The EU’s trans-European transport network policy, the TEN-T policy, is a key instrument for the development of coherent, efficient, multimodal, and high-quality transport infrastructure across the EU. It comprises railways, inland waterways, short sea shipping routes and roads linking urban nodes, maritime and inland ports, airports and terminals.
It fosters the efficient transportation of people and goods, ensures access to jobs and services, and enables trade and economic growth. It strengthens the EU’s economic, social and territorial cohesion and creates seamless transport systems across borders, without physical gaps, bottlenecks or missing links. It also aims to reduce the environmental impact of transport and to increase the safety and the resilience of the network.
The TEN-T policy is based on Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013. This Regulation is currently being revised in order to make the network greener, more efficient and more resilient, in line with the European Green Deal and the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy.
The trans-European transport network is designed according to an objective methodology. As set out in the current regulation, it consists of two layers, the core and the comprehensive network.
The core network includes the most important connections linking major cities and nodes, and must be completed by 2030. It needs to meet the highest infrastructure quality standards.
The comprehensive network connects all regions of the EU to the core network and needs to be completed by 2050.
With the revision of the TEN-T Regulation, a third layer – the extended core network – should be added as an intermediate milestone, to be completed by 2040.
Core network corridors and horizontal priorities
Nine core network corridors and two horizontal priorities were created to support the completion of the trans-European transport network. A European Coordinator is appointed for each corridor and horizontal priority who oversees the progress of the corridor or priority and acts as “ambassador” of the TEN-T policy. The European Coordinators are key for the governance of the TEN-T.
TEN-T related legislation and actions
- The Streamlining Directive was adopted to facilitate the administrative processes for permitting procedures of cross-border infrastructure.
- Military Mobility is an EU initiative to ensure swift and seamless movement of military personnel, materiel and assets – including at short notice and at large scale – within and beyond the EU. It aims to create a well-connected network, with shorter reaction times, and secure and resilient infrastructure.
The trans-European transport network can serve a dual use, military and civilian. In close cooperation with the Member States, the Commission ensures that the network is coherent and meets the requirements of both types of use.
Following Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine the Commission and the High Representative put forward an Action Plan on Military Mobility 2.0.
To ensure a well-connected, capable and secure military mobility network, the Commission supports the action plan with funding instruments such as the Connecting Europe Facility (funding dual-use transport infrastructure projects), and the European Defence Fund (supporting the development of interoperable logistical and digital systems).