The opinion addresses simplification of administrative authorisations, permit granting rules and other regulatory procedures in order to facilitate the TEN-T completion. It also focuses on the problems cross-border projects encounter in relation to public procurement and permit granting procedures.
On 16 November 2018 the progress report of the Council Working Party on Transport highlighted that "the proposal's compatibility with the principle of subsidiarity was questioned by a number of Member States." They also questioned, "how a single competent authority at national level in charge of the permit-granting procedures was to be implemented in practice and what impact it would have on local and regional authorities". The CoR opinion has highlighted this tricky question of creating yet another layer that should be unique for all countries, irrespective of their internal institutional set-up.
On 13 February 2019, the EP adopted its position. The most important similarity with the CoR opinion is that it introduces the possibility for a Member State to delegate the competence (of a single competent authority) to a more appropriate level, as long as the principle of 'single point of contact' is observed.
On 4 March 2019, the European Parliament Research Service (EPRS) published a study on the subject, highlighting the CoR opinion's position that "a tailor-made approach should be possible where Member States already have streamlined procedures in place". This is in line with the above position expressed by the European Parliament.
On 2 December 2019, the Council adopted a general approach, changing the legal nature of the proposal from a regulation to a directive, to give Member States more flexibility. The draft directive would cover projects that are part of pre-identified cross-border links and missing links of the TEN-T core network. This was one of the key suggestions of the report, that the legislative proposal should apply to cross-border sections on the TEN-T.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- underlines that the completion of the TEN-T core and comprehensive network is the key to ensuring territorial cohesion, making all regions more accessible and boosting the economic development of peripheral and cross-border regions;
- welcomes the proposal of the Commission, in the context of speeding up the implementation of the TEN-T network and achieving the Paris agreement objectives. It is also very important for harmonising procedure and technical standards and increasing interoperability;
- would like to stress the importance of streamlining procedures inter alia in border regions;
- suggests that instead of applying the proposed procedure to all TEN-T projects, the regulation should specify which projects fall under its application. Member States should, for example, be allowed to decide what projects fall under the regulation;
- recalls that administrative burden must not be simplified and reduced at the expense of subsidiarity and proportionality. Tailor-made approaches should be possible if a Member State already has streamlined procedures in place;
- welcomes the intention of the proposal to facilitate cross-border cooperation for the development of transport links, to remove missing links.