speed, addressing both the technical, operational, administrative and financing barrier, are therefore key objectives to attain by then.
Brussels, 26 June 2018 – Workshop on LNG investments in ports
Prof. Secchi participated as speaker to the workshop organised by MEP Massimiliano Salini about LNG investments in ports linked to the CEF2 Regulation proposal.
In the introduction to the workshop, Giovanni Pugliese, Ambassador to COREPER I, Henna Virkkunnen, MEP ITRE and CEF2 Rapporteur, Marian Marinescu, MEP TRAN and CEF2 Rapporteur and Maria Spyraki, MEP ITRE, gave a few words of context. They underlined that Transport is the only sector in which the EU is still striving to lower its emissions, an effort which requires important financial resources.
Prof. Secchi gave a speech in the first session, which was moderated by Prof. Bodewig and dedicated to the future of TEN-T and CEF. He highlighted that the budget for CEF1 is almost entirely used, which is a good sign of the effectiveness of the instrument. He explained the structure of the budget for CEF2 and what is the nature of the military mobility envelope i.e. dual uses on the TEN-T, also beneficial to civilians. He explained that the TEN-T Regulation will be reviewed in 2022, which could lead to the upgrade of certain comprehensive elements to core. The first step was the revision of the Annex to the CEF2 Regulation in which certain core elements were added to the Corridors. He underlined that a strong CEF2 is absolutely necessary in light of the huge investment needs and the capacity of transport to generate jobs and growth and contribute to decarbonisation through a focus on rail, inland waterways and alternative fuels. He also referred to the important Streamlining Regulation, to the Cleaner Transport Facility and to InvestEU, under which he called for a higher share for transport infrastructure than was the case under EFSI.
Amongst the other speakers in the session was Vincente Salvador from the Perm Rep of Spain who talked about the CoreLNGHive project, how it influenced the Spanish LNG strategy and how it is now being taken further through the LNGHive2 proposals submitted under the second phase of the CEF blending call. This is an important part of the more general flagship project for LNG at ports supported by the Atlantic Corridor.
Lisbon, 29 May 2018
Prof. Secchi participated to the meeting of the AVEP (Alta Velocidad España Portugal) EEIG. AVEP was initially set up in 2001 to manage the development of high speed passenger rail. Its focus has shifted in the meantime and it received the mandate to address interoperability issues also for freight transport. This meeting on 29 May addressed in particular a proposal for a study about interoperability issues in the Iberian peninsula, technical coordination between the infrastructure managers and cross-border agreements. Regarding the study proposal, the objective is to achieve a consolidate view of the interoperability issues for freight. Some of them are already known, such as the closing of the line to Bordeaux during works. Prof. Secchi reminded of the more general context including the constitution of a working group Spain-Portugal-France regarding the cross-border connections between France and the Iberian Peninsula. The technical coordination discussion focused on the Vilar-Formoso-Fuentes de Oñoro, Elvas-Badajoz, Madrid-Plasencia and Madrid-Sevilla sections. It was agreed that the next meeting will focus on command and signalling systems. The discussion on cross-border agreements focused on the connections between France and the Iberian Peninsula. Prof. Secchi invited AVEP to get actively involved in the follow-up of the works of the Évora-Mérida cross-border connection and to participate to the meeting of the ATL Working Group on Regions which will take place in Badajoz in November with a focus on cross-border connections.
Ljubljana, 25-27 April 2018
Professor Secchi participated to the TEN-T Days in Ljubljana.
He met with a group of institutional and private investors to whom he gave his perspective on transport infrastructure investments, insisting on the fact that in most cases they are to be considered also as an important example of sustainable finance, which the participated agreed on and supported.
Together with Professor Bodewig, he met with representatives of the EIB to discuss the status and progress of innovative financing for transport infrastructure following the CBS Progress Report which he and Prof. Bodewig issued.
Prof. Secchi participated with the other European Coordinators to a meeting with Commissioner Oettinger about the MFF for the 2021-2027 period.
He was also a speaker in the plenary session dedicated to financing post-2020 where he gave the key messages and conclusions from the CBS Progress Report.
Prof. Secchi participated to an inter-Ministerial meeting between the Transport Ministers of France, Spain and Portugal together with Commissioner Bulc, about the cross-border connections between France and the Iberian Peninsula.
