The European Commission considers it “worrying” that the French government wants to postpone until 2042 the development of the high-speed connection with Spain through the Atlantic corridor and hopes that it will reconsider that calendar, because it believes that it is still possible to meet the objective of completing the project on the horizon of 2030 as contemplated in the EU’s trans-European transport network.
“From a European perspective, the fact that priority is given to the Toulouse section (compared to the Dax section that will connect with the ‘Basque Y’) is worrying. We are at a critical moment with respect to the future schedule of the main cross-border projects in France”, the expert of the Community Executive responsible for the Atlantic corridor, Carlo Sacchi, has summarized before the European Parliament’s Transport Committee.
The European technician has recorded that Paris is working with a revised ‘road map’ for its investments in railway infrastructures in the coming years, the final version of which is expected in the summer, but which, in a first orientation at the beginning of the year, indicates that the Trans-European projects are relegated to a second phase of development, once other national ones have been completed.
New application to France
However, Sacchi has insisted that he trusts France to reconsider this approach between now and presenting the final ‘road map’. “The decisions taken in the coming months will be decisive,” he continued, before announcing that in a recent meeting with the regional presidents of New Aquitaine and Occitanie, they told him that cross-border high-speed rail is viable within the deadlines committed to with the EU .
“They confirmed to me that technically and financially it is possible to execute the two sections of this first phase at the same time, that is to say by 2032. It is possible as long as the State complies with the financing of the Dax section”, detailed the representative of the European Commission .
“The European Commission believes that the cross-border implementation of the European network is important, which is why the implementation of these two sections must be carried out at the same time”, stressed Sacchi, who said that Brussels understands the French interest in connecting Toulouse but has stressed that “Priority must be given to the cross-border (network)”.
For this reason, he has asked for patience until we see what the final decision of Paris is, which is expected for the summer, and of which he has said that he hopes that the community Executive “trusts that it will go in the line that we defend.”