The EU will invest €50bn in infrastructure – connecting Europe, boosting competitiveness and creating jobs.
Smart, sustainable and interconnected transport, energy and digital networks are priorities for Europe’s economic future.
However, the financial crisis has diminished the flow of private and public funding to infrastructure projects.
As a result, the Commission is proposing a new funding plan to speed up long-term investments in roads, railways, energy grids, pipelines and high-speed broadband networks.
The €50bn fund would be used to encourage investors from the private and public sectors to help finance such projects, some of which would otherwise not be built. It would also promote cleaner transport modes and renewable energy – in line with Europe 2020, the EU’s growth and jobs strategy.
Improving transport links – €31.7bn
Transport systems in Europe have traditionally developed as discrete networks within individual countries. The EU plays an important role in helping countries work together when planning, managing and funding cross-border transport links.
The fund would back up such efforts by investing in infrastructure projects that make it easier for people to travel and exchange goods, especially between western and eastern EU countries. Investments would focus on green and sustainable transport modes.
Connecting energy grids – €9.1bn
Funding would encourage more connections between EU countries, making it easier to transfer both traditional forms of energy and renewables.
A better trans-European infrastructure would lead to more secure supplies at affordable prices, while helping the EU reach its climate change objectives.
Supporting high-speed digital networks – €9.2bn
Investment would focus on establishing broadband networks and pan-European digital services. EU financing of network infrastructure could attract further investment of €50bn from other sources, the Commission estimates.
The fund would also provide grants to build the infrastructure needed for the roll-out of digital identification, procurement, health care, justice and customs-related services. The money would ensure interoperability and meet the costs of linking up national services.
The fund would use innovative market instruments such as guarantees and project bonds to mobilise more private financing. It would be part of the EU budget proposals for 2014 to 2020.
The proposal now needs approval from national governments and the European Parliament.