Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-05-24-Speech-4-041"

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". Madam President, most of the EU Member States that acceded in 2004 and 2007 possess well-developed railway networks. Unfortunately, this railway network has, in the last 15 years, been pared down, and there have been cutbacks also in the maintenance of it. Moreover, in many cases, the old railway companies have not received from the state the compensation they thought they could count on beforehand for their operating shortages, and this has the effect of deterring new enterprises that would otherwise be keen to take part in tenders, and so the likelihood is that the railway network will be used less and less and that rolling stock will become unusable. These countries once had a huge head start over the west of Europe in the area of rail transport, but it has thus been lost, and their environment is particularly vulnerable too. Fewer tracks does not mean less traffic. In order to channel this traffic elsewhere, all attention is now focused on investments in motorways. Roads like these were around 15 years ago, except that they were limited to the busiest routes, particularly around the big cities. New roads of this sort will now be built very quickly. In an effort to limit costs, the interests of nature and the landscape are often overlooked. The shortest possible route cutting through areas considered empty is preferred, and there is no money for diversions, tunnels or bridges for wildlife. Poland is not the first, or only, country to face this problem. The same thing occurred years ago in the Czech Republic, which planned a connection from Prague to Dresden and also in Bulgaria when a link was planned between Sofia and Thessaloniki. The way in which valuable nature conservation areas are handled does not only make the national, but also international, news, as international nature and environmental organisations draw attention to this. They also point out that the European Union is partly responsible for destroying the environment if it helps to finance bad projects of this kind. I have been urging the European Union to refuse any responsibility in this matter for years. On 2 July 2002, Commissioner Wallström stated by way of response to my written requests that Poland should adapt its Via Baltica plans. I would remind her that, according to the original plan, the Via Baltica avoided this vulnerable area, but that these plans were subsequently reviewed in a bid to better serve other cities. What the European Union should insist on is a return to the original plan that was drawn up a long time ago."@en1

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