Given Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, and the position adopted by Belarus in this conflict, cooperation with Russia and Belarus on transport is no longer considered appropriate, nor in the interest of the EU. The proposal, therefore, removes Russia and Belarus from the TEN-T maps. The Commission is also proposing to downgrade the last miles of all cross-border connections between the EU and Russia/Belarus from ‘core network’ to ‘comprehensive network’. This implies a later target date for completion – 2050 instead of 2030.
As a response to the request within the ‘Solidarity Lanes’ communication, designed to help agricultural and other goods to reach the EU and world markets, the proposal extends four European Transport Corridors to Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova.
Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said: ”By extending four European Transport Corridors to the territory of Ukraine and Moldova – including the ports of Mariupol and Odesa – today’s proposal will help improve transport connectivity of these two countries to the EU, facilitating economic exchanges and better connections for people and business alike. These corridors will also be a key priority in rebuilding the transport infrastructure of Ukraine once the war ends. Our efforts to facilitate the export of grains from Ukraine via the Solidarity Lanes have also demonstrated the importance of interoperability in the transport system, reinforcing the need to increase convergence within the EU network, making it more resilient, and strengthening the internal market.”
The different rail track gauges used in Ukraine compared to most of the EU are also addressed in the proposal. The difference is a huge obstacle to interoperability. The proposal includes measures to migrate railway lines, when economically justified, to the European standard track gauge. This also applies to non-standard track gauges within the EU; the difficulties at the Ukraine border have highlighted how this lack of interoperability makes the railway network inside EU territory vulnerable according to EC.