Conclusions Week XXIV Road

Pamplona, ​​October 17 2002.- In the context of economic globalization and macroeconomic and budgetary stability that Spain is living, transport infrastructure are an essential for the full functioning of the internal market, as well as a basic instrument which contributes to achieving the objectives of real convergence and full employment, main objectives of the government's economic policy. They also constitute the essential instrument for the integration of spaces, both national and regional levels as a community, as well as structuring and land element, allowing, in turn, improve the competitiveness of economic agents and sectors.

Within this context, good cross-border connections are necessary, especially when there are geographic, technical, social, environmental or administrative barriers between neighboring states that hinder or impose restrictions on the freedom of movement of persons and goods, contravening two main objectives the Treaty of Rome and the White Paper on the completion of the Internal Market in 1992 already revealed in the year 1985.

This is the case of the Iberian Peninsula, and specifically that of Spain, where the Pyrenees, which already itself and by its geographical characteristics isolates us from the rest of Europe, increasing the degree of remoteness of our territory, constitutes Moreover a physical barrier that, for lack of appropriate to the needs of traffic connections, both current and future, prevents or hinders trade relations with our community partners, increasing transport costs and making them less competitive our companies in European markets . Also it hampers growing transit traffic from Africa, across the Maghreb, whose relations with the European Union are increasingly close.

This is not a personal opinion. The White Paper itself on the Common Transport Policy on the horizon 2010, repeatedly mentioned throughout these days, is evidenced clearly and forcefully, to devote a specific section to the permeability of the Pyrenees, proposing some measures aimed at improving access and pirenaicas connections, although it is true that all of them are aimed at the strengthening of rail as a means of achieving a more equitable distribution and rebalanced traffic between different modes of transport and contribute to reducing the current problems congestion particular road.

This approach of the European Union to provide greater permeability of the Pyrenees is closely linked with its policy of Trans-European Networks, intended to structure the physical and economic space of the European Space. And the main objectives lie in promoting the interconnection and interoperability of national networks, access to them and ensuring the links of peripheral regions to central Community.

As noted by the General Rapporteur of this XXIV Week Highway, Prof. López Corral, both in the presentation contained in the program and its interventions, one of the main policies being developed by the Ministry of Public Works today is the boost trans-European networks, so it has been totally appropriate by the organizers of this week Highway choosing the theme -Roads fOR a NEW GEOGRAPHY; INTEGRATION OF ECONOMIC AND SPACE and the choice of venue for celebration, Navarra region bordering France, who suffers from a strongly negative border effect on its economy and that it is necessary to resolve the utmost urgency by road communications high capacity with its French neighboring regions. This fact does not attempt to downplay the problems and needs of the other three border Spanish regions with France largely as has been exhibited throughout the conference, they are similar to those of Navarra and also require solutions short term.

The presence and interventions of the Secretary of State for Infrastructure of the Ministry of Public Works, the Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications of the Government of Navarra, the Directors-General in charge of the transport infrastructure of the four border regions, representatives of the governments of France, Portugal and Morocco, and a representation of the business sector endorse the foregoing: the opportunity of the subject matter of the Week Road and the interest aroused by the same meets the need that has raised the Iberian peninsula and in particular , our country, to improve and increase links with Europe through the Pyrenees, making it more permeable and accessible.

Over these three days they have addressed many and varied topics of various kinds: political, financial, technical, environmental, road safety, etc., which have been developed by experts from various sectors and administrations and whose content, interest and how to be treated, can consult at any time in the Book of Acts.

In order not to prolong my speech, and because I think all of you. Have followed with great interest the interventions of the speakers and can draw their own conclusions, I'll just refer to some points I think, from my point of view, important.

1. It is clear that there is a problem of lack of connections of the Iberian peninsula with the rest of Europe through the Pyrenees leading to the presence of congestion problems, difficult to solve in the short term, which hinder the mobility of people and goods in cross-border and intra-Community level as well as in relations with African countries, particularly those from the Maghreb. The results presented that reflect the latest reports by Observatories Hispano-Luso and Hispanic -French evidenced.

2. As a result, comes the need to improve and expand existing links through the Pyrenees and open new accesses, not only rail but also carters, high capacity, enabling absorb current traffic and sharp increases that They expect to achieve in the next ten years, as the recent White Paper states on the future transport policy

3. The main difficulties in solving this problem stem from the fact that when dealing with cross-border projects through areas with large orographic difficulties and usually subject to environmental protection, require heavy investment and the prior approval of the central governments of Spain and France; all this without the opposition present environmental groups to such projects.

4. The Spanish position in this regard is to bet that the Spanish transport networks are fully integrated into the trans-European networks, at the same time they are completed with the help of major investment effort to develop the country in the first decade of 2000. On the horizon of the decade there will be seven high-capacity connections with Portugal and six hits in the same category with France through the Pyrenees. Connections with Morocco will always have guaranteed the passage of the port to a high-capacity road and often also with the railroad.

5. The economic efforts being made by the Spanish Government, specifically the Ministry of Development, to complete their transport networks and integrate them into the Trans-European Transport Network is considerable as evidenced by the level of investment to mobilize in the period 2000- 2010 103 to reach one billion euros 1999. However, in order to carry out the Plan of Infrastructure and maintain the pace of investment it is necessary to resort to private funding that will absorb about 20% of the total investment.

