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Funding review is overdue

06 Mar 2009

Letter to the Editor

Sir - Your recent Analysis report about the Trans-European Networks programme was right on target. The previous basis for the selection of TEN-T projects was definitely skewed towards pet projects at an individual national level, and then ranked by others with vested interests. Those who hijacked this process were not required to justify their choice of projects or the cost-effectiveness of the schemes.

Three years ago, the European Commission conducted an internal review of the programme, under the auspices of Ecorys, the Dutch consultancy group. It was fudged to protect the confused and opaque set of rules governing the TENs mechanism which were far from clear, transparent or objective. The findings of the review were then diluted further.

The TENs concept may have outstayed its welcome in terms of the project selection mechanism and what it is designed to achieve.

Spreading the funds available over a larger number of cost-effective projects offering real immediacy of impact and returns would seem a better bet for any future funding. But getting the vested interests in Brussels to wake up to the need for much better focusing of project funds to yield more positive results may still be a long haul.

Phil Mortimer
TruckTrain Developments Ltd, UK