The trans-European networks for transport, a strategic tool for cohesion
in Europe: the example of Corridor V
16 October 2006, Udine, Friuli Venezia Giulia
The high capacity and high speed railway joining Lyon-Turin-Trieste-Budapest, a crucial segment of
the pan-European Corridor V that is running from Lisbon to Kiev, has been identified by the
European Union as a Priority Project in the framework of trans-European networks for transport (EU
Decision n° 884/2004).
This project has a strategic role for the economic development of the South-European Arc regions
and is also essential for the new EU Member States to complete their integration.
The central parts of this project are made of two international sections: Lyon-Turin and Ronchi sud-
Trieste-Divaca. Both must be considered as priority sections because they constitute the high
performance railway link that is missing today between the western and eastern parts of the enlarged
Their implementation will fully support all ongoing and upcoming investments made by the Member
States and solve the two busiest traffic bottlenecks located in the Southern Alps.
With the Lyon-Turin and Ronchi sud-Trieste-Divaca sections, the safety of Alpine passes and the
protection of this extraordinary eco-system situated in the heart of Europe are also at stake.
Two more international sections between Slovenia and Hungary (Hodos – Zalalövő) and between
Hungary and Ukraine have to become new European priorities as soon as possible.
Important decisions on the allocation of EU funds are on the agenda : the 2007-2013 EU budget
could finance the actual start of the project, provided that the Member states involved in the project
concretely commit in the programming phase and finalise the financing plan in due course and in
cooperation with all relevant partners.
Recent bilateral agreements between Italy and the Republic of Slovenia (28 February 2006) on the
constitution of an IGC (Intergovernmental Conference) for the Ronchi sud-Trieste-Divaca railway
line, as well as the “Cross 5” study initiated by regions have created a unique and fruitful
environment for effectively extending the trans-European networks for transport to new Member
states. IGCs for the cross-border sections Slovenia – Hungary and Hungary – Ukraine have to be
constituted as well.
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Should these projects not be launched rapidly, the development of trade within Corridor V would be
hindered, it would become less and less safe, resulting in serious consequences for the sensitive
Alpine and Karstic eco-systems. Here our political responsibilities are called upon.
The realisation of these sections is also a pre-requisite to shift from goods transport by road to more
environmentally-friendly means of transport, such as railway.
However, this modal shift will not be self-evident; strong decisions will be necessary, beyond
infrastructure building. Some initiatives have already been taken, for instance in Switzerland or
Austria, which have shown the great flexibility of road transport. When transport professionals are
confronted to fare or regulation changes, first look for alternative road passes, less expensive and
less constraining before switching to rail transport.
To be efficient, these measures in favour of modal shift must absolutely be taken in a
coordinated way on the entire alpine bow. It is also the best way to convince populations
concerned of the real usefulness of these investments.
Consequently, the elected representatives and economic partners directly concerned by Corridor V
met on 16 October 2006, under the joint initiative of Riccardo Illy, President of the Assembly of
European Regions, and Bernard Soulage, rapporteur on TENs in the Committee of the Regions, with
the presence of Jacques Barrot. They clearly emphasized the importance of such an achievement and
are willing to take all necessary initiative to support it.
These partners therefore call upon the French, Italian, Slovenian and Hungarian governments to give
a clear reply to the request of the European Union; the latter is also called upon to confirm its
irrevocable financial commitment in order to start working on the Lyon-Turin and Ronchi sud-
Trieste-Divaca railway lines by the year 2010.
They also ask all States in the Alpine bow to define and quickly implement measures aiming at
significantly shifting freight traffic crossing the alps from road to rail. They expect the ministers of
the so-called “Zurich group”, who will meet in Lyon on 20 October, to take the first decisions along
these lines, in coordination with the local partners involved.
Considering that these measures have a strong regional impact on both land planning and economic
development, the partners gathered in Udine are very keen on making proposals and, when they are
competent, taking part in these decisions.
High representatives designated by all partners involved, using existing studies, expertises and
experiences, will elaborate together a coordinated set of measures in favour of modal shift and will
assess their potential impact on land planning and economic development.
The AER, the CoR, the Regions, local authorities and other economic partners will plan the
necessary studies and meetings during the year 2007 to discuss these measures and propose them to
the governments and to the European Union at the beginning of 2008.