Council adopted a new regulatory framework to modernise and expand Europe's energy infrastructure

The Council adopted the regulation on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure following an agreement reached with the European Parliament. The regulation gives priority to twelve strategic trans-European energy corridors and areas. The European Commission welcomed Council adoption of the Energy Infrastructure Regulation because it foresees a new more transparent and accelerated permit granting procedure which generally will not exceed 3 years and 6 months.

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The transfer of competences from national authorities to the European Rail Agency was discussed by the Council

EU ministers on Transport held a debate on the fourth railway package which mainly focused on the proposal for a recast of the 2008 directive on the interoperability of the EU rail system. According to the Council, ministers broadly acknowledged the need to increase the efficiency of the authorisation process. However, misgivings were expressed about the transfer of competences from national authorities to the European Rail Agency as proposed by the Commission.

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The EU grants funding to four projects aimed at preparing the implementation of four Rail Freight Corridors

With a total of €5.7 million from the TEN-T Programme, the European Union will co-finance four projects aimed at preparing the implementation of four Rail Freight Corridors across Europe. According to the European Commission, the projects focus on establishing fully operational rail freight corridors providing optimal rail freight transport and increasing rail transport competitiveness across the EU.

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Over €12 million from EU funds to three projects forming part of a new high speed rail line in the Basque country

The European Commission announced that the EU will co-finance with over €12 million from the TEN-T Programme three Spanish projects forming part of a new high speed rail line in the Basque country (Spain). The main aim is to help bring high speed rail travel to Spain.

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Commission presents new measures to deliver better quality and more choice in railway services in Europe

The European Commission presented proposals for a Fourth Railway Package to encourage more innovation in EU railways by opening EU domestic passenger markets to competition, as well as substantial accompanying technical and structural reforms.

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€332 million more for transeuropean transport priority projects

The European Commission announced that an additional €332 million has been added to the 2012 TEN-T multi-annual programme, under the area of TEN-T Priority Projects. In addition, the deadline for proposal submissions has now been extended to 26 March 2013 for all six fields of the multi-annual work programme.

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€5 million from EU funds to construct nearly 8 km of high speed railway track bed in Spain

The European Commission will finance with €5 million from the TEN-T Programme a project to construct nearly 8 km of high speed railway track bed near Valladolid (Spain). According to the Commission, the project will bring considerable benefits to rail traffic in the area.

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African aid-recipient countries do not do enough to ensure the sustainability of road infrastructure

A report from the European Court of Auditors (ECA) highlighted that the European Commission is partially effective in its support for a sustainable road network in Sub-Saharan Africa. Partner countries visited by the Court do not do enough to ensure the sustainability of road infrastructure, roads are affected to varying degrees by premature deterioration.

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The support from the EU cohesion funds make possible the high speed section between Barcelona and Figueres

On 9 of January, it entered into service the high speed section between Barcelona and Figueres, which represents the completion of a project, the high speed line Madrid-Barcelona-French border. This section has had a significant involvement and support of the European Union.

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EBRD grants €32.5 million loan to enhance container hub at the port of Klaipeda in Lithuania

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has granted a loan supporting a project aimed at increasing the capacity of the container hub at the port of Klaipeda, in Lithuania. This project will create a major regional transshipment hub and will contribute to reducing shipping-related carbon emissions.

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The deal on energy infrastructure regulation endorsed by the Permanent Representatives Committee of the Council

The Permanent Representatives Committee of the Council endorsed the agreement reached with the European Parliament on 27 November 2012 on the regulation on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure. To enter into force it still needs formal approval in the Parliament (early 2013) and in the Council (after the plenary vote in the Parliament).

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Over €1.2 billion to fund key Trans-European Transport Network projects

The European Commission published a set of Calls for Proposals under the 2012 Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) multi-annual and annual programmes, making €1.265 billion available to finance European transport infrastructure projects in all transport modes in all EU Member States.

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