He also held a specific Atlantic Corridor session where the 3rd Work Plan for the Atlantic Corridor was presented, as well as the Implementing Decision for the cross-border rail connection Évora-Mérida which was adopted by the Commission on 25 April and a status update of the CEF support to-date to projects on the Corridor. There was also a panel discussion with Mr Jacques Coutou, Director Atlantic Rail Freight Corridor EEIG, who highlighted the opportunities in rail; Mr Luc Federman, Deputy Director General Transports, infrastructures, mobility and living environment, Region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, who talked about Irun-Hendaye cross-border connection and ideas for a better connection between Bordeaux and the Spanish border; Mrs Daniela Carvalho, Senior Transport Consultant, TIS, who talked about LNG deployment at ports; and Mr Manuel Besteiro, Technical Support Manager International Directorate, ADIF, who talked about rail interoperability between Spain and Portugal.
Prof. Secchi met with representatives of the Port of Huelva to listen about their investment plans and development ideas.
He also met with representatives of the Region of Nouvelle Aquitaine about the cross-border connection between Bordeaux and San Sebastian.
Last, Prof. Secchi was interviewed by Portuguese and French media.
Italy, Po River, 23 March 2018
Prof. Secchi took part, on behalf of DG MOVE and of European Coordinator for the Mediterranean Corridor Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, to the inauguration of the navigation Lock on the Po River next to Isola Serafini in Monticelli d'Ongina, near Piacenza. This important work, the largest in size in Italy, will allow navigation on the Po River from the Adriatic Sea until Piacenza and beyond (until Pavia and then to Lake Maggiore).
The work is part of the INIWAS (Improvement of the Northern Italy Waterway System) project, which is included in the Mediterranean Corridor. The total cost is over € 46 million, and the project received a CEF grant of € 9.3 million.
The event was also attended by Julian Espina of INEA and by Cesare Bernabei, consultant to DG REGIO. It was organised by AIPO (the Interregional Agency for the Po River, also responsible for the execution of the project) with the participation of representatives of the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and of Regional (Emilia Romagna and Lombardy) and local Authorities. It was attended by many media operators and by a large number of stakeholders and citizens.
In his intervention, Prof. Secchi spoke about the forthcoming TEN-T Days in Ljubljana, the developments in financial instruments to support transport infrastructure investments, as well as the developments in TEN-T policy, including the preparation of the next MFF and of CEF2.
Brussels, 26 February 2018
Prof. Secchi had, together with the other European Coordinators, his annual hearing at the European Parliament, TRAN Committee. Prof. Secchi first presented, together with his colleague Coordinator Prof. Kurt Bodewig, their Progress Report on the use of innovative financing for transport infrastructure. The report contains valuable recommendations which will help achieve the objective of realising the core Trans-European Transport Network by end 2030 despite the very high budgetary needs (about €500 billion over 2021-2030). The report was very well received by the MEPs.
Prof. Secchi also presented the main achievements on the Atlantic Corridor, including the completion of the Tours-Bordeaux high speed line which now allows to connect Paris and Bordeaux in only two hours. There are other achievements in many fields which makes that the Atlantic Corridor now has a high level of compliance with the TEN-T requirements. Where compliance will not be fully achieved by 2030 is with regards to track gauge in Portugal and ERTMS development in the Iberian, Peninsula. Next to closing the remaining gaps, such as interoperability in the Iberian Peninsula, the Atlantic Corridor has a number of opportunities to develop further, especially with regards to maritime connections, alternative fuels, intermodal and logistics platforms and C-ITS. A challenge that needs to be closely followed-up is the connection between Bordeaux and the Spanish Border: if the high speed line project is postponed by the French authorities, an upgrade of the existing line and a smooth border-crossing are absolutely crucial. MEPs expressed appreciation for the work conducted.
Portugal, 5 March 2018
Prof. Secchi accompanied Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc to the visit of two important rail projects in Portugal. He first attended the launch of the tendering process for the Evora North-Elvas section of the so-called "South International (Portuguese) Corridor" from Lisbon to Madrid and the beginning of the works on the Elvas-Caia section of the same Corridor. Secondly, he attended the beginning of the works on the Covilha-Guarda section linked to the so-called "North International (Portuguese) Corridor". For reference, the Evora to Caia section received €184 million of co-funding from the Connecting Europe Facility while the Covilha-Guarda project received €121 million of co-funding from the European Structural and Investment Funds.
