Updated: 22/01/2024

Chapter 21 - Trans-European Networks


The purpose of Trans-European Networks (TEN) policy is to integrate an interoperable European infrastructure in the areas of Transport, Energy and Telecommunication The establishment and development of Trans-European Networks and the promotion of proper interconnection and interoperability of national networks aim to take full advantage of the internal market and to contribute to economic growth and the creation of employment in the European Union.

The EU’s Trans-European Networks (TENs) policy links regional and national infrastructure to create coherent European systems. It is expected that the TEN policy will improve efficiency and effectiveness in the following issues; 

  • Economic and social integration
  • Free movement of people, goods and services
  • Development in less favoured regions
  • Limiting environmental impacts
  • Contacts with neighbouring countries
  • Competitive energy production and supply
  • Renewable energy production
  • Efficient and secure energy supply

As an EU policy, the trans-European networks (TENs) – in transport, energy and telecommunication – have existed since Maastricht Treaty 1993. The purpose of Trans-European Networks (TEN) policy is defined as “to integrate an interoperable European infrastructure in the areas of Transport, Energy and Telecommunication, and in this regard to identify technical standards and priority projects of common interest and develop financing instruments for the implementation of these infrastructure projects.”

As for the TEN-T policy, a corridor approach has been adopted for infrastructure projects since the Transport Infrastructure Needs Assessment Studies of 1990’s. In this regard, TEN-T indicative maps and TEN-T freight and passenger corridors were identified. Within the context of TEN-T Core Network, 9 main corridors are identified for priority funding: 1. Atlantic Corridor 2. Baltic-Adriatic Corridor 3. Mediterranean Corridor 4. North Sea-Baltic Corridor 5. North Sea-Mediterranean 6. East-Med Corridor 7. Rhine-Alpine Corridor 8. Rhine-Danube Corridor, 9. Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor

2001 White paper on transport, called as ‘European transport policy for 2010: time to decide’ proposes some measures aimed at developing a European transport system capable of shifting the balance between modes of transport and overcoming the bottlenecks and cross-border and intermodal connection problems. In order to overcome the connectivity problems, TEN-T Guidelines were revised and it was decided that the investments would focus on intermodal connection projects. Furthermore, with White Paper 2001 TEN-T financing ratio was increased from 10% to 20%. In this regard, it was aimed at developing a European transport system capable of shifting the balance between modes of transport, revitalising the railways, promoting transport by sea and inland waterways and controlling the growth in air transport.

2011 White Paper on Transport “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system” identifies priority as tripling of current high speed railway lines by 2050 and completion of European high speed railway network, thereby shifting medium distance passenger traffic to rail transport and connecting all core network airports by rai by 2050.

On 14 December 2021, a proposal was adopted by the European Commission for the revision of the TEN-T Regulation (EU) No.1315/2013 of 11 December 2013 and TEN-E Regulation No. (EU) 347/2013 of 17 April 2013. After the Russia-Ukraine War, the Commission adopted an amended proposal on 27 July 2022. The revision process for the regulation is currently underway.

A 3-layer approach and deadlines for the completion of the TEN-T network have been set. The core network should be completed by 2030, newly added extended core network by 2040 and comprehensive network by 2050.

Within the scope of the proposal, it is planned to introduce higher speeds for railway transport services on the TEN-T network and maximum waiting times at borders of 15 minutes for rail freight. Also it is aimed to guarantee good navigation status per river basin on the inland waterways on the TEN-T network.

Furthermore, it is aimed to establish an environmentally friendly TEN-T network compatible with digital technologies. The charging and refuelling infrastructure needed for alternative transport fuels in line with the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation will be required to be deployed across the TEN-T network. In this context Member States must ensure sufficient charging capacity for cars, vans and trucks at 60 kilometres distance in each direction by 2025 on the core network and by 2030 for the extended core and comprehensive networks. Safe and secure parking areas will be developed on the core and extended core road network of TEN-T every 150 km until 2040. This measure is key to ensure the safety and appropriate working conditions of professional drivers.

Finally, it is aimed to ensure that, 424 cities identified in the new TEN-T regulation develop a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) to improve infrastructure for public transport, walking and cycling.and to promote zero-emission mobility.

