Information published on 24 June 2010 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 191.

France, Spain and Portugal sign cooperation agreement to establish high speed network

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French Secretary of State for Transport Dominique Bussereau, Spanish Development Minister José Blanco and Portuguese Minister of Public Works, Transport & Communications António Mendonça signed a declaration of intent on the European priority project “High Speed Rail Axis of Southwest Europe” at the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) Conference held on 8 and 9 June in Zaragoza.

The agreement should see more effective coordination of work to create a high speed network serving southwest Europe and in particular aims to accelerate work on cross-border sections.

The agreement highlights the importance of European funding in the project, seen as essential for the European Union’s economic and sustainable development. It was also signed by European Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas.

The transport ministers of the three countries stressed the need for maximum interoperability between the new infrastructures. They have asked SNCF, RENFE and CP to establish a single high speed operator between France, Spain and Portugal in the manner of Eurostar or Thalys, operations jointly offered by France, UK, the Benelux and Germany.