At the occasion of these visits, Prof. Secchi had the opportunity to discuss with Portuguese Minister for Transport Pedro Marques and Portuguese Secretary of State for Infrastructure Guilherme d'Oliveira Martins, about the Atlantic Corridor and the next financial perspectives. He also had the opportunity to discuss with Portuguese Minister of the Sea Ana Paula Vitorino about projects related to ports and logistic single windows and an important conference she is organising in September.
Also participating in Elvas were Portuguese and Spanish Prime Ministers Antonio Costa and Mariano Rajoy, which gave Commissioner Bulc the chance to exchange views about the next financial perspectives and the future of the Connecting Europe Facility, and President of Extremadura Guillermo Fernandez Vara.
Algeciras, 19-20 February 2018
Prof. Secchi organised a meeting of the Working Group on Ports for the Atlantic Corridor, together with the Working Group on Ports for the Mediterranean Corridor.
The meeting started on 19 February with a visit to the operation centre of Maersk in Algeciras, which is responsible for 25 countries in South-East Europe and North Africa. This represents 98 ports and 8 million containers per year. The visit evidenced the importance of IT systems based on data from the different stakeholders in order to optimise maritime traffic and the loading and off-loading time of vessels.
On 20 February, representatives of ports and other stakeholders on both Corridors discussed several topics, including seamless logistics chains, LNG deployment at ports, sea-rail motorways, logistics platforms. The discussions evidenced that many ports are active in those areas and that exchange of information and best practices is very useful. The discussion was followed by a visit of the Port of Algeciras Bay and explanations about its future projects.
Participants concluded that the meeting was very useful and that a similar event should be organised again in about a year. Portugal expressed interest to host that next meeting.
Brussels, 30 January 2018
On 30 January 2018, the TEN-T Coordinators were invited by Violeta Bulc, Commissioner for Transport and Günther Oettinger, Commissioner for Budget and Human Ressources, to discuss issues related to the next MFF perspectives and infrastructure investments in the EU.
Commissioner Bulc invited the Coordinators to put the CEF in a broader European perspective of how infrastructure projects of European added value can be financed in the future with clear priorities and a successful governance model. The Coordinators exchanged with her on their views of how to improve the future CEF funding instrument. The Commissioner repeated that a good governance model is required to communicate better to European citizens on the results.
Commissioner Oettinger called upon the good contacts of the European Coordinators in the regional and national ministries. He underlined that the demonstration of the European added value will be the guiding principle for the debates on the next MFF. The European Coordinators made individual statements on the successful elements of the CEF instrument and Commissioner Oettinger very much appreciated their clear analysis. Professor Secchi focused on innovative financing, with blending and new sources of financing linked to the monetization of externalities, and on efforts needed to simplify the regulatory framework of EU interventions. Commissioner Oettinger asked the Coordinators to come up with ideas on the modernisation of the financial instruments and how to be even more efficient in the seven years to come. He proposed to meet all Coordinators again at the end of April in order to discuss further on the different issues before the next MFF proposal comes out.
Civitavecchia, 24 November 2017
On 24 November, Professor Secchi participated to a Conference in Civitavecchia about "The role of Mediterranean Ports in the future of European Transport Corridors" where he talked about expected scenarios for Mediterranean ports in the context of the evolution of TEN-T policy. From the Conference emerged the interesting idea to leverage a Motorway of the Sea route on the Tyrrhenian Sea between Civitavecchia and Barcelona and another one on the Adriatic Sea between Ancona and Croatia. This would provide a shortcut for the Mediterranean corridor and shorten by 50% the journey, currently done on road, between Spain and the Balkans.
The Conference was also the occasion for him to meet with the Vice-President of the European Parliament Mr David-Maria Sassoli as well as the Italian Deputy Minister for Transport & Infrastructure Riccardo Nencini, with whom he discussed about the TEN-T policy and the preparation of the next MFF regarding the funding and financing of transport infrastructure.
