Since 2000, the EU has been funding various high-speed railways across the bloc. But a recent report by the European Court Auditors found that ‘effectiveness of the investments is lacking and EU added value is at risk’.
The report adds that ‘low passenger numbers are leading to high risk of ineffective spending of €2.7 billion EU co-funding’.
Potential routes under consideration were connecting Lisbon and Madrid by the Extremadura line but the plans were later scrapped as well as other sites.
According to Luc T’jeon, who oversaw the report, the issues are being ‘based on political considerations.’ He added: “The money is there, it’s on the tracks.
“However, tracks are either being constructed with big delays or they have had huge cost overruns or when they were completed, they were late to be put in use.”
Vast swathes may have been wasted on ‘high-speed lines that were not needed everywhere they have been built’ according to T’jeon who also added ‘trains were only running at 45% of the speed lines had the capacity for.’
He concluded: “The EU is aware of the situation but they had no legal tools to push member states to do something about it.”
The countries with the highest investment included France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal and Austria.