Summary: The paper draws attention to the spatial dimension of sustainability, where spatial self-defence is an important part of control over local assets that have to be preserved. In the existing European Union, where the national infrastructure networks have been relatively developed, the formation of a single market called first for concentration of efforts on the overlapping or inter-regional backbone level of networks. In the area now acceding to the EU, it is important to note that this programme cannot be applied with unchanged priorities in regions still lacking appropriate local networks, where great attention needs to be devoted to internal networks. In the integration process, the transition countries have to understand the importance of a multilayered network and pay equal attention to every layer of the transport network. The other issue that has been criticised is the structure of the backbone network. While the development of the trans-European networks in western Europe was governed by internal considerations u0096 the intention of connecting national networks - the starting point in the eastern half of Europe was the external consideration of extending Trans-European Networks to the transition countries. Even the backbone elements of the Transport Infrastructure Needs Assessment network, which enjoy priority today, still reflect this approach. The danger remains that the additions expressing the needs of candidate countries will become lost in the process.
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