Strasbourg, 14-15 November 2017
On 14 and 15 November, Professor Secchi met in Strasbourg with Spanish Minister for Transport de la Serna Hernaíz, for an in-depth discussion about the transport infrastructure projects in Spain. He also met several MEPs to exchange about the TEN-T policy and the preparation of the next MFF regarding the funding and financing of transport infrastructure: Massimiliano Salini, Pier-Antonio Panzeri, Lara Comi, Patrizia Toia, Isabella De monte and Daniele Viotti. He met also Francesco Cerruti, assistant of Alessia Mosca and Francesco Cannas and Corrado Cerea, assistants of Renato Soru.
On 15 November, Professor Secchi also participated to the "Investing to Connect Europe - Conference on the next CEF" organised by DG MOVE.
Aspen Seminar, Venice, 14-15 October 2017
On 14 and 15 October, Professor Secchi participated to the Aspen Seminar for Leaders in Venice about "Focusing on new mobilities: the Internet of Things and the self-driving revolution". This was another occasion for him to talk about the TEN-T policy and its future prospects, including the focus on innovation (ITS) and on eco-friendly solutions, as well as about the financial instruments to support also these initiatives.
Italian-Swiss Forum for Dialogue, Lugano, 9-10 October 2017
On 9 and 10 October, Professor Secchi was invited as European CNC Coordinator to take part to the Italian-Swiss Forum for Dialogue which took place in Lugano, on the initiative of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Italy and Switzerland and of the Embassies of the two countries. One of the four Groups for discussion was on Transport and Infrastructure, with special emphasis on the Rhine-Alpine Corridor. A number of issues emerged in the discussion, including those on the part of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor which goes from Genova to the Gotthard via Milano - Chiasso. There was a lot of interest on the TEN-T policy and financial instruments, including efforts in favour of the environment (like LNG) and on innovation in transport, as well as on future prospects.
Various meetings, Italy, 2-6 October 2017
On 2 October, Professor Secchi participated in Genova to the "CEF workshop on ports, intermodality and logistics in the Rhine Alpine Corridor".
In his speech, he made links with the ports on the Atlantic Corridor, suggesting the exchange of experiences and best practices in areas such as single windows and LNG.
He ensured the distribution to all participants of a copy of the Coordinators' Joint Declaration on the future of TEN-T and CEF and of the Abstract of the update of the CBS report on the use of financial instruments. In his speech, he also referred to the Tallinn Council and Connecting Europe Conference, talking about future prospects for TEN-T, as well as financial matters such as the MFF, financial instruments and the first blending call.
On 5 October, Professor Secchi had the occasion to meet, at Assolombarda, Italian industrialists with whom he discussed about the TEN-T policy and its future prospects, also distributing the Coordinators' Joint Declaration and the Abstract of the update of the CBS report.
On 6 October, Professor Secchi participated to a conference, at Bocconi University, about the rail connection to Malpensa airport, where he moderated a roundtable discussion. Again, this was the occasion to speak about future prospects for TEN-T policy and its financing, with the support of Mr Antongiulio Marin, Deputy Head of Unit at DG MOVE, who was invited as speaker.
Tallinn, 20-22 September 2017
Professor Secchi gave, together with Professor Bodewig, a keynote speech about the CBS2 Report, at the Connecting Europe Conference on 22 September 2017.
On 21 September 2017 Prof. Secchi had the occasion to meet the French and the Portuguese Ministers in bilateral meetings.
He met French Minister for Transport Elisabeth Borne together with Mr Brinkhorst, the Coordinator for the Mediterranean Corridor. They discussed about the future of the Lyon-Turin tunnel and of the Grand Projet Sud Ouest (GPSO) which must connect in high speed rail Bordeaux with Toulouse and Bordeaux with Dax and then further on to the Spanish border. The Minister pointed out to the process of consultation (“Assises de la Mobilité”) which is currently ongoing in France and on the basis of which the transport infrastructure priorities will be re-established.
He met Portuguese Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Pedro Marques, with whom he discussed the advancement of important Portuguese projects including the works on the Pampilhosa-Vilar Formoso rail line and on the Evora-Caia rail connection. The Minister confirmed that the tendering for Evora-Elvas and the start of the work on Pampilhosa-Vilar Formoso will both happen at the end of 2017. Prof Secchi also pointed out at the opportunity of the blending call for ERTMS deployment projects.
