The Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link between Denmark and Germany and the Brenner Base Tunnel between Austria and Italy are both record-breaking European mega projects that will play a vital role in the future European transport network. On Sept. 21, representatives from the project companies, and members of the two regional development organizations, STRING and Brenner Corridor Platform, signed an agreement on mutual cooperation.
Both projects have been designated priority projects by the EU Commission, as they aim to remove bottlenecks that impede trade, growth and cross-border cooperation, and promote faster, more efficient and environmentally friendly transport of passengers and freight across Europe.
The Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link and the Brenner Base Tunnel face different technical obstacles; one crosses a sea and the other a mountain range, but they share many of the same challenges that very large infrastructure projects experience when it comes to interaction with the surrounding communities and compliance with the legal and regulatory framework in two different countries.
The agreement will allow the two projects to share experiences and learn from each other. This applies to both technical and scientific innovations, communication initiatives and joint projects by the employees of the two projects, where cooperation will be mutually beneficial.
Closer cooperation between the project companies and the surrounding communities encompassed by STRING and the Brenner Corridor Platform will create a new forum to enable local authorities, local inhabitants and organisations to take part in the projects and the opportunities that the new infrastructures will bring.
“Building a cross-border mega project is a complex undertaking. Each project is unique, but there are also many areas, where cooperation will be mutually beneficial. We look forward to sharing experiences with our partners at the Brenner Base Tunnel”, says Peter Frederiksen, Chairman Femern A/S, the Danish state-owned project company tasked with the planning and construction of the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link
“Learning from each other, exchanging knowledge and developing scientific based best practice are key elements for mega projects. This must be the spirit of a growing together European civil society and we want to lead this positive exchange together with our friends along the Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor,” says Prof. Konrad Bergmeister, CEO of the Brenner Base Tunnel SE.
“The Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link and the Brenner Base Tunnel tackle the most important cross-border bottlenecks and are thus top priority projects of the TEN-T program. These truly European projects will deliver benefits far beyond the borders of the Member States committed to implement them.”
“The agreement fits in well with our corridor philosophy of fostering peer-to-peer interaction, communication and knowledge and best practice sharing. It represents an important milestone not only in terms of “cross-border” cooperation but also in the unique terms of “cross-project” cooperation. Hence it adds a true EU added value to our work on the Scandinavian-Mediterranean corridor,” says Pat Cox, European Coordinator for the Scandinavian-Mediterranean Core Network Corridor.
“Large infrastructure projects create game-changing developments in surrounding communities. Implementing the infrastructure for the benefit of those communities requires dialogue, planning and political will. With regard to the Brenner and Fehmarnbelt projects, the new infrastructure will benefit their surrounding communities in terms of economic growth, jobs and sustainable development. We can learn from each other – and together influence political decision-making beyond our regional and national interests,” says Steen Bach Nielsen, Chairman of STRING.
The Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link is a planned 18-km immersed tunnel between Rødbyhavn in Denmark and Puttgarden in Germany, making it the longest immersed tunnel in the world. It comprises a four-lane motorway and dual track electrified railway. The project also includes upgraded rail and motorway connections from Ringsted to Rødby in Denmark and from Puttgarden to Lübeck in Germany.
The Brenner Base Tunnel is a 64-km dual track railway tunnel through the Brenner Pass. The Brenner Base Tunnel will be the longest underground railway connection in the world. It will run from Innsbruck in Austria to Fortezza in Italy, replacing the current railway.
STRING is a political cross-border partnership between Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, the Capital Region of Denmark, Region Zealand, and the City of Copenhagen in Denmark, and Region Skåne in Sweden. Its aim is to to maximize the impact of the new infrastructure between Copenhagen and Hamburg in terms of growth, jobs and ensuring a climate-friendly development in our corridor.
The Brenner Corridor Platform (BCP) was set up by the European Coordinator Karel van Miert in 2007 to guarantee an integrated approach for the Brenner Corridor between Munich and Verona. The BCP members are Austria, Germany and Italy, and the five regions Bavaria, Tirol, Alto Adige, Trento, Verona as well as railway and highway companies and the European Commission.