Hungary's former EC member to oversee one of five key tracks on Trans European Transport network
One of the European Union's big infrastructure projects is the completion of the Trans European Transport network. This is a major upgrade of east-west and north-south transport links to make sure the new member states of the EU are well connected with the old by road, rail and water. One part of that network scheduled for upgrade is a rail link running from Paris, over Strasbourg, Stuttgart and Vienna to the Slovak capital Bratislava.
"The new Commissioner for Transport came up with the idea to find and appoint five persons and make them responsible for the five key lines of the Trans European Railway Network. These are from Paris to Bratislava, which is my personal responsibility, from Lyon to Budapest, from Berlin down to the south of Italy, a sideline between France, Spain and Portugal, and another one between Poland and the Baltic states. In the next four years we are expected to add to the construction of such lines."
"I think the main issue, after the fact-finding, is to try to coordinate separate national actions along the track. The line involves four nations - France, Germany, Austria, and Slovakia, but furthermore there are regional responsibilities. For instance in Germany there are the regions of Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg. So, it is not easy to bring together the physical construction of the line, financial conditions, the security requirement, and many other issues, and to build up a continuous railway starting from Paris and going all the way up to Bratislava."
"There is a rather complicated combination of financing because these are partially national investments of the countries in question. The European Union is offering a contribution on its part, which can be between ten and twenty percent of the total cost of the project. But if it is about connecting two member states with each other, the community contribution can be as high as fifty percent. Besides that, we are able to mobilise additional contributions on behalf of the European Investment Bank and other banks. So, if we combine the national budget money with EU support, loans, and credit and combine that with private capital, then I am hopeful that we can finance the whole project."