Infrastructure is key to a region’s competitiveness. It’s no surprise that the level of infrastructure network is usually one of the major parameters of the various international country development rankings, such as the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), created by the World Economic Forum. Unfortunately, the north-south connectivity of the Visegrad countries still cannot match Western Europe even despite the developments in the last decades. The completion of the core corridors of the European Union’s TEN-T network or the construction of high-speed rail network between Budapest and Warsaw – both planned by 2030 – will help the V4 connectivity, but still, lots have to be done for the region in order to increase the connections between the Visegrad partners and improve the overall competitiveness and attraction of the region.
The infrastructure of the Visegrad Group countries is connected into the system of the European Union, the so called Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). Initially the idea of the creation of a pan-European network was formulated in the 1992 Treaty of Maastricht[i], while the TEN-T guidelines were initially adopted on 23 July 1996 with Decision No. 1692/96/EC[ii] of the European Parliament. From 2001 inland ports, seaports and intermodal terminals were also included in the network.
The TEN-T policy addresses the implementation and development of a Europe-wide network of railway lines, roads, inland waterways, maritime shipping routes, ports, airports and railroad terminals. According to the guidelines, “the ultimate objective is to close gaps, remove bottlenecks and technical barriers, as well as to strengthen social, economic and territorial cohesion in the EU.”[i]
The current TEN-T policy is based on Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013[ii]. In 2013 nine core infrastructure network corridors were established across the European Union (and even beyond), with 26 billion EUR allocated financing for the development of the network between 2014 and 2020[iii]. The financing is available through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).
[i] Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), European Commission, Mobility and Transport. https://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/infrastructure/ten-t_en (2021.05.18.)
[ii] Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32013R1315 (2021.05.12.)
[iii] KHÚLOVÁ, Lucia; ŠPROCHOVÁ, Lenka: „Importance of TEN-T Corridors in the Development of Infrastructure Example of Visegrad Group Countries”. In: Studia commercialia Bratislavensia, Volume 9; Number 33 (1/2016); pp. 49-57.