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#Transport4Cohesion Position paper

Within 30th June 2020

Within 24th June 2020

Supporting the transport Policy Objective for the European Territorial Cooperation Programming Period 2021-2027 #Transport4Cohesion

This position paper represents the point of view of an enlarged transport community composed by Institutions, Networks, Nodes and Research Organizations, which actively participated to European Projects co-funded by the European Territorial Cooperation in the different programming periods.

Its main aim is to highlight the strategic nature of transport priority and to introduce and suggest some further advices on how to properly address such priority within the upcoming programming period, 2021-2027.

Transport and mobility, thanks to their nature, directly affect the whole set of economic sectors and represent the real trait d’union of the wide variety of territories composing the European Union.

Yet it is even more than this. As the recent unexpected situation connected to the COVID-19 emergency demonstrated, transport and mobility (of both people and goods) are representing a central role in strengthening Europe and keep its territories together, which need to be preserved as alive and dynamic, thus deserving the highest attention possible from the European institutions.

Furthermore, it is worth to mention how the whole set of projections are underlining that the next 15 year will be crucial for transport and mobility sectors. Indeed, they will face big changes in terms of behaviours, disruptive technologies, planning methods and, consequently, policies. According to the trends analysed by the United Nations, by 2050, due to an increase of population in cities of 30%, the transport demand in cities will be double for passengers and triple for freight, if compared with the current situation, stressing the same infrastructures and transport networks.

At the same time, transport and mobility sectors will face big changes in the next few years. On the one hand, due to the rapid development of new technologies or new markets opened at global level, and on the other hand, due to the stricter limits in terms of GHG emissions, behavioural changes and new policies or directions at the EU level. For instance, the European Green Deal goals that will unavoidably affect transport planning and rules at the national and local level.

These challenges are inherently calling for stronger cooperation between the different European regions. They must consider a wider approach to support the transport and mobility sector, also by paving the way to the identification of shared solutions and synergies to be applied and realized, thanks to other well-consolidated funds such as the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) or the loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

That was somehow the answer recorded since the beginning: organizations and institutions from many regions in Europe cooperating together, learning from each other, deploying joint initiatives and projects resulting in increased awareness, exchange of experiences, development of strategies and plans that were then used as baseline to attract new funds and investment opportunities in several different aspects of transport and mobility that, without these Programmes, would probably had not reached their territory. This is particularly true also for projects funded under the Programming Period 2007-2014, which realized and developed soft measures including studies, feasibility analysis of new institutional and regulatory arrangements, which require limited financial resources. During the past Programming periods, these limited but fundamental funds, actually came from European Territorial Cooperation funds and in particular from Transnational Programmes. These are of utmost importance to attract new regional mainstream, or in general, more structured common initiatives to build the infrastructures of tomorrow.

In other words, considering the multifaceted sector of mobility and transport which covers and affects almost all the other more classical priorities and axes (e.g. environment, social, inclusion, institution and research among the others), the opportunity related to the use of INTERREG funds represents a concrete chance to boost cooperation initiatives, thus contributing in multiplying results-oriented solutions and priority identification to be then tackled with other (more concrete) funds and leverage tools.

With this purpose, this position paper aims at strongly underling the impossibility to break down the inseparable binomial “cohesion-transport/mobility”, being one of the backbones of European principles. For this reason, we are strongly encouraging Transnational, Interregional and Cross-Border INTERREG Managing Authorities to include the Policy Objective 3, “A more connected Europe – mobility and regional ICT connectivity” in the programming period 2021-2027, as to remark the importance to support the development of solutions for a smart and sustainable mobility of people and goods in the years to come.

Main recommendations from the transport community

  • To enhance the Green Deal, actions must be included in the transport sector and not only in policy objective 2;

  • Transportation and mobility play an important role in providing equal opportunities in peripheral areas and the people impaired;

  • It is essential to have different funding Instruments dedicated to the same topic, as it helps to keep a cross-sectoral approach to define policies, create market opportunities and in general to improve the transport network with a synergic approach.

  • In order to plan and act on time, it is necessary to collect and exchange harmonized data at European Level, which is one of the activities carried out in ETC projects;

  • Transport and mobility need interregional policies that only the European Territorial Cooperation can offer;

  • An adequate co-funding is needed to develop interregional policies with a concrete impact on the quality of life, including also the quality of air;

  • A package of interregional priorities is needed for the mobility of people and goods, because long-distance trips also have an impact on cities;

  • The Green Deal will make consistent use of all policy levers: regulation and standardisation, investment and innovation, national reforms, dialogue with social partners and international cooperation. This is an approach of the Interreg

  • Equality, access to work and health care, the ability to move freely throughout the Union, living in a clean environment and getting an education are all shared ideals. Here are some examples of how European Territorial Cooperation is making these ideals a reality.

  • Transport projects fall into two main categories: infrastructure projects and soft measures. In general, for infrastructure projects funding is available through mainstream dedicated funds such as the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), and can benfit of loans by international lending institutions (such as BEI, World Bank,…). On the other hand, soft measures including studies, feasibility analysis of new institutional and regulatory arrangements (for instance cross-border facilitation, …), pilot initiatives (e.g. ICT) , etc. require limited financial resources, which could actually come from European Territorial Cooperation funds (such as the Interreg ADRION programme). These are of utmost importance for creating the ground for future more structure common initiatives, for sharing experiences and building capacity, for defining strategies and actions and to attract new investments.

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