The Silk Road of the 21st century : Europe-Caucasus-Asia Transport Corridor.


EU helps to mobilise investments

The TRACECA Investment Forum aims to attract investment for transport infrastructure in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Improving partners’ infrastructure, in particular their transport networks, leads to better interconnection and safer and more reliable transport services, with a clear impact on living conditions and economic growth both in the partner countries and in the EU.

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Brussels, 28 February 2012 – Today the European Commission hosts the Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA) Investment Forum to help attract investments into transport infrastructure between the EU and Central Asia. The high level conference brings together representatives of the international donor community and the countries in TRACECA to discuss potential funding for priority projects.

Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, commented: “An efficient transport system is the backbone of effective regional integration. Our Eastern neighbours, who link the Black and the Caspian Seas to China and beyond, could benefit from stronger transport infrastructure and services, in order to help them reach their full potential in their economic and trade relations with the EU.”

Vice-President Siim Kallas, European Commissioner responsible for Mobility and Transport, added: “Our experience in developing transport corridors and making sure that high transport safety, security and social standards are applied, can be shared with our partner countries. Better connections benefit passengers and operators both in the EU and our partner countries.”

12 projects will be presented at the Forum to potential donors and investors interested in logistics centres and road, rail, maritime and aviation transport. Improving the current border crossing procedures, which can hamper the smooth flow of goods and people, will also be discussed.

The TRACECA Investment Forum aims to attract investment for transport infrastructure in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Improving partners’ infrastructure, in particular their transport networks, leads to better interconnection and safer and more reliable transport services, with a clear impact on living conditions and economic growth both in the partner countries and in the EU. Improving connections with the Trans-European Transport network is also one of the objectives of the Eastern Partnership transport cooperation.

Facts and figures on the TRACECA programme

TRACECA is a transport cooperation programme among 12 countries in the Black Sea, Eastern Partnership and Central Asia regions. With a permanent Secretariat in Azerbaijan, it covers the areas of maritime transport, aviation, road and rail, transport security, and transport infrastructure. Initially started in 1993 as a programme funded by the European Union, TRACECA also aims to strengthen economic relations, trade and transport links between the countries.

Up to now, the EU has supported this cooperation with technical assistance with a total of almost €170 million for 80 projects, which since 2004 have mostly focused on transport safety and security, legal harmonisation initiatives, trade facilitation and institutional support.

TRACECA framework

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The Europe-Caucasus-Asia Transport Corridor (TRACECA) is an EU programme, launched in 1993, to develop a transport corridor from Europe to China, via the Black Sea, the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea. The development of the TRACECA corridor is also based on the Basic Multilateral Agreement signed in 1998 by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.

The main aim of the TRACECA programme is to strengthen economic relations, trade and transport links between the EU and the programme’s participating countries.

Up to now, the EU has supported this programme with technical assistance of almost €170 million for 80 projects, which, since 2004, have mostly been focused on areas such as improving transport safety and security, as well as putting in place the changes in legislation needed to improve trade in the region.

EU support to safety and security in transport has resulted in the adoption of a TRACECA Regional Action Strategy on Maritime Safety and Security and an Environmental Protection and a Regional Road Safety Action Plan in November 2011.

Support for trade facilitation and logistics led to the selection of potential hubs and pilot projects for logistics centres (centres for planning, organisation, management, control and execution of freight transport operations in the supply chain). Pilot projects have also been selected for ‘Motorways of the Seas’ – major maritime routes offering the possibility of high-quality scheduled services which, combined with other modes of transport, guarantee shorter and quicker access to certain outlying regions. The Motorways of the Sea play an important role in restructuring long-distance freight transport and improving its sustainability.

To further support infrastructure development and to help to attract investment from public and private sector sources, the first TRACECA Investment Forum was held in Brus­sels in October 2010. At the Forum, five road rehabilitation projects, four railway construc­tion projects and three port projects were presented to potential investors.

As a result of the Forum, four projects are currently in the process of being reviewed to see if they are suitable for loans or are being closely followed by international financial institutions, two have been financed by national Governments and several countries are in investment negotiations.

Projects that found investors at the Forum include the modernisation of a highway around Zestafoni (Georgia), which the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank are all interested in supporting. Another example is the rehabilitation of the port of Ilyichevsk in Ukraine.

Examples of ongoing TRACECA programme projects

Transport Dialogue and Networks Interoperability

This project aims to strengthen political and transport dialogue, support the implementation of the TRACECA Multilateral Agreement Long Term Strategy; and contribute to the development of regional investment plans for transport infrastructure. It will also ensure effective coordination with international financial institutions, in order to identify those TRACECA projects that have the greatest potential in terms of making the rail system more safe and allowing the uninterrupted movement ofvehicles – helping to achieve the required levels of performance for transport corridors) and improve transport network development as a result.

Project results to date:

The project organised the first TRACECA Investment Forum in October 2010 and is currently organising the second Forum which will be held in Brussels on the 28 February, 2012.

Other project activities include a series of country training sessions on the use of the TRACECA geographic information system (GIS) database and models on traffic flows. Support has also been provided for investment appraisal and project prioritisation techniques, which have been used to define the projects presented at the first and second TRACECA Investment Forums.

Logistics Processes and Motorways of the Seas

The overall objective of the project is to contribute to the long-term sustainable development of logistics and transport along the TRACECA corridor. The project will implement strategies to integrate different modes of transport (road, rail and sea) along the major maritime routes (so-called Motorways of the Seas), helping to offer high-quality scheduled services.

Project results to date:

Following on the work of previous projects on Motorways of the Seas in the Black and Caspian Seas and on logistics centres along the TRACECA corridor, the project has focused to date on the definition of the Action Plan for the implementation of the Motorways of the Seas projects in the Black and Caspian Seas.

Land Transport Safety and Security

This project aims to increase land transport safety and security, in particular the European Agreement concerning the work of Crews of Vehicles engaged in International Road Transport (AETR) and the use of a digital tachograph (a digital tool fitted in road vehicles to enable make sure that professional drivers and transport comply with social road transport legislation) on the one hand, and on the other the elaboration of a Regional Road Safety Action Plan in the TRACECA countries.

Project results to date:

The Regional Road Safety Action Plan was drawn up and adopted by the TRACECA countries at the last Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) meeting in November 2011.

Civil aviation safety and security

The objective of the project is to support the sustainable development of civil aviation in the TRACECA countries, harmonise regulations and working practices to comply with international standards (ICAO), international best practices and prepare for the implementation of international standards and EU regulations concerning security, air traffic management and the environment.

Project results to date:

The project began in February 2012 and builds on what has been achieved in a previous civil aviation project. The previous project supported the improvement of aviation safety, security and environment management systems. It also contributed to developing legislation, institutions and technical conditions for aviation safety and security. Finally, it led to the development of regional management and monitoring systems in line with the requirements of ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) and the EU.

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