The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) supports trans-European networks and infrastructures in the sectors of transport, telecommunications and energy. The European Commission has proposed a series of guidelines for telecommunications covering the objectives and priorities for Digital Service Infrastructures (DSIs) and broadband networks.

Connecting Europe provides a simple and faster way to deliver public services to citizens no matter where they are travelling or living in the EU

In the current programming period Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Telecom has a budget of approximately 1 billion euros, out of which 870 million euros are dedicated to Digital Service Infrastructures (DSIs) delivering networked cross-border services for citizens, businesses and public administrations. The rest is for connectivity networks. For the 2021-2027 period the Commission proposed a budget of 3 billion euros, mostly focused on connectivity aspects, still subject to an agreement on the overall long-term EU budget.

Supported projects contribute to:

  • Improvements in the competitiveness of the European economy;
  • Promotion of the interconnection and interoperability of national, regional and local networks;
  • Access to such networks, thus supporting the development of a Digital Single Market.

Read the regulation establishing the Connecting Europe Facilityand the brochure "Connecting Europe Facility - Five years supporting European infrastructure" that presents the key features of the programme and its achievements over the past five years in Energy, Transport and Telecom sectors.

Digital Service Infrastructures

CEF supports multiple DSI projects which contribute to improvements in the daily lives of Europeans through digital inclusion, the connectivity and interoperability of European digital services, and the development of a Digital Single Market.

Sector specific DSIs deploy complex trans-European digital services based upon mature technical and organisational solutions in diverse areas. The DSIs known as building blocks provide basic and re-usable digital services. Building blocks can be integrated into other DSI and IT projects and can be combined with each other.

Sector specific DSIs supported so far cover, for example, the areas of cyber security, eHealth, and online dispute resolution. The current building block DSIs include: eIdentification, eSignature, eInvoicing, eDelivery, and Automated Translation. Read the full catalogue of digital services.

Implementation of Digital Services Infrastructures

CEF is implemented either via the procurement of services for the core components provided by the European Commission, or through calls for proposals (grants) to help link the national infrastructure in the Member States to the core components. CEF's priorities and actions to be launched during 2020 have been identified in the amendment to the multi-annual Work Programme 2019-2020 (see below).

2020 Calls for proposals

  • CEF Telecom call 2020-1 that was launched on 28 February and closed on June 25 (originaly foreseen to close on 12 May) for the areas of eID & eSignature, Safer Internet, Automated Translation, eDelivery, Blockchain, Europeana and the European Platform for Skills and Jobs (objective 2). The Virtual Info Day covering the 2020-1 call took place on Wednesday 11 March, you can access the recording.
  • CEF Telecom call 2020-2 was launched on 30 June and will close on 5 November. It covers the areas of BRIS, eProcurement, Public Open Data, eHealth, eArchiving, the European Digital Media Observatory, the European Platform for Skills and Jobs (objective 1) and Cybersecurity. The Virtual Info Day covering the 2020-2 call took place on Thursday 16 July, you can access the recording.

Earlier Calls for proposals

Two calls for proposals for generic services were held in in 2019. The 2019-1 call for proposals was launched on 14 February and closed on 14 May. It covered the areas of Automated Translation, eIdentification and eSignature, eDelivery, eInvoicing, Europeana and the EU Student eCard. A CEF Telecom Virtual Info Day covering the 2019-1 call was held on 7 March 2019, the recording is available here. Information on the results of the call is available here. The 2019-2 call for proposals was launched on 4 July and closed on 14 November. It covered the areas of Public Open Data, Cybersecurity, eProcurement, eHealth, European eJustice, European Platform for Skills and Jobs. A CEF Telecom Virtual Info Day covering the 2019-2 call was held on July 10 2019, the recording is available. The call is now under evaluation.

Five calls for proposals were held in 2018. The 2018-1 call for proposals covered the areas of eIdentification & eSignature, Europeana and Safer Internet. The 2018-2 call for proposals covered the areas of Automated Translation, eDelivery and eInvoicing. The 2018-3 call for proposals covered the area of Cybersecurity. The 2018-4 call for proposals covered the areas of eHealth, eProcurement, the European eJustice Portal and the Online Dispute Resolution. The 2018-5 call for proposals covered the area of Public Open Data.

Three calls for proposals were held in 2017. The 2017-1 call for proposals Business Registers Interconnection System, eIdentification and eSignature, Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information (EESSI) and the European e-Justice Portal. The 2017-2 call for proposals covered the areas of Cyber Security, eDelivery, eHealth and eProcurement. The 2017-3 call for proposals covered eInvoicing, eTranslation, Europeana and Public

Four calls for proposals were held in 2016. Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) has published the results of the call for proposals 2016-1, , 2016-3 and 2016-4.

Broadband

The broadband component of the programme seeks to contribute to the achievement of the Digital Agenda targets of all European households having access to internet connections of 30 Megabits per second (MBps) and 50% of households to connections above 100 MBps by 2020.

To achieve this, CEF aims at facilitating an efficient flow of private and public investments to stimulate the deployment and modernisation of broadband networks. Across the whole multi-annual financial framework (2014-2020), 15% of the CEF budget shall be allocated to broadband. At least one third of the Broadband projects financially supported under CEF shall aim at speeds above 100 MBps.

CEF Telecom projects

Supported projects facilitate cross-border interaction between public administrations, businesses and citizens by deploying digital service infrastructures. Examples are listed under CEF Telecom projects by country or under CEF Telecom projetcs by DSI.

CEF in the next Multiannual Financial Framework

CEF2 Digital programme aims to support and catalyse investments in digital connectivity infrastructures of common interest during the period 2021-2027.

More information

A full overview of CEF Telecom, including the building blocks and DSIs, is given on the CEF Digital Single Web Portal, which is also a platform for collaboration and discussion.

The calls for proposals are implemented by INEA on behalf of the Commission. More information on the calls is provided on INEA's website.