Connecting Europe Days: extending TEN-T pan-European transport networks, electro-mobility or high-speed lines

Connecting Europe Days: extending TEN-T pan-European transport networks, electro-mobility or high-speed lines

Two days before the Czech EU presidency is starting, the Czech transport minister Martin Kupka discussed all these topics at the meeting of European transport experts in Lyon, France.

On the sidelines of the program, the Czech Minister also met with the Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov, with whom he discussed the possibilities of better transport connections between Ukraine and the EU countries.

"The European Union faces new challenges in the face of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including in the area of transport. It is on how to strengthen the sustainability and resilience of Europe's transport flows that I discussed today with experts from across Europe in Lyon, France. The forthcoming Czech Presidency will play a very important role in this task, as one of our main tasks will be to adjust the scope of the TEN-T rapid transit system that is still in place. This was also the last major transport event before our Presidency, which starts on Friday 1 July," said Transport Minister Martin Kupka.

With Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov, Minister Kupka discussed mainly the current situation caused by Russian aggression. Both ministers agreed that to support the Ukrainian economy, it is now necessary to ensure the transport of goods, especially agricultural produce, between Ukraine and the countries of the European Union as quickly as possible. Therefore, so-called "Solidarity Lanes" should be created between Ukraine and the EU to facilitate the export of mainly agricultural products from Ukraine. Where possible, there must then be a shift from the sea and, to some extent, rail transport to road transport.

"Russia continues to blockade ports in the Black Sea which are key for the export of agricultural products. The whole of Europe must now step up and look for other ways to export grain and seeds from Ukraine by road and rail. The Czech Republic is actively working on this, with the freight carrier ČD Cargo dispatching 13 trains of agricultural goods from Ukraine to seaports in Germany every week," Minister Kupka said after the meeting. At the end of the joint meeting, Minister Kupka also invited Minister Kubrakov to the informal Council of Transport Ministers, which Prague will host in October as part of the Czech Presidency.

It is also necessary to focus on better transport links between the EU-27 and Ukraine through the TEN-T networks. The development of standard gauge railway lines from the EU to Ukraine, Moldova, and other EU neighbors are key. To better connect Ukraine and Moldova, an agreement was signed at the Connecting Europe Days event to allow Moldovan and Ukrainian road freight transport operators access to the EU market and vice versa.

Minister Kupka also attended a meeting in Lyon on the interconnection between transport and energy. The development of electromobility and other alternative fuels, charging stations, hydrogen production, storage and transport, and reducing energy consumption were discussed. The electrification of the rail network or increased cooperation between transport and energy were also topics.

Martin Kupka also spoke with his colleagues about the priorities of the upcoming Czech EU Presidency in the field of transport. These include better interconnection and development of the European transport network, support for high-speed railways, and clean mobility. The Czech Republic will also focus on autonomous transport or support for space activities. The Minister invited his counterparts to the events that will take place during the Czech Presidency. These will include the informal meeting of the Transport Council in Prague (20-21 October), the Urban Mobility Days in Brno (20-22 September), and the European Space Week (2-6 October), which will focus on current and future trends in the European space program.

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