TEN-E is designed to contribute to the development of internal market, improvement of security of supply and social cohesion. The priorities in order to actualize TEN-E are given in the following: improvement of interconnections between Member States and between Member States and third countries, transmission and transportation of natural gas to new regions, creating non-isolated natural gas and electricity networks, increasing the storage capacity and increasing security of supply.

In the framework of the proposal for TEN-E, 11 priority corridors and 3 priority thematic areas are defined to be developed, decarbonization of the infrastructure categories to be supported is underlined, and additionally the proposal focused on offshore renewable energy, hydrogen infrastructure and smart grids.



The Trans-European Networks (TEN) chapter is composed of three subtitles as transport, energy and telecommunications.

The main scope of the TEN-Transport (TEN-T) is to construct physical infrastructure of the “Single European Transport Area” in order to facilitate the transport services of goods, persons and services among the Member States. In order to pursue this objective, TEN-T policy adopts the following principles; 

  • Network approach for all infrastructure investments,
  • Interconnection of the different transport modes and establishment of intermodal nodes to improve intermodality,
  • Implementation of common technical standards for existing and planned investments,
  • Maximum use of intelligent transport systems (ITS) in order to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the new infrastructure.

The aim of the TEN-Energy networks is to provide the establishment of the necessary gas pipelines for the transmission of energy resources in the Caspian, Middle East and North Africa regions to the European markets and electricity networks for the trading of electricity between Member States and candidate countries and ensure that these interconnections can work in coordination.

Finally, the purpose of the TEN-telecommunications (TEN-Telecom) is composing a Europe-wide integrated telecommunication network and information society.

The main EU-wide instruments of the TEN policy are presented below:

  1. Trans-European Transport Network: Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network and repealing Decision No 661/2010/EU
  2. Trans-European Energy Network: Regulation (EU) No 347/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2013 on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure and repealing Decision No 1364/2006/EC and amending Regulations (EC) No 713/2009, (EC) No 714/2009 and (EC) No 715/2009 Text with EEA relevance
  3. Connecting Europe Facility (CEF): Regulation (EU) 2021/1153 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 July 2021 establishing the Connecting Europe Facility and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1316/2013 and (EU) No 283/2014
  4. Connecting Europe Facility for TEN-T: Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1649 Of 8 July 2016 Supplementing Regulation (EU) No 1316/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council Establishing the Connecting Europe Facility



The explanatory meeting for the Trans-European Chapter was held on June 30, 2006 and the detailed screening meeting was held on September 29, 2006. With the letter dated 27 June 2007 of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council, Türkiye was found eligible for the negotiations and was invited to present her Negotiating Position Paper for the chapter. There were no opening criteria for this chapter. With the EU-Türkiye Intergovernmental Conference held on December 19, 2007, the Trans-European Chapter was opened to negotiations.

With regard to the Trans-European Networks Chapter, there is one technical benchmark: two criteria were envisaged for the closing of the Chapter to negotiations. “Türkiye and the European Commission have agreed on the future TEN-T network according to the Decision 1692/96/EC as amended and Türkiye and the European Commission have agreed on a priority project of European Interest in the framework of this TEN-T network.”

For the accomplishment of the technical benchmark, “Halkalı-Kapıkule Ankara-Sivas-Kars Railway Line Project” has been agreed as the “European Interest” priority project and the project has been confirmed in a meeting held by the European Commission and Türkiye on January 26, 2010 in Brussels. The Commission letter of 18 March 2011 informed Türkiye that technical benchmark of the Chapter 21 on Trans-European Networks was met.

On the other hand, the EU adopted the new TEN-T Guidelines by the end of 2013. In this context, Türkiye revised its Comprehensive network and prepared a Core Network in accordance with the new TEN-T Guidelines. Türkiye’s revised networks were approved during the High Level Ministerial Meeting held in July 2016 in Rotterdam.

8 subcommittees have been established by the Association Council Decision No. 3/2000 on 11 April 2000 to monitor progress with the priorities of the accession partnership and approximation of legislation. The subcommittees do not have any decision making power. The last meeting of Subcommittee No. 6 on Transport, Environment, Energy and Trans-European Networks was held online on 14-15-16 November 2023.



Trans- European Transport Networks (TEN-T)

In this framework, in line with the EU Acquis, the Transport Infrastructure Needs Assessment (TINA) study and on the basis of the TINA study the “TEN-T Document” was prepared. With the TINA study, a priority projects of Türkiye in order for better connection with the European infrastructure were identified.

