Programme in a nutshell
Concrete examples of achievements (*)
ultra-fast, fast and standard charging stations were deployed across the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovakia by the end of 2021.
of double track railway line was equipped with the European rail traffic management system in Czechia by the end of 2021, improving safety and allowing for enhanced interoperability along the Baltic-Adriatic core network corridor.
4 200 km
of trans-European transport network road were provided with harmonised and synchronised intelligent transport systems services by the end of 2021.
12 430 MW
of electricity transmission capacity was added in 2021 through lines installed in Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Hungary, Slovakia, Norway and the United Kingdom.
5.4 billion m3
per year of additional transmission capacity through gas pipelines was installed in Estonia, Croatia, Latvia, Hungary and Romania by the end of 2021.
Wifi4EU access points were made available to European citizens through networks deployed by municipalities by the end of 2021.
(*) Key achievements in the table state which period they relate to. Many come from the implementation of the predecessor programmes under the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework. This is expected and is due to the multiannual life cycle of EU programmes and the projects they finance, where results often follow only after completion of the programmes.
Budget for 2021-2027
Rationale and design of the programme
The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is a key EU funding instrument for boosting investments across the EU in transport, energy and digital infrastructure projects aiming at a greater connectivity between EU Member States.
To achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, stimulate job creation and respect its long-term decarbonisation commitments, the EU needs to build an up-to-date, multimodal high-performance infrastructure to help connect and integrate the EU and all its regions in the transport, energy, and digital sectors. In order to complete the trans-European networks, support is needed – in particular to facilitate cross-border connections.
The acceleration of these investments benefits not only the countries directly affected, but the entire EU, as it enhances the single market as a whole and brings the whole EU closer to its sustainability objectives. For this reason, action at the EU level is warranted and can provide significant added value.
The CEF has the following specific objectives.
In the transport sector:
- to contribute to the development of an efficient, interconnected and multimodal trans-European transport network and of infrastructure for smart, interoperable, sustainable, inclusive, accessible, safe and secure mobility;
- to adapt parts of the trans-European transport network infrastructure for dual use, improving both civilian and military mobility.
In the energy sector:
- to contribute to the further integration of an efficient and competitive internal energy market;
- to support the interoperability of networks across borders and sectors, and cross-border cooperation;
- to facilitate the decarbonisation of the economy by promoting energy efficiency and ensuring security of supply; and
- to facilitate cross-border cooperation in the area of renewable energy.
In the digital sector:
- to contribute to the deployment of safe and secure very high capacity digital networks and 5G systems;
- to support an increased resilience and capacity of the digital backbone networks on EU territories by linking them to neighbouring territories; and
- to foster the digitalisation of transport and energy networks.
The CEF has the general objective to build, develop, modernise and complete the trans-European networks, to contribute to the achievement of the 2030 climate and energy targets and to fulfil the EU's long-term decarbonisation commitments on the European Green Deal, and thus contribute to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and enhance territorial, social and economic cohesion.
For the transport sector, it plays a part in the development of projects of common interest relating to the completion of the trans-European transport network and its modernisation. It contributes to the sustainability of the transport sector through the creation of new and the upgrade of existing infrastructure, including telematics application, new technologies and innovation (namely alternative fuels), interoperability, road safety, infrastructure resilience, accessibility and security of transport., thus reflecting the priorities set in the sustainable and smart mobility strategy.
For the energy sector, the CEF contributes to the implementation of projects of common interest, highlighting the enabling role of cross-border energy infrastructure in the transition to climate neutrality, the integration of European energy markets and the interoperability of networks. Furthermore, the new category of cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy specifically contributes to a cost-effective target achievement for renewables by 2030 and is an integral element of the enabling framework for cooperation on renewables.
For the digital sector, CEF focuses on ensuring uninterrupted coverage with 5G systems along major transport paths, the deployment of new or significant upgrade of existing communication backbone networks, and the deployment of and access to very high capacity networks, including 5G.
The CEF is implemented through direct management by the European Commission (the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, the Directorate-General for Energy and the Directorate General for Communications, Networks, Content and Technology are jointly in the lead). On an ad hoc basis and if justified, specific actions may be implemented through indirect management.
The programme is mostly implemented through executive agencies. The transport and energy strands are implemented by the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency. The CEF digital programme is implemented through the Health and Digital Executive Agency. A small portion of the programme is delegated to external bodies such as the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking or the European Space Agency.
Implementation and performance
Budget programming (million EUR):
|Financial programming||4 511.0||4 564.1||4 675.4||4 668.9||4 805.6||4 981.7||5 114.8||33 318.6|
|Decommitments made available again (*)||N/A||N/A|
|Contributions from other countries and entities||0.0||p.m||p.m||p.m||p.m||p.m||p.m||0.0|
(*) Only Article 15(3) of the financial regulation.
