7 March 2014
The Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) was officially inaugurated yesterday with an event to recognise its new mandate and the ongoing successes in project implementation. European Commission Vice-Presidents Siim Kallas (Transport) and Neelie Kroes (Digital Agenda) as well as Robert-Jan Smits (Director-General of DG RTD), Matthias Ruete (Director-General of DG MOVE and Chairman of INEA’s Steering Committee), Fabrizio Barbaso (Deputy Director-General of DG ENER), and Dirk Beckers (INEA Executive Director) delivered short welcome addresses to commemorate the new Agency, which is responsible for implementing parts of the Connecting Europe Facility and Horizon 2020 programmes on behalf of the Commission.
Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, stated: "I am confident that INEA will be the ideal environment to find and promote synergies so that Europe’s energy, transport and ICT networks can be successfully developed together in the years ahead. […] As policymakers, we have planned a vision for the future. It will be INEA that will make it happen."
Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes echoed Mr Kallas’ comments, adding: "This is not just about handling this or that project, or managing this or that call for proposals. It is about investing in our future economy and in our future society through the power of digital tools. I know that INEA is up to the challenge."
The welcome words by the two Vice-Presidents were followed by brief statements by high-level representatives of the Commission Directorate-Generals which will work with INEA in the years to come.
Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General of DG RTD, noted: "I firmly believe that INEA will help us keep our promise in delivering fully on our commitments for Horizon 2020 and I call on your commitment to apply the same implementation procedures as all other agencies."
Fabrizio Barbaso, Deputy Director-General of DG ENER, stated that the importance of INEA was key as the Agency is "…best placed to understand the market needs and whether the EU policies are helping to deliver the EU objectives of delivering secure, sustainable and competitive energy to EU citizens and industry."
Matthias Ruete, Director-General of DG MOVE and Chairman of the INEA Steering Committee noted that he "…was content that the new INEA is now up and running following several months of cost-benefit study, consultations and other preparatory work. Of the six EU Executive Agencies, INEA will manage the biggest MFF 2014-2020 budget - around €37 billion."
The short official ceremony was concluded by INEA Executive Director Dirk Beckers, who thanked all speakers and guests, amongst whom were members of INEA staff, Commission parent DGs and other Agencies (EASME, REA, ACER) which will closely cooperate with INEA under its new mandate. He commented: "Our key role will continue to be bridging the gap between policy and implementation, covering the whole lifecycle of the projects we manage. […]It is INEA’s firm intention to live up to the expectation of the Commission that the Agency will continue to perform well. […] May we all enjoy many years of successful project implementation, effective programmes and a very fruitful partnership."
INEA is the successor of the Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency (TEN-T EA), which was created by the European Commission in 2006 to manage the technical and financial implementation of its TEN-T programme supporting European transport infrastructure projects.
INEA officially started its activities on 1 January 2014 in order to implement the following EU programmes:
- Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) – transport, energy and digital
- Parts of Horizon 2020 – Smart, green, and integrated transport + Secure, clean and efficient energy
- Legacy programmes - TEN-T and Marco Polo (2007-2013)
INEA’s main objective is to increase the efficiency of the technical and financial management of the programmes it manages.