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MEPs ready to start talks with Council on TEN-T

European Parliament set its negotiating position on the review of trans-European transport network (TEN-T) rules. This is the EU’s plan to build a network of railways, roads, inland waterways and short sea shipping routes connected through ports and terminals across the European Union. Current TEN-T projects range from Rail Baltica, connecting Helsinki and Warsaw, to Brenner Base Tunnel, linking Austria and Italy, or the Lisbon–Madrid high-speed rail line. MEPs reaffirm a need to complete major transport infrastructure projects by the end of 2030 on the core TEN-T network, and by the end of 2050 on a comprehensive network focussed particularly on eliminating bottlenecks and missing links and better empowering 11 European Coordinators. In the event of a significant delay, MEPs suggest the Commission should immediately launch an infringement procedure and reduce or terminate funding. European Parliament also advocates for unified technical and operational standards for each transport mode and stress that intermodal transport should be primarily done by rail, inland waterways or short-sea shipping, while any initial and/or final legs can be carried out by road. This should translate into fully electrified railways in the core TEN-T network, running with at least of 160 km/h passenger and 100 km/h cargo trains, which could cross internal EU borders in less than 15 minutes by the end of 2030, the draft rules say. Following Russia’s war against Ukraine, MEPs also backed cutting transport infrastructure projects with Russia and Belarus and enhancing instead the partnership with Ukraine and Moldova.

Commission approves Italian scheme for hydrogen production

The European Commission has approved a €450 million Italian scheme to support the production of renewable hydrogen with the aim to foster the transition to a net-zero economy, in line with the Green Deal Industrial Plan. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework. The measure, financed under the Recovery and Resilience Facility ('RRF'), will be open to companies of all sizes active in Italy with the exception of credit and other financial institutions. Under the scheme, the projects will be selected through an open competitive bidding process. The public support will take the form of direct grants covering investment costs, with a maximum amount of aid per project of €20 million.

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