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Question for written answer to the Commission

Question asked by: Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE)

Subject: Drop in EU transport infrastructure investment

Public investment in transport infrastructure has, on average, been falling since the late 1970s across the EU. In 1975 investments in inland transport stood at 1.5% of GDP across the EU. By 2008, the level of such investments had fallen below 0.8% — a record low. Is the Commission concerned about this situation?

Answer given by Mr Kallas on behalf of the European Commission

The Commission shares the Honourable Member's concerns on the decrease of public investment in transport infrastructure in the EU.

In its proposals for the new TEN-T guidelines and on the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)the Commission noted that in the past decade infrastructure spending in the EU has been, on average, on a declining path. The Commission also felt that while this situation was partly due to the global economic downturn, the crisis has brought renewed interest in targeted infrastructure investments as an important part of stimulus recovery plans.

It is estimated that the completion of the TEN-T would require about EUR 500 billion by 2020, of which EUR 250 billion would be needed to complete missing links and remove bottlenecks in the core network.

While the national budgets are expected to play a major role in the financing of the required transport infrastructures, the EU budget will provide a significant contribution to ensure that EU infrastructure priorities are actually delivered. Under the upcoming 2014-2020 MFF, the transport component of the CEF will make available EUR 26.2 billion for projects of common interest, including EUR 11.3 billion transferred from the Cohesion Fund.

In order to optimise the impact of CEF funding the Commission will increase the recourse to financial instruments, building on the experience of e.g. the Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative. Such instruments produce a multiplier effect in so far as they attract other public and private financing which leverage the EU and national contributions.