6. To this end, they have been orchestrating new funding systems, both extrabudgetary and budgetary, but with deferment, which has incorporated the Draft Law Regulating the Public Works Concession Contract, under parliamentary procedure. Throughout the conference it has special interest in the new figure of securitization of tolls, as well as the modalities of the shadow toll being applied in different autonomous communities.

7. Within the framework of private participation in the provision and financing of transport infrastructure, in particular within the concession system, is of particular importance the analysis of risks and their allocation to the different actors involved in the process, since a misallocation of them or assumption of guarantees by the government may adversely affect the National Accounts, according to the SEC (95) Eurostat standards, helping to increase the public deficit.

8. Faced with the Spanish position mentioned above, the French is rather poor receptivity to new roads, as the excessive centralization of the French administration does not play for regional development of transboundary territories. It is arguable that there is no clear political will to connect with the Spanish network; In this sense, the French administration, which committed itself intermodality, sees no clear link Pamplona-Orthez, in contrast, however, with reports of the Working Community of the Pyrenees that does support the project. This shows, once again, the lack of political will of the French government to any approach to Spain.

9. On the contrary, the Portuguese connections are in very advanced stage, you still finished five of them and two others were auctioned soon.

10. The European Commission, as evidenced by the White Paper, like the European Parliament, are aware of the problems and delays that are occurring cross-border connections, especially in cases of the Pyrenees and the Alps, which condition the termination Trans-European Transport Network, basic for the full functioning of the Internal Market. However, given prevailing the principle of subsidiarity, the role the Commission can play to promote and accelerate cross-border projects to the different approaches in this respect are the Member States, it is limited to give some economic aid under the totally inadequate and propose and support forms of collaboration between states and the Union towards the creation of binational companies, associations European Economic Interest grouping (EEIG), etc., to provide certain guarantees to boost those TEN budget line projects.

11. There is some concern on the part of the Commission and the European Parliament by the recent opposition of the Council to the proposal submitted by the Commission on the expansion of Essen priority projects, a total of six, among which are the new rail access of the Pyrenees and the high-speed rail link Nîmes-Montpellier and the opposition to increase co-financing from the budget TEN should move from 10% to 20% of the project investment.

12. There is general consensus that, while it is necessary and appropriate to create a new railway central access in accordance with the proposal of the Commission, such access will not be enough to solve the problems existing traffic today and in the next 10 years mainly because it is a project that will require lengthy maturation, hopefully, over 20 years for entering operation. For this reason, it advocates that this project is accompanied by another series of road access projects that allow communication between the different trans-Pyrenean regions.

13. It is noteworthy that this year, the Working Community of the Pyrenees adopted a proposal Scheme Pirenaicas infrastructure, both road and rail, compatible with the Infrastructure Plan of the Ministry of Public Works and guidelines of the European Commission, capable of solving the problems of trans-Pyrenean connections and to absorb the sharp increase in traffic in the coming years. It would be desirable, therefore, to establish a broad institutional Pact trans-Pyrenean communications that would link the European Union, the French and Spanish states and regions affected wings.

14. Within this scenario, Navarra, along with the French department of Pyrenees-Atlantiques, developed within the framework previously outlined a proposal for a new road of high capacity between Pamplona and Orthez, through the millennial passage of Roncesvalles, would constitute a new Western Pyrenean access, complementary and at the same time, the only current alternative way of Irun-Hendaya that currently presents major problems of congestion.

15. Meanwhile, Aragon, which, of course, bet on the new railway passage of large capacity with low elevation tunnel, according to the proposal from the Commission, does not get favorable response to its demands from the French regions continue dilating the opening of the Somport pass and the Canfranc railway, claiming environmental impacts of the Pyrénées National Park.

16. As regards environmental impacts, very complex and controversial in the case of the Pyrenees theme, the implementation of corrective measures and "ad hoc", from the planning phase and project, following during the execution of the works, and culminating in the holding period allows encardinar especially valid formulas for environmental integration of infrastructure. In particular, in the Pyrenees Navarro analysis of possible corridors that could accommodate infrastructure, following the studies initiated in 1993, to identify areas where it is possible to reconcile the new infrastructure to acceptable environmental condition, such as broker Roncesvalles-Valcarlos . It is also imperative need corrective action quickly address the noise impact, meeting the recent EU directive on the assessment and management of environmental noise.

17. In most of the new access, the only way to provide adequate continuity to the trans-European routes of communication is the construction and opening of new border tunnels, some of which can be very long. In this regard it should be noted that the accident rate in tunnels, globally, has been, and is, very low throughout its history, undeniable reality that has been blurred by accidents in the Alpine tunnels in recent years . It should be added that, in addition, there are contractual and technology to provide very secure tunnels procedures and therefore members in road networks.

18. , Both Spanish and French, business organizations primarily providing activities in the Pyrenees regions, demand new and better access to enable them to increase their trade and access to EU markets under better conditions of competitiveness, and to absorb traffic increases which will result in the integration of Peco's countries as well as offset, as far as possible the effects caused by moving the center of gravity of Europe to the East.

19. To this end, business organizations expressed their willingness to work together to create common economic interests and reach agreements with Spanish financial and business groups, the French and the rest of the European Union to provide solutions to the problems posed by pirenaicas connections, in collaboration with the Ministry of Development and regional governments concerned.

Rafael Izquierdo Bartholomew
Professor of Transport at the Polytechnic University of Madrid

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