Discussions with specific stakeholders also took place, of which with Région de Nouvelle Aquitaine regarding the GPSO and the Hendaye-Irun cross-border connection.
Lisbon, 7-8 September 2017
On 7 September 2017 Professor Secchi met with the Secretary of State for Infrastructure of the government of Portugal, Mr Guilherme d’Oliveira Martins, in the presence of members of his Cabinet and representatives of IMT (Institute of Mobility and Land Transport) and IP (Infrastructure Agency for road and rail). He discussed the railway projects which are co-funded by CEF. Some of them are suffering delays and should need to be extended given their strategic importance for the Corridor. Professor Secchi also discussed the cooperation between Portugal and Spain on the interoperability of rail, which is making good progress. The Corridor’s upcoming 3rd Work Plan and Portugal’s upcoming transport infrastructure investment plan for 2021-2030 were also briefly discussed.
On 8 September 2017 Professor Secchi met with representatives of ADPL, the administration of the Ports of Douro, Leixoes and Viana do Castelo around Porto. He exchanged views on the Douro River project which is in need of solutions for the third and last phase of its implementation, quite important in view of its projected impacts on the economic development of the region. He also received information and discussed about a possible future project regarding the Port of Leixoes. Professor Secchi then attended the Ocean Conference hosted by the Minister of the Sea, Ana-Paula Vitorino, which gathered high level participants from Europe and the rest of the world.
Working group meeting on urban nodes, 26 April 2017, Madrid
The morning session consisted of an exchange of view and good practices on Passenger Mobility, with presentations by:
- Nouvelle Aquitaine, highlighting in particular the Tours-Bordeaux HSR,
- Ministry of Fomento in Spain with a focus on the Madrid region, notably the connection between the HSL connecting North and Northwest and those for South/East bound connections (Atocha – Chamartin standard gauge tunnel).
- Lisbon Municipality overview on the mobility strategic vision based on layers, networks and services, focusing also on e-mobility and C-ITS developments
- Bilbao region, Bizkaia, with a presentation focused on an action to improve the connection between the city and the airport, including the links to the industrial park and the Port of Bilbao
- Comunidad de Madrid with a set of innovative approaches being undertaken in Madrid.
The afternoon session was dedicated to exchange of views and good practices on Freight Logistics with presentations from Madrid, Bilbao, Lisboa, Castilla Léon. Spain noted agreement between ADIF and port authorities for exploring the port accessibility fund to improve connections to terminals. This covers 5 ports (Sevilla, Barcelona, Santander, Pasajes and Sagunto).
The last part of the meeting was dedicated to Funding, financing and blending: state of play, future needs and opportunities, what to do to widen the scope for financing.
Joint WG North Sea Mediterranean and Atlantic Regions & RFC, 20-21 September 2016, Metz and Strasbourg
Joint WG NSMED and Atlantic Regions & RFC took place in September at the occasion of the entering in operation of the LGV East. The meeting took place in the first day in Metz and in the second day in Strasbourg. Main issues discussed were about passengers (with examples on Crossing border for passengers’ services, planning, infrastructure and ticketing), freight (Crossing border for freights with a joint presentation by the 2 RFC, Logistic platforms and the RFC), financing (with success stories from the Ports of Dublin and Calais, the Spanish fund for Ports accessibility - a national pooling exercise - stemming from the Junker Plan, being supported with EFSI) and research & innovation (Innovation is pivotal in transport, notably but not only in Energy & Systems, an industrial dimension is needed).
TEN-T Days, 20-22 June 2016, Rotterdam
During the TEN-T Days (June 20 to 22), the European Coordinator for the Atlantic Corridor met the French Transport Minister, Alain Vidalies, the Portuguese Transport Minister, Pedro Marques, and a Spanish delegation chaired by the Secretary General for Infrastructure, Manuel Niño Gonzalez, to discuss the key upcoming topics for the development of the Atlantic Corridor:
- The short term, medium term and strategic perspectives for the deployment of the UIC gauge in the Iberian Peninsula, as in the shared study being developed by a joint working group (Spain-Portugal) set following a declaration during the TEN-T Days in Riga in 2015
- Studies and perspectives to launch cross-border rolling motorways (France-Spain) as soon as the "Y Basque" is operational, in 2019
- The on-going projects to enhance / build the TEN-T connections between Portugal and Spain
- Possibilities for support from the Connecting Europe Facility, the Cohesion Policy and the EU Fund for Strategic Investment
Meetings with the Ministry of Fomento and with the Executive Board of the Rail Freight Corridor, 23 May 2016, Madrid
Upon request of the European Coordinator, the support team of the corridor attended meetings with the Ministry of Fomento and with the Executive Board of the Rail Freight Corridor. The main outcomes were:
- Ministry of Fomento (infrastructure development): A detailed discussion on the corridor mapping and the state of play of infrastructure development – UIC gauge perspectives, as well as on the Programme Support Actions to foster administrative capacity.
