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Euro funding rules delay top TENs schemes

DELIVERY OF Europe's priority transport projects will take twice as long as planned because funding rules are hampering European Commission efforts to finance them, project finance experts said this week.

Projects are stalling because funding rules force the Commission to make one-off lump sum contributions rather than spreading them over several years.

The claim is made in a report published by management consultant PriceWaterhouseCoopers. It says the Trans European Networks (TENs) transport programme was originally scheduled to run from 1996 to 2010 but that it is now unlikely to finish before 2026.

The report points out that only 20% of the Commission's 15 year E125bn priority Trans European Networks transport schemes had been completed in the first six years of the TENs programme.

It blames rigid rules governing the Commission's contributions to projects.

'The funding that the Commission is able to commit through the TENs budget line does not reflect the long term nature of these projects, with commitment effectively being drawn out from the budget at the time they are made, ' says the report.

Relaxing the rules would make it easier for the commission to lever in long term private finance.

Commission funding could then be put towards annual performance payments made to contractors who would build, finance and operate schemes.

INFOPLUS For a full copy of the report go to www. nceplus.co.uk

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