Europe will continue to fund the modernisation and expansion of infrastructure projects in the fields of transport, energy and digital networks beyond 2020. Last night, representatives from the European Parliament and the Council agreed on a deal on the EU’s flagship programme – the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).
“The 2021-2027 CEF will deliver for the benefit of citizens, especially by completing the TEN-T corridor for better connectivity and accessibility. As mobility is the basis for jobs and growth, Europe needs modern and efficient infrastructures,” stated Marian-Jean Marinescu MEP, Chair of the EPP Group Working Group on Budget and Structural Policies and Co-rapporteur on this file for the Transport and Tourism Committee.
In the agreement, the CEF Programme beyond 2020 will continue to accelerate investment in the field of TEN. 60% of the budgetary resources are aimed to complete the networks, whilst 40% of the funds should be used for modernising them.
“We managed to lay the focus on cross-border connections and missing links. The Programme also takes into account climate objectives and climate tracking requirements,” noted Marinescu. In the field of transport, CEF also supports the deployment of European traffic management systems for all traffic modes, especially for air transport and railways. Another priority of the Programme is the transition towards smart, sustainable, inclusive, safe and secure mobility.
“We agreed further on adapting the network to military requirements supporting dual-use civil and military transport infrastructure,” observed Marinescu. There was also an agreement found on the co-financing rates: 50% for cross-border projects and 70% for outermost regions.
In the energy sector, CEF will contribute to the further integration of the European energy market by improving the interoperability of energy networks across borders and sectors. Furthermore, CEF will guarantee the security of supply, inter alia, through smartening and digitalising infrastructure. A significant new element in CEF is the inclusion of cross-border renewable projects.
“The aim of the CEF is to accelerate investments in trans-European networks and to have more synergies between the transport, energy and digital sectors. The focus of trans-European energy infrastructure is increasingly on electrical interconnections, energy storages and smart grids,” stated Henna Virkkunen MEP, Co-rapporteur and Member of the Industry, Research and Energy Committee.
When it comes to the digital sector there was also important progress. CEF will support European households’ access to very high capacity networks. “We want to boost Europe’s global competitiveness and ensure that schools, hospitals, transport hubs, public services and digitally intensive enterprises will get access to very high-capacity networks, providing gigabit connectivity, including 5G, by 2025,” Virkkunen concluded.
The agreement does not provide for a Budget deal for the period 2021-20127; it leaves this point to the negotiations concerning the MFF.