- Executive Board of RFC Atlantic:
- A success story: sharp increase in both demand and offer: in 2017 50 slots allocated (48 initially offered): + 50% vis-à-vis 2016 (33), +200% vis-à-vis 2015 (17)
- Extensions to Zaragoza (through Pamplona-Vitoria) on-going – linking it to key logistic platforms
- A Common Train Info System up and running in all the four countries – a real-time monitoring showing trains on time, delays and reasons
- A Customer Information Platform as well, providing a detailed state of play of the infra.
Joint Working Group on ports, inland waterways and logistics Atlantic and North Sea Mediterranean, 9-10 March 2016, Paris
This Joint Working Group on ports, inland waterways and logistics of the Atlantic Corridor and North Sea – Mediterranean Corridor brought together the stakeholders for both corridors. Three main topics were discussed: integration of networks in urban nodes for sustainable logistics, financing of transport infrastructures with best practices of blending and pooling, large ports and their role in modal integration. Several examples of sustainable urban logistics in the biggest urban node of the two corridors, as well as innovative projects contributing to decarbonising transport were presented. A debate on project financing, with specific focus on blending, (i.e. mixing funding and financing) from long term infrastructure investors took place, with the involvement of the EIB. The cases of Calais, Dublin ports and Spain’s fund for port accessibility were presented, the latter being an effective example of pooling which allows for the financing of smaller projects. In the second day, a visit to Le Havre showed the new challenges and potential role of a major port in the corridor.
Working Group meeting on Ports and Inland, 10 December 2015, Brussels
The meeting was particularly dedicated to the presentation of experiences on ports connectivity by selected co-financed projects: Atlantic Interoperable Services (ATLANTIS) presented by the port of Leixões; Intermodal Logistics Platform in SE Europe presented by the Extremadura region and HaRoPa initiatives and projects presented by the Port of le Havre as well as a presentation by the Atlantic Arc Commission – Conference of the Peripheral and Maritime Regions and was followed by a debate addressing particularly the financial instruments and MoS to enhance the maritime connectivity.
Ad-hoc working group on the Cross-border dimension on the Atlantic Corridor, 28-29 October 2015
The first day of the meeting was devoted to infrastructural projects and planning for overcoming the borders between Portugal, Spain and France along the Atlantic Corridor with the second day being focused on the actors on the ground: Rail Freight Corridors, Regions & intra-regional cooperation, logistic platforms & ports. A Ministerial session with the signature of contracts for newly funded CEF projects was held in advance to the Working Group meeting.
All the presentations can be downloaded here.
TEN-T Days 2015, 23 June 2015, Riga, Latvia
On June 23rd, in the framework of TEN-T Days, the Report on project financing drafted by the European Coordinators, Prof. Carlo Secchi and Prof. Kurt Bodewig, and former Vice-President Henning Christophersen, was discussed in the closed inter-institutional session at the presence of the European Parliament representatives and Transport Ministers.
Subsequently, the report was presented to the TEN-T Days audience in the framework of the round table discussions on financial instruments with the EIB, institutional investors, promotion banks and project promoters.
High interest has been devoted to the twelve recommendations quoted in the Report, deeming them necessary to come to a strong, credible and visible project pipeline. TEN-T Corridors significantly contribute to the effort, as echoed, inter alia, by the EIB President, Mr Werner Hoyer.
TEN-T Days 2015, 22 June 2015, Riga, Latvia
On June 22nd, in Riga, the Spanish and Portuguese representatives signed with the EU Coordinator, Prof. Carlo Secchi, a joint declaration on the setting up of a common working group, with the main objective of jointly planning the development of fully interoperable infrastructure along the Corridor. The decision to promote such working group implements a recommendation by the European Coordinator, and represents a major step forward in the direction of the deployment of UIC gauge and ERTMS in the Iberian Peninsula.
