The EU’s €2 trillion recovery package for economies blighted by the pandemic and the lockdown aims to avoid a damaging and long-lasting recession. It proposes helping out industries badly hit by the lockdown, such as tourism.

And a report from the Vienna Institute for Economic Studies looking at ways of spending the fund to give the greatest benefit also suggests a series of massive infrastructure projects including a European ultra-rapid train network.

The document proposes “an Eu green high-speed train network to be established as part of a recovery program from the Covid-19 crisis over the period of the 2020s.

It includes a line running the length of Italy, running from Brussels down to the Maltese capital Valetta. The line could connect underdeveloped regions of southern Italy with Switzerland, Germany, and Belgium, as well as potentially halving current journey times between northern and southern Italian cities.