The Barcelona Process, launched by Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers in November 1995, formed an innovative alliance based on the principles of joint ownership, dialogue and co-operation. It brings together the 27 Members of the European Union and 12 Southern Mediterranean states.
The Barcelona Declaration outlines the main objectives of the partnership: to build together an area of peace, security and shared prosperity. Progress towards this end is to be achieved by activities in the political area, the economic/financial area and the cultural/social sector.
The overall objective of the project was the development of a common approach for transport infrastructure in the MEDA area and its contribution to a better integration of transport networks in the Mediterranean area, within the policy context of the Barcelona Process of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. More specifically, the objectives were to:
- improve the transport operations with special focus on Mediterranean interoperability;
- analyse the strategic planning process both at national and international level;
- propose an action plan to improve decision making process at European and Mediterranean scale.
The basic concepts of the methodology developed by the project are the “corridor” approach and the selection of “demonstration” corridors. This methodology was supported by the collection of a wide range of information, based on specific surveys and existing data, and through consultations during organized workshops. The work has been performed through five different groups of activities as follows.
- Firstly, activities were carried out to provide a general overview of the existing transport infrastructure situation in the Mediterranean countries.
- Secondly, activities were performed to map out national and cross-border transport necessary to create a 'common transport space' spanning the Mediterranean Sea, analysing demonstration corridors selected during the workshops, with a view of providing an overview of the transport system in the region, regarding technical, operational or administrative issues.
- Thirdly, activities focused on the analysis of the integration of Mediterranean transport and intermodal chain in Euro-Mediterranean area from a demand and supply point of view. The demand approach stressed the transport needs in terms of volume and type of services for each country concerned. As to the supply approach, the project focused on the organisation of transport chains and addressed the role of transport actors, shippers and transport operators of different modes. The analysis was conducted at a micro level. Once this context was set, attention was put on the intermodal network of services within the area with differentiation between types of services. The demonstration corridors were then introduced within the network in order to benchmark the performances of corridors as part of an intermodal network in the Mediterranean with concrete examples. Recommendations for the improvement of integration of transport chain were made.
- Another group of activities reviewed the methods of assessment and evaluation used by the Mediterranean countries, and those used by EU, with a view to developing a multi-criteria assessment framework suitable for all relevant stakeholders. This framework can be used to identify priority projects involving cross-national investments for future research and transport policy analysis. The definition of criteria for priority investment and policy plans represents the first step towards the creation and subsequent consolidation of a Mediterranean Master Plan.
In general terms, the MEDA TEN-T has carried out a comprehensive analysis of the Euro-Mediterranean transport system, providing a qualitative and quantitative description of the transport sector in the Mediterranean region. The MEDA TEN-T Demonstration Corridors have allowed the assessment of the performances of this transport system against international and regional indicators, while the developed evaluation methodology has permitted to identify the main bottlenecks, the major issues to be addressed, and proposed actions for the implementation of the Strategic Master Plan in order to improve the overall efficiency of the transport sector in this region.
More in detail the main results of the project have been:
- provision of an overview of the transport infrastructure and services system in the Mediterranean, with emphasis on the integrated transport infrastructures development in the Mediterranean region;
- improvement of the interconnectivity and the interoperability between the Mediterranean countries and between the Mediterranean and the rest of the EU, in order to facilitate interaction and networking towards the establishment of a Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area;
- extension of the TEN-T network to MEDA countries through the enhancement of maritime connections (in particular, the introduction of sea-motorways) and the integration of the air network;
- development of the MEDA TEN-T Strategic Master Plan, which is a systematic procedural framework for the readjustment of transport policies by the EU and the Mediterranean countries, with the objective to overcome the barriers and enhance opportunities of transport network implementation at international, national and local levels in the Mediterranean basin.
The MEDA TEN-T process has been successful, but the work is still ongoing. Further work is necessary and technical assistance is needed for monitoring progress. In particular, it is necessary to add the missing information, which could not be provided throughout the project’s duration, in order to provide decision makers with all data they need to make their decisions concerning the future development of a complete MEDA Network. Furthermore, the Strategic Master Plan should be further developed in that it should also consider the sustainability of the transport sector in terms of protection of the environment, as well as safety and improvement of social conditions of transport users, workers and the public in general.
More specifically, suggested future actions are:
- completion of missing or insufficient data in order to support the decision making process and complete the design of the MEDA TEN-T Strategic Master Plan;
- establishment of transport sector priorities for possible investment measures using the criterion of sustainable mobility;
- encouragement of organizational and regulatory measures enhancing the Euro-Mediterranean transport network;
- monitoring of the development of the MEDA TEN-T Network and its use, providing information on progress on a regular basis;
- maintenance of the Geographical Information System (GIS) developed during the project;
- enhancement of the evaluation methodology of projects and corridors;
- creation of a Transport Observatory in the Mediterranean region to monitor transport flows, transport services, implementation of transport investments and other initiatives, as well as a list of all stakeholders for transport related activities and services.