Political leaders and business people from Catalonia, Valencia, Murcia, and Balearic Islands push the EU for the Mediterranean Railway Corridor
The Catalan President Artur Mas has asked the European Union “not to forget about a land that feels European and needs deeper and closer ties with Europe” in the ‘FERRMED Trans-European Cluster Conference’ in Brussels. Previously he has met with the Vice President of the European Commission, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship, Antonio Tajani. The Mediterranean Railway Corridor would directly link Central and Northern Europe with Spanish ports and subsequently North Africa.
Brussels (ACN).- The political and economic sectors of Catalonia, the Valencian Community, the Region of Murcia, the Balearic Islands and Eastern Andalusian provinces are combining forces in Brussels for the inclusion of the Mediterranean Railway Corridor in the European Union\u2019s priority list for the next number of years. They have all met in the \u2018FERRMED Trans-European Cluster Conference\u2019, together with business representatives from Central and Northern Europe and the European Union institutions. They defend the urgent need to build a railway corridor, for goods transportation and high-speed passenger trains that would directly link Gibraltar to Lyon, Düsseldorf or Stockholm passing along Spain\u2019s Mediterranean coast, where true gateways to North Africa are located. It would be a key asset for the Spanish and European economies. If it were included among the European Transport Networks, it would receive EU funds that would pay 10% of its cost; in total the works would last 9 years and cost 50 billion euros. The European Commission has to release the final list before October 19th. However, the Spanish Government needs to ask for it and at the moment it is not prioritising the project because it is also pushing to include in the list the Central Railway Corridor passing through Madrid, the Castilian plains, and Aragon. The Catalan President, Artur Mas, stated that \u201Cresources are very scarce and precisely because of this they need to be invested better than ever [\u2026]\u201D in the best areas to generate wealth and profits that can later be shared. He asked the European Union \u201Cnot to forget about a land that feels European and needs deeper and closer ties with Europe\u201D. On Wednesday morning he met with the Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, Antonio Tajani.
In the current times of financial difficulties, the FERRMED association and politicians and business people from Catalonia, Valencia, Murcia, Andalusia, and the Balearic Islands are asking to prioritise and ensure the funds to build the most urgent and essential infrastructural project: the Mediterranean Railway Corridor. The Presidents of four Spanish Autonomous Communities, presidents of chambers of commerce and business associations, and representatives from European cities such as Geneva, Lyon, Rotterdam and Stockholm all met to defend in a united front the urgent need to build this railway infrastructure. In an unusual alliance, the Presidents of Catalonia, Artur Mas, the Valencian Community, Alberto Fabra, the Region of Murcia, Ramón Luís Valcárcel, and the Balearic Islands, José Ramón Bauzá, who are from different political parties, all travelled to Brussels to ask the EU to include the Mediterranean Corridor among its priorities for the next number of years. \u201COur agreement is so strong and our objective so important that today we are all in Brussels to work together, instead of being in Spain fighting against each other because we have elections in two months time\u201D, explained the Catalan President Artur Mas. The mayors of significant cities through which the FERRMED axis would go also attended the conference, such as Barcelona\u2019s Mayor Xavier Trias.
\u201CThe Corridor cannot be built away from the maritime roads\u201D stated the Catalan President
Mas asked the EU \u201Cnot to forget about a land that feels European and needs deeper and closer ties with Europe\u201D. He also reminded them the need to build infrastructural projects where they can bring the most to the economy, especially in times of economic difficulties. \u201CThis time we cannot be left out\u201D of the list, he stated, as the Mediterranean Corridor had not been previously included in the EU Transport Networks because the Spanish Government had given priority to another option going through the middle of the Iberian Peninsula. However, Mas insisted that \u201Cthe Corridor cannot be built away from the maritime roads, it needs to go in parallel to the sea highways, because using sea ports means transporting [goods] in a cheaper, faster, cleaner and more competitive way\u201D.
The Mediterranean Corridor would pass through areas where 60% of Spain\u2019s exports come from
The train corridor would be built in international-width standard and would link Spain\u2019s main sea ports, and industrial and tourist centres such as Barcelona, Tarragona, Valencia, Málaga and Algeciras, with the rest of Europe. The Catalan President pointed out in Brussels that Catalonia, Valencia, the Balearic Islands, Murcia, and the Eastern Andalucian provinces \u201Crepresent half of Spain\u2019s population and wealth\u201D, and they are connected with South-East Asian and North African ports.
Catalonia, the Valencian Community, the Balearic Islands and Murcia are home to 40% of Spain\u2019s population, 40% of its GDP, 50% of its agricultural production, 55% of the industrial production, almost 60% of land goods transportation, more than 65% of sea goods traffic, 60% of exports, and 60% of international tourists visiting Spain. In fact, the corridor would not only be used for freight transportation. It would also include a high-speed train service for passengers, linking Spain\u2019s main tourist resorts among them as well as with important airports \u2013such as Barcelona\u2013 and sea ports.
The Catalan President visits Brussels for the third time in nine months
This Wednesday\u2019s visit to Brussels was Artur Mas\u2019 third visit to the European capital in the nine months he has been in office. Before the FERRMED conference, Mas met with the Vice President of the European Commission, who is also the Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, Antoni Tajani, from Italy. In previous visits, Mas met with the Commission\u2019s President José Manuel Barroso and with the European Council President Herman Van Rompuy. Mas explained to Tajani the need for the Mediterranean Corridor to boost Catalan exports, but also to facilitate European exports and imports. Tajani and Mas discussed the current situation of the Catalan industrial and export sectors, which are leading the economic recovery. They also talked about the high unemployment figures and the Catalan Government\u2019s policies to balance the budget and fight the deficit.