The European Commission is determined to get the wheels of commerce turning quicker, and on Wednesday decided to appoint six co-ordinators, mostly former commissioners, to speed up 30 priority projects that are scheduled for completion by 2020.
Commission Vice President for Transport Jacques Barrot presented his team of trouble-shooters in Brussels. They will be overseeing investments of over 225 billion euros, among them projects like the Turin-Lyon high speed rail link, the Brenner tunnel, or the rail freight link between southwest France and northern Spain. Some of the 30 projects are behind schedule, and the co-ordinators will produce annual reports on their state of progress.
They are initially appointed for four years. Of particular concern is improving cross-border transport links, seen as vital for growth, especially for the EU’s newest members.
The commission has also published a proposal to open markets to competition in public transport, affecting two-thirds of the market within the next decade. It allows local authorities more freedom to choose who they want to supply them with underground systems, trams, and buses, subject to tender.