The federal administrative court clears the way for the Fehmarnbelt tunnel – FBBC: “This is the signal we have been waiting for”
A spirit of optimism in northern Europe: the business world between Hamburg and southern Sweden welcomes the clear and positive ruling of Germany’s Federal Administrative Court regarding construction of the Fehmarn Belt Tunnel, that has dismissed all claims today. ‘This is the signal we have been waiting for. We finally have legal certainty and those involved in the tunnel’s construction can at last get down to work,’ says Dr Arno Probst, Chairman of the Fehmarnbelt Business Council (FBBC). The fixed link offers huge potential for development between the Hamburg metropolitan region and the Øresund region and beyond. ‘Above all, we are anticipating growth stimuli and innovation boosts that will make us stronger competition internationally. The north can then move up into the league of top regions,’ says Probst.
Probst believes the approximately 18-kilometre tunnel between Fehmarn and Lolland will be very important for the whole of Europe. Among other things, it will reduce the train journey between Hamburg and Copenhagen from five hours to just under three, while lorries will reduce their journeys on this route by at least 90 minutes. Probst: ‘This improved connection will generate all kinds of opportunities for businesses and workers.’
We now have the opportunity to set the course for the future up to the tunnel’s inauguration, which will likely be in 2029. ‘As the FBBC, we will continue to work on strengthening economic cooperation between northern Germany, Denmark and southern Sweden,’ emphasises Probst. ‘A major step has now been taken, and this must be followed by many smaller steps in order to dismantle the obstacles to cross-border cooperation.’
Michael Svane, Vice Chairman of the FBBC, CEO of the Federation of Danish Transport and a director within the Confederation of Danish Industry, is happy too: ‘Today’s ruling of the court in Leipzig is confirming the importance of the professional and sound groundwork which has characterized the planning of the Fehmernbelt project. The decision of the court will establish the necessary focus and calmness to allow for the construction phase to be put in motion. The Fehmernbelt Tunnel is of paramount importance for Danish industry and society. It is a strategic project of European importance and scale.’
The court decision confirms that the Tunnel will be realized. ‘We are fully confident that the project can now finally be carried out with respect to all regulations and environmental standards. The connectivity in the region will be immensely strengthened to the benefit of the business sector with a huge potential for both existing companies and for new initiatives. Today is a good day, for the project, for Denmark and Germany, and for Europe’, says Svane.
The fixed link will also boost growth in the southern Sweden region. There has been a fixed link between Denmark and Sweden since 2000 with the Øresund Bridge, and this is now being followed by the next step of connecting the region to mainland Europe. ‘This will constitute a major step towards the goal of transferring freight traffic from the road to rail,’ says Stephan Müchler, CEO at the Chamber of Commerce of Southern Sweden in Malmö. ‘With the Øresund Bridge, we learned that you have to prepare early in order to reap the benefits of a connection as soon as the link is inaugurated. A time saving of two to three hours alone is huge for the Swedish economy.’