The Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC) is a term applied in an Irish context to the Atlantic seaboard region. Elements of the AEC are currently on the TEN-T core and comprehensive network, though the AEC as a concept was never included on the TEN-T network.
In April 2019, the European Commission commenced the review of the TEN-T network with an evaluation of the existing TEN-T Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013. The main objectives for the Commission in revising the TEN-T Regulation are to:
- Ensure the completion of the core network by 2030 and comprehensive network by 2050;
- Make the EU's transport systems green, digital and resilient; and
- Reinforce the infrastructure standards and quality requirements across the network.
In August 2019, my predecessor, Minister Ross, made a submission to the European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, regarding the review. While preparing this submission there was significant engagement between my Department and the AEC Taskforce to ensure the views of the AEC were incorporated.
The submission outlined significant national developments since the TEN-T Regulation came into force in 2013, particularly the National Planning Framework and National Development Plan, and the implications of Brexit on Ireland's international connectivity. The submission requested that consideration be given by the European Commission to including the Atlantic Economic Corridor region of Ireland on the core network, fulfilling a commitment in the 2016 Programme for Government.
A copy of that submission, and Commissioner Bulc’s reply, is available on my Department’s website at the following link:
As part of the review, the Commission is analysing the extent to which the existing Regulation is still fit for purpose and considering what adjustments, if any, may be required to address any new challenges in the European transport sector. There are a number of guiding principles for the Review, one of which is that the planning methodology, used for the design of the network adopted in 2013 remain unchanged. The Commission is expected therefore to only consider slight network adjustments on the basis of this methodology when justified through specific developments.
My Department is participating fully in the review process, engaging directly with the European Commission on a number of occasions (most recently on 19 May 2021), in order to ensure that any amendment to or revision of the TEN-T Regulation recognises the concerns of Ireland and the national policy developments that have occurred since the Regulation came into force in 2013. My Department will arrange a further bilateral with the Commission in September.
I expect the Commission to put forward a legislative proposal reviewing the TEN-T Regulation in Q4 2021, based on an impact assessment which is due for publication in Q3 2021.
In the meantime, I draw the Deputy’s attention to the Commission’s Staff Working Document on the TEN-T Guidelines evaluation which was published on 26 May 2021 and which is available on the Commission’s website at the following link: