27th Spanish-French Summit

Raquel Sánchez welcomes France's commitment to cross-border rail links and Renfe's arrival in Paris before the end of the year

News - 2023.1.19

The Minister for Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez, has welcomed France's commitment to promoting cross-border connections between Spain and France on the Atlantic and Mediterranean Corridors, infrastructures that she described as "vital" for making the Single Market a reality between two central partners of the EU and guaranteeing rail connectivity with Europe.

During the 27th Spanish-French Summit held in Barcelona, Raquel Sánchez and the Secretary of State, Isabel Pardo de Vera, met with Clément Beaune, France's Minister Delegate for Transport, with whom she discussed the two countries' common commitment to more sustainable transport. In this regard, the minister took advantage of the meeting to point out that increasing the modal share of rail transport is essential to achieve the common goal of decarbonising mobility, which requires an infrastructure that facilitates this and avoids bottlenecks at the border, which implies completing the cross-border connections of the Atlantic and Mediterranean Corridors.

This is an objective that the French minister shares with Spain, because during the meeting he conveyed to Mitma's Minister the commitment that the Montpellier-Perpignan section of the Mediterranean Corridor is a priority for France, as is the implementation of the Great Southwest Project (GPSO) -both in the Bordeaux-Toulouse connection and in the Bordeaux-Spanish Border connection- included in the Atlantic Corridor - which will open a new era of railway connectivity with our country and with the rest of Europe.

To this effect, the French minister has committed himself to completing both European rail corridors by 2030, after starting work on the Mediterranean corridor in 2023 and the Atlantic corridor in 2024.

This is a milestone that the minister considers key to guaranteeing the interconnection between the two countries. "Spain is fully committed to the interconnection of our transport networks and is making a great effort to make the connection with France a reality, but we need a similar boost for these projects on the French side. To this end, both countries must meet the commitments and the 2030 deadline for the completion of the Atlantic and Mediterranean Corridors", said the minister during her speech at the plenary session of the 27th Spanish-French Summit.

Rail liberalisation

Regarding the liberalisation of the railway market in Europe, Raquel Sánchez welcomed the fact that before this summer Renfe will offer its railway services on the Barcelona-Lyon and Madrid-Marseille routes, for which it has already started tests, and applauded Beaune's commitment that Renfe will start operating services between Lyon and Paris before the end of the year.

During the meeting, the head of Mitma conveyed to her French counterpart the convenience of making it easier for Spanish companies to operate railway services in France, specifically on the lines to Paris, and to speed up the train certification processes. These objectives are on the agenda of French minister, who is working so that Spanish railway operators can operate in the neighbouring country in a liberalised environment, as they do in Spain. In this regard, he has committed himself to ensuring that Spanish companies and rolling stock manufacturers can quickly homologate their new trains in France. He assured that he will play a decisive role in the effective liberalisation of the railway in Europe, which is already exemplary in Spain.

In this context, the minister shared Spain's success in opening up the national market to competition, which has already resulted in an increase in high-speed services and better prices. "We are the first country in the EU to have three passenger operators on the same railway line, including the French National Railway Company (SNCF)'s Ouigo," he added.

Treaty of friendship

The importance of strengthening the union between the two countries is reflected in the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation signed today between the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the President of France, Emmanuel Macron.

The document reaffirms the commitment to the development of transport interconnections, including promoting the necessary projects for safe, easy and sustainable mobility between the two countries, especially within the framework of the TEN-T, and the holding of strategic ministerial dialogues on transport interconnections, within the framework of bilateral summits, as has been the case in recent years.

Non official translation