It is often argued that the fragmentation of the EU at the national level is one of the handicaps that is preventing Europe from achieving its full commercial destiny. The cause of integration is seen to be at the heart of the European project, which is why infrastructure projects take such prominence. During the industrial revolution, rail provided an integrating force, but at the national level. Rail is now set to provide an integrating force at the European level. The link between London and Cologne is really quite important – Cologne is the rail hub that opens Scandinavia, The Baltic, and Eastern Europe to traffic from Western Europe. I am sure that the Franco-German tiff will be resolved. They usually are. What excites me is the prospect of the pan-European service being available from 2013.
Of course, all this is saying is that I am a rail fan rather than a fan of flying. Guilty as charged!
© The European Futures Observatory 2010A Franco-German train tiff: Ils ne passeront pas | The Economist