The infrastructure projects aimed at construction of Türkiye’s own core network strengthening Türkiye’s connection with the EU were implemented within the context of Transport Operational Programme (OP) under IPA (2007-2013) as well as IPA II (2014-2020). In this regard, the projects falling under the Transport Operational Program were prioritized according to the TINA study. Following projects are prepared to be considered for IPA funding:

Projects Completed:

  • Rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Köseköy-Gebze section of the Ankara-Istanbul High Speed Railway Line
  • Rehabilitation and signalization of the Irmak-Karabük-Zonguldak
  • Samsun – Kalın Railway Line Project

Ongoing Projects:

  • Construction of Çerkezköy - Kapıkule Section of Halkalı - Kapıkule Railway Line : The total length of the Halkalı-Kapıkule Railway Line Project is 229 km and the construction of the 153 km Çerkezköy-Kapıkule section of the Project is supported by IPA funds. This project, which is described as "Green Rails", will connect Türkiye to Europe with its route extending to the Bulgarian border when completed. The project, which is defined as the largest investment project of the EU –Türkiye cooperation, will form an important part of the Iron Silk Road that will eventually connect Asia to Europe. 74% of the fund allocated to the transport sector during IPA II period.


Trans-European Energy Networks (TEN-E)

EU aims to strengthen and integrate cross border electricity and natural gas networks. Given the geostrategic location of Türkiye between East and West energy markets, great importance is attached to the realization of such infrastructure projects.

Türkiye and the EU attach great importance to the realization of the Southern Gas Corridor project which envisages the transportation of Caspian natural gas resources to Europe. The realization of the Southern Gas Corridor aims to contribute to the energy security of both Türkiye and the European Union. Türkiye is considered one of the main players in the Southern Gas Corridor projects, which aim to diversify energy supply routes and sources and, thereby, increase energy security of the European countries.

EU focuses on four main targets regarding Southern Gas Corridor:

  • To establish physical connection between the Caspian natural gas resources and Europe
  • To increase security of supply and to minimize the risks from energy crisis such as Ukraine-Russian crisis 2009
  • To reduce the risks associated with transit
  • To increase competitiveness in wholesale trade

Within this context, the natural gas connection studies between Türkiye and the EU are ongoing in order to increase energy trade. The geostrategic location of Türkiye increases its importance as an energy bridge between countries which produce and consume natural gas.

Projects such as Türkiye - Greece Natural Gas Pipeline, Baku - Tbilisi - Ceyhan, Kerkuk - Yumurtalık oil pipelines, TANAP, TürkAkım are in operation.

In the context of the studies for the completion of the legal framework and overcoming technical problems for the realization of electricity trade between Türkiye and the European Union, TEIAS (Turkish Electricity Transmission Company) parallel trial interconnection with ENTSO-E’s (European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity) synchronous zone Continental Europe started successfully on September 18, 2010. Limited commercial electricity trade was being performed successfully between Türkiye, Greece and Bulgaria. On September 2013, ENTSO-E announced the success of the trial parallel operation phase and as a conclusion of effective and disciplinary performance, paved the way towards permanent synchronous interconnection between ENTSO-E CESA and Turkish Power System. In this context, the Long Term Agreement which specifies the procedures of the permanent synchronous interconnection between TEİAŞ and ENTSO-E is signed on April 15, 2015 in Brussels. With the signature of the agreement, permanent interconnection between TEİAŞ-ENTSO-E is achieved. Turkish Transmission System Operator, TEİAŞ has joined ENTSO-E as an observer member with an agreement signed on January 14, 2016. In October 2018, TEİAŞ applied to continue as an observer member of the ENTSO-E. The Observer Membership Agreement was signed in Brussels on 13 December 2022. This agreement will run for a period of three years taking effect on 1 January 2023.



Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure

Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources

Transport Operational Program

Delegation of the European Union to Türkiye

European Commission – Directorate General for Mobility and Transport 

European Commission Innovation and Networks Executive Agency  

European Commission – Trans-European Transport Network 

European Commission – Trans-European Transport Network Legal Basis  

Guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure


Updated: 22/01/2024 / Hit: 82,460