Cumulative implementation rate at the end of 2021 (million EUR):
|Implementation||2021-2027 Budget||Implementation rate|
|Commitments||4 510.1||33 318.6||16%|
Voted budget implementation in 2021 (million EUR):
|Voted budget implementation||Initial voted budget|
|Commitments||4 510.1||4 510.7|
- Following the adoption of the first CEF Transport and CEF Energy multi-annual work programmes (referring to the 2021-2023 period) and the adoption of the first CEF digital multiannual work programme (referring to the 2021-2025 period), the first calls for proposals under the CEF programme (transport and energy) were launched in September 2021. No calls were launched for the digital sector in 2021 (first call in January 2022).
- For the transport sector, the 2021 commitment appropriations were allocated to the first set of 13 calls for proposals. The calls were very well received by the stakeholders, with more than 400 proposals submitted. The evaluation of these proposals is currently ongoing. As a consequence, no payment appropriations were used in 2021 in relation to calls.
- For the energy sector, two calls for proposals were launched using the 2021 commitment appropriations. For actions related to projects of common interest, a total of EUR 1.037 billion was allocated to five actions: three on electricity transmission (construction works), one on gas storage (construction works), and a study on CO2 transport. For actions related to cross-border cooperation on renewable energy, three proposals were submitted that are currently under evaluation. No payment appropriations were used in relation to calls.
- As the CEF digital multiannual work programme was adopted late in December 2021, the 2021 budget appropriations were globally committed and will be individualised in 2022. As a consequence, no payment appropriations were used in 2021 in relation to calls.
Contribution to horizontal priorities
EU budget contribution in 2021 (million EUR):
|Climate||Biodiversity||Gender equality (*)|
|4 193.8||0||Score 0*: 4 510.1|
(*) Based on the applied gender contribution methodology, the following scores are attributed at the most granular level of intervention possible:
- 2: interventions the principal objective of which is to improve gender equality;
- 1: interventions that have gender equality as an important and deliberate objective but not as the main reason for the intervention;
- 0: non-targeted interventions;
- 0*: score to be assigned to interventions with a likely but not yet clear positive impact on gender equality.
|Number of cross-border and missing links addressed with the support of the CEF||0||0%||77||0 cross-border and missing links out of 77||On track|
|Number of CEF-supported actions contributing to the digitalisation of transport, in particular through the deployment of the European rail traffic management system, the river information services, the intelligent transport systems, the vessel traffic management information system/e-maritime services and the single European sky ATM research programme||0||0%||200||0 actions out of 200||On track|
|Number of alternative fuel supply points built or upgraded with the support of the CEF||0||0%||38 000||0 alternative fuel supply points out of 38 000||On track|
|Number of transport infrastructure components adapted to civilian—military dual-use requirements||0||0%||140||0 components out of 140||On track|
|Number of CEF actions contributing to projects interconnecting Member State networks and removing internal constraints||0||0%||95||0 actions out of 95||On track|
|Number of CEF actions contributing to the improvement and digitalisation of grids and increasing energy storage capacity||0||0%||25||0 actions out of 25||On track|
|Number of CEF actions contributing to the cost-efficient reaching of the target for EU-shared renewable energy sources on the basis of cross-border cooperation in the area of renewables||0||0%||48||0 actions out of 48||On track|
|Number of CEF actions enabling 5G connectivity along transport paths||0||0%||46||0 actions out of 46||On track|
|Number of actions enabling new connections to very high capacity networks||0||0%||50||0 actions out of 50||On track|
(*) % of target achieved by the end of 2021.
- The CEF 2021-2027 legal basis was adopted on 7 July 2021, later than expected. Despite the preparatory work initiated by the CEF's parent DGs, the first multiannual work programmes could only be adopted in August 2021, and the 2021 call for proposals (for the transport and energy sectors) was only launched in September 2021.
- Considering the delayed adoption of the CEF 2021-2027 legal basis and the consequent delayed decisions on the respective multiannual work programmes and first calls for proposals, performance related information mostly covers the calls' setup and, in some cases, some preliminary information about the ongoing evaluation procedures. First actions will be selected and begin to be implemented in 2022; they will show progress on each indicator fairly quickly.
- Nevertheless, lessons learned from the previous programming period, for all three strands, regarding efficiency, transparency and effectiveness when implementing the programme, led to (1) an improvement of the predictability of the calls with the inclusion of an indicative timetable of calls and topics over a period of 3 years in the first work programmes; (2) a streamlined evaluation procedure with a common interpretation of the award criteria; (3) the use of corporate IT solutions for the management of the entire project life cycle through the newly adopted regulation and through inter-DG initiatives.
MFF 2014-2020 – CEF
The CEF is a key EU funding instrument to promote jobs, growth and competitiveness through targeted infrastructure investment at the EU level. It supports the development of high-performance, sustainable and efficiently interconnected trans-European networks in the fields of transport, energy and digital services.
Cumulative implementation rate at the end of 2021 (million EUR):
|Implementation||2014-2020 Budget||Implementation rate|
|Commitments||29 860.5||29 875.9||100%|
- The overall cumulative implementation rate in payment appropriations (51%) mirrors the specificity of the programme, where investments are mainly channelled towards complex infrastructure projects implemented over a considerably long time.
- Regarding the transport sector, the overall reported financial progress by the end of 2021 is around 52% (compared to the expected 59% as specified in the latest grant agreements in force) and is the result of delays experienced during the projects' implementation. Under the three specific objectives supported through the transport strand, the following issues were identified: public procurement issues, legal and environmental issues, technical and technological issues, project coordination issues and interdependency with other CEF or EU-funded projects. Furthermore, based on exchanges with the project promoters in 2021, COVID 19 has further affected the implementation of some CEF-supported actions.
- In addition, the related actions are usually characterised by long implementation periods, as they mostly refer to works for large and technically complex transport infrastructure projects. In this framework, and to reduce risks, payments are disbursed during the entire project life cycle and only upon acceptance of eligible costs incurred by the beneficiaries during the project's reporting period.
- In order to mitigate the impact of these issues, the Commission, in strong cooperation with the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency, has taken a series of measures. These include a close monitoring of CEF actions, providing for an optimal use of EU-funding. In particular, the agreement reached with beneficiaries for the inclusion of specific monitoring milestones for the grant agreements that still include tasks within the critical path of the project has allowed to re-allocate unused funds to other mature projects as a result of the last CEF Transport call for proposals in 2021.
- Furthermore, the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency continues to implement its monitoring tools through the assessment of reports, site visits and follow-up meetings with CEF beneficiaries, ensuring a thorough assessment and identifying the actions for which amendments are needed.
- Regarding CEF Financial instruments, in the transport sector, despite the delays in investment decisions due to COVID 19, two new operations were signed in 2021, leveraging total investments of around EUR 670 million. These operations consist of the deployment of battery trains and the greening of airport infrastructure.
- The implementation rate of 34% for CEF Energy is lower compared to the overall CEF implementation. This is due to several large multiannual actions with long lead times due to their very complex nature and delays linked notably to the need to secure sufficient co-funding (national or other sources), public procurement issues (e.g. complaints/appeals during tender procedures) and legal and environmental issues (e.g. permitting, spatial planning, other authorisations and land acquisition). The COVID 19 sanitary crisis has also led to additional delays for some actions, for example the need to reschedule public consultations resulting in permitting procedures that are longer than expected. Some of these projects may only be completed by 2025.
- The total payments consist of around 76% of interim and final payments, and 24% of first and further pre-financings.
- The Commission can closely monitor the progress of the projects of common interest and the implementation of the projects of common interest, first through a provision in the grant agreements that requires project promoters to regularly submit an action status report to the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency. These action status reports provide an overview of the technical and financial progress of the action. In addition, projects of common interest are subject to yearly monitoring by national competent authorities and the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators pursuant to Article 5 of the trans-European networks for energy regulation.
- Regarding CEF Telecom, the implementation rate of 73% is above the average of the overall CEF implementation.
- Also in 2021, through the CEF debt instrument, the European Investment Bank signed a loan agreement with a project promoter for fibre rollout for a total amount of EUR 100 million, of which EUR 70 million is guaranteed by the Commission. The project costs are estimated at EUR 241 million and the European Investment Bank has estimated that, upon completion of the project in Slovenia in 2023, an additional 225 000 households (about 25% of the country) will have access to very high capacity networks.
- CEF Telecom also invested in the equity financial instrument Connecting Europe Broadband Fund, together with the European Investment Bank, three national promotional and institutional banks and private investors. In June 2021, the fund has attracted EUR 165 million private equity investments, for a total fundraising of EUR 555 million, well above the minimum capital of EUR 500 million set at creation time for the fund.
- From 2014 to 2020, CEF Telecom supported the deployment of an ecosystem of trusted cross-border digital service infrastructures(*) that are essential to triggering the digital transformation of public sector services in the Member States, all for the benefit of citizens and businesses.
- With an overall investment of just under EUR 280 million in the core service platforms, the Commission enabled the EU-wide interoperability of specific digital services such as eHealth, public open data, e identification and cybersecurity. With an EU contribution of almost EUR 365 million in generic services and an overall leveraged amount of more than EUR 528 million, the uptake of these services with CEF support reached a portfolio of 735 projects in the Member States and participating countries in the European Economic Area by the end of 2021. The last grant agreements under CEF Telecom were signed in 2021. Nearly half of the total portfolio of projects are under implