How can Europe ensure the long-term sustainability of transport infrastructure?

Speakers: Nieminen Pia, Ayala-Sender Inés, Zylberberg Laurent, Goger Thierry, Nicodème Christophe, Horvath Roman, Viaggi Riccardo
Moderator: von Glasenapp Helmut

We are most pleased to invite you to participate in an evening of discussion on how Europe can ensure the long-term sustainability of its transport infrastructure with our distinguished speakers

  • Ms Pia Nieminen, Policy Advisor, European Investment Bank;
  • Ms Inés Ayala-Sender MEP (S&D/ES);
  • Mr Laurent Zylberberg, Director, Groupe Caisse des Dépôts;
  • Mr Thierry Goger, Secretary General, FEHRL;
  • Mr Christophe Nicodème, General Director, ERF.

Mr Roman Horvath, Policy Officer, European Commission, DG GROW, and Mr Riccardo Viaggi, Secretary General, CECE, will respectively hold an introductory speech.

The debate will be moderated by Mr Helmut von Glasenapp, Secretary General, European Long-Term Investors Association.

This event is kindly sponsored by

About the debate

Transport is the cornerstone of regional and social cohesion, as well as of the competitiveness of the EU as a global economic actor. The sector is not only an enabler of European integration and of the smooth functioning of the EU’s internal market, but it has also proved crucial for its added value to growth and jobs as a main element of the EU’s economic activity, as well as an important industrial domain in its own right. In addition, the availability and the quality of transport services have strong implications for both European industry and the EU’s choice of trading partners. Against this backdrop, the question of transport infrastructure has become essential in view of Europe’s ageing transport network, the necessity of assuring sufficient investment at the EU level in everyday needs, and for the modernisation of the Union’s transport system: all inextricably linked to the environmental and digital transformation of economy and society. To this end, the European Commission has launched the negotiations for the next Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2021-2027, which comes at a time of renewed dynamism and of great challenges for Europe.

The Connecting Europe Facility, the main funding instrument to implement European transport infrastructure policy, has confirmed the importance of infrastructure maintenance and modernisation by increasing funds for infrastructure-related investment and by creating specific allocations in the field of digital infrastructure. However, as highlighted by a European Commission discussion paper on the state of infrastructure maintenance: “while most EU member states had been steadily stepping up their transport infrastructure maintenance efforts, prior to the 2008 crisis, this trend was mostly reversed in the years since”. The analysis of spending trends in infrastructure maintenance has also revealed differing degrees of allocation by sector, namely road or rail, and by geographical location, as well as a volatile financial environment closely related to the interplay of financial and political factors in each member state. Furthermore, differences in approach stemming from diverging governance structures and methods of evaluating the state of infrastructure have highlighted the need for further convergence and common approaches at EU level.

As recognised by the Commission itself, the Union is compelled “to act decisively in the wake of the financial and economic crisis in order to lay solid foundations for a sustainable recovery”, while increasing the focus “on delivering efficiently and fairly on the things that really matter in the daily lives of citizen”. Within this context, and as highlighted by several commentators, the questions of transport, mobility and of the competitiveness of European industry cannot be considered unrelated if the long-term sustainability of both transport infrastructure and the EU economy is to be ensured.


This event will be held under the Chatham House Rule. Participants are free to use the information received but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the attendees may be revealed. For this reason, unless explicitly authorised by PubAffairs Bruxelles, the filming and/or the recording of the event by any means are strictly forbidden.

The event will commence with a welcome drink at 7.00pm, followed by a panel debate at 7.30pm. After the panel debate there will be an opportunity for questions and discussions.

We look forward to seeing you at 7.00pm on the 1st of April at The Office, rue d’Arlon, 80, Brussels.

All our debates are followed by a drink in a convivial atmosphere.


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