Simultaneously, in the Iberian summit, the declaration has been signed by the Portuguese and Spanish Ministers.
On the same day, Prof. Secchi met the French Secretary of State for Transport, Alain Vidalies, who agreed to host in Aquitaine in October a working group on the cross-border connections of the Atlantic Corridor.
Transport Council, 11 June 2015, Luxembourg
Prof. Secchi, together with Prof. Kurt Bodewig, Coordinator for the Baltic-Adriatic Corridor and former Federal Transport Minister, and Former Vice-President Hening Christophersen, presented on June 11th at the Transport Council held in Luxembourg an Action Plan on how to trigger project financing and project development in Europe:
The wide-ranging document is structured in 12 recommendations grouped on 4 building blocks aimed at:
- Strengthening the project pipeline through assistance for project development, identification and financial structuring.
- Simplifying the procedures, notably on Procurement, permitting and state aid consistency.
- Broadening funding and financing, increasing project-related revenues, cross-financing, and exploiting synergies between all the financial sources through pooling and blending grants and financing.
- Improving the wide framework: Financial Regulation, accounting of PPP, stakeholders' involvement & developing specific Communication actions including for the wide public.
Meeting with Dr Grube, CEO Deutsche Bahn AG, 3 September 2014
On 3rd September 2014, the European Coordinators who are leading the Corridors crossing Germany had the opportunity to jointly meet the CEO of Deutsche Bahn to discuss the EU core network policy. Participants included:
- Deutsche Bahn: Dr Grube, Fried, Miram, Sellnick, Lueberrink European
- Coordinators: Ana Palacio, Pat Cox, Mathieu Grosch, Carlo Secchi, Karel Vinck
All participants confirmed the importance of this joint meeting. Mr Grube invited the Coordinators to a follow-up meeting with the DB Board before the end of this year. The following issues were raised by the Coordinators: Germany should make the use of CEF budget more attractive for rail infrastructure managers; lack of private investment; standardisation of equipment to be imposed on suppliers; external dimension TEN-T; need for accompanying measures; financial support for noise protection measures; the need to move from a conversation on design to a conversation on implementation. Dr Grube stated that in the beginning DB was quite reluctant towards TEN-T. However, this attitude has changed completely. TEN-T offers a chance for leadership to develop a real transport network. DB is an international operator. In this context core network corridors are of the highest priority and instrumental for achieving such international market. Mr Grube also said that he appreciates the open and constructive dialogue.
Meeting with the Spanish Secretary of State for Transport, Mr Rafael Catalá Polo, 3 July 2014, Madrid
On 3rd July 2014, the European Coordinator Prof. Carlo Secchi, met the Spanish Secretary of State for Transport, Mr Rafael Catalá Polo, Mr M. Niño Gonzalez, Spanish Secretary for Infrastructure, and other representatives from Core Network Corridors, ADIF, ADIF Alta Velocidad and Puerto del Estado, to discuss about the main challenges along the Atlantic Corridor, as well as to share the vision on the implementation of the Corridor, including the involvement of stakeholders, relationships with neighbouring countries and Spain's CEF and ERDF projects pipeline. A discussion round on Madrid node also took place, focusing on structure and projects on logistic platforms, passenger and freight flows, including bottlenecks, and on the Atocha-Camartin tunnel. During the meeting it was pointed out that Spain is a front-runner on ERTMS, with more than 2000km of equipped lines, and that it aims at speeding up an harmonised deployment of ERTMS with neighbouring countries.
Conference at the French Port Association, 30 June 2014
Prof. Carlo Secchi took part in a conference at the French Port Association, on invitation by the President, Mr Hervé Martel, and of the delegated President, Mr Jacques Trorial. With this occasion, Prof. Secchi introduced the theme of the multimodal dimension of a Core Network Corridor. A large debate followed, concerning mainly governance, including working groups, opportunity for funding and financing pre-condition to attract private investors, as well as the complementary role of ports outside the corridors (integration through Motorways of the Sea). The importance of Corridors for multimodal and international coordination and fine-tuning, besides the mere funding and project development, has been highlighted.
Meeting with the President of Île de France in charge of Transport, 30 June 2014
On 30 June 2014, Mr Secchi met the vice President of Île de France in charge of Transport, Mr Pierre Serne. There has been a friendly and informal exchange of opinion on Corridors and the role of Regions within Corridor Fora and at national level, and a description of the projects envisaged by the Region to enhance the connectivity and the mobility of the node – the largest urban node within the Atlantic Corridor. The opportunity of seeking synergies and making compatible large distance flows and local mobility was debated, as well as the opportunities that smoother access to international and intercontinental traffic represents for the regional development, leveraging on the Regional logistic platforms, included in the Corridor Analysis.
Informal bilateral meetings, International Transport Forum, 21 and 22 May 2014, Leipzig
Three informal bilateral meetings took place in the framework of the Ministerial Dinner and reception at the International Transport Forum that took place in Leipzig on May 21st-22nd, 2014, with Mr Dobrindt, Federal Minister for Transport and Digital infrastructure of Germany, Mr Cuvillier, French Minister for Transport, and Mr Monteiro, Portuguese Minister for Transport. During his meeting with Mr Dobrindt, Prof. Secchi congratulated Germany for the structured and proactive support in the Corridor Forum - an enhanced role of the Federal Ministry is a crucial asset for the Corridors, as will the German stakeholders (DB Bahn and Unland Ports/ logistic platforms of Mannheim and Ludwighaven). He also highlighted that CEF is an opportunity to seize for German projects and presented the added value of the Atlantic Corridor for Germany (inland connection between Germany/Central EU and the Iberian Peninsula - key added value both for EU Customers and for the Automotive sector (as witnessed by the interest shown by German stakeholders); the direct connection between the core of France and Germany (advanced maturity), and connection between the center and the Atlantic facade of the EU). Mr Dobrindt reaffirmed the proactive interest of Germany on corridors as a tool for making full use if infrastructure. During the meeting with Mr Cuvillier, the latter confirmed his interest on Corridors and hey shortly discussed their progress. Mr Monteiro showed optimism on the Atlantic Corridor development and on a synergic use of ESI Funds with a swift closure of the negotiation for the Cohesion Policy expected.
Meeting with the Portuguese Secretary of State for Transport, Telecom and Infrastructure, Mr Sergio Monteiro and potential beneficiaries of CEF , 12 March 2014, Lisbon
On March 12th 2014, the European Coordinator Prof. Carlo Secchi, sworn into office that very day, paid a visit to Portugal chairing a delegation of the Commission, the Innovation and Network Executive Agency (INEA) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to meet the Portuguese Secretary of State for Transport, Telecom and Infrastructure, Mr Sergio Monteiro, and potential beneficiaries of CEF (Transport authority – IMT, REFER, etc). The key points discussed have been: 1) Portugal priorities for Transport (vs. Strategic Transport Planning) 2) Key projects' pipeline for CEF and synergies with the Cohesion policy 3) Exchange on strategic issues concerning CEF 4) The Atlantic Corridor: mechanism and steps 5) TEN-T/CEF political outlook – general principles, key from CEF and the Atlantic Corridor - functioning of the CEF 6) Financial Instruments (EIB)
The meeting was cooperative and highlighted the ambitious Project pipeline being prepared by the Portuguese Authorities and a first draft of the Transport Master Plan.
Agenda ATL 1st Forum
Agenda ATL 2nd Forum
Agenda ATL 3rd Forum
Agenda ATL 4th Forum
Agenda ATL 5th Forum
Agenda ATL 6th Forum
Agenda ATL 7th Forum
Agenda ATL 8th Forum
Agenda ATL 9th Forum
Agenda ATL 10th Forum
Agenda ATL 11th Forum
Agenda ATL Working Group Cross Border 28-29 October 2015
Agenda ATL Working Group Ports 30 September 2014
Agenda ATL Working Group Ports 10 December 2015
Agenda ATL Working Group Ports 09-10 March 2016
Agenda ATL Working Group Regions 18 November 2014
Agenda ATL Working Group Regions 30 September 2015
Agenda ATL Working Group Interoperability 29 November 2016
Agenda ATL Working Group Regions Urban 25-26 April 2016
Agenda ATL-MED Working Group Ports 18 February 2018