On 17. January 2024, EPF president Michel Quidort attended the “Connecting the High-Speed Dots” event at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, jointly organised by MEP Ondřej Kovařík, Jiří Svoboda, CEO of Správa železnic, and CER.
The event, which gathered MEPs, Commission and CER Representatives, was aimed at presenting the important programme of rail connections to be realised between Western and Central/Eastern Member States, in the context of the TEN-T Regulation revision process entering its final stages.
High-speed corridors (from 160 to 200 km/h) should be developed in three main directions: Baltic Countries, Greece and Bulgaria. The (real and digital) infrastructure investments are planned in two phases in 2030 and 2040, and should comply when completed with the TEN-T programme to be adopted and link some 420 “urban nodes” in the whole EU.
These investments will be eligible to EU Structural Funds and to “Invest EU” financial programme and will not only include cross-border links but also domestic corridors in order to increase the commercial speed, so that HS trains can compete with airlines. Infrastructure Managers will not only build necessary infrastructure but will also be committed to maintain it on the long term. At the end of this ambitious programme, Prague would be the central point of the European Union, hence rebalancing its whole HS rail network towards Eastern and Central Europe.