Creation date: November 30, 2017
The European Commission proposes to invest over €1 billion in 39 key projects that will develop sustainable and innovative transport infrastructure in Europe across all modes. Selected projects will improve the railway network, develop the infrastructure for electric cars, modernise Europe's air traffic management, as well as pave the way towards zero emission waterway transport. The investment is made via the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the EU's financial mechanism supporting infrastructure networks, and will unlock a total of €4.5 billion of public and private co-financing. It is the programme's first innovative call for proposals blending EU grants with other European, national or private fund.
Proposed projects are concentrated on the strategic sections of Europe's transport network (the core network) to ensure the highest EU added-value and impact. The largest part of the funding will be devoted to developing the European rail network (€719.5 million), decarbonising and upgrading road transport (€99.6 million), as well as developing maritime ports (€78.9 million) and inland waterways (€44.7 million).
The projects include such flagship initiatives as increasing the speed of the railway access line to the Fehmarnbelt tunnel between Denmark and Germany; enlarging the Divača-Koper railway line in Slovenia to improve its capacity, safety and reliability; deploying a pan-European network of 340 charging stations for electric cars in 13 EU countries; adapting the most important Belgian inland waterway, the Albert canal, for larger freight transport; as well as improving the capacity of the Port of Gdansk in Poland.
All proposed projects were selected for funding via a competitive call for proposals, open for projects in all EU Member States, which was launched on 8 February 2017. 68 applications accounting for a total of €2.2 billion of requested co-funding were received by the first call deadline on 14 July 2017.
The EU's financial contribution is made in the form of grants, with different co-financing rates depending on the project type. The call remains open for new project proposals until 12 April 2018, the second and last call cut-off date.
The 2017 CEF Transport Blending call for proposals is an innovative concept that makes available €1.35 billion of EU grants to be combined with financing from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the European Investment Bank (EIB), National Promotional Banks or private sector investors.
Under the CEF programme, €23.4 billion is available for grants from the EU’s 2014-2020 budget to co-fund TEN-T projects in the EU Member States. Since 2014, the first CEF programming year, four waves of calls for project proposals have been launched (in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017). 602 projects from the 2014-2016 Calls currently receive CEF co-funding for a total amount of €21.3 billion.
The EU Member States represented in the Connecting Europe Facility Coordination Committee must now formally approve the proposed funding decision at their meeting on 12 December 2017. Adoption of the formal Decision by the Commission will follow. The Commission's Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) will then prepare and sign grant agreements with the beneficiaries of the individual projects in the first quarter of 2018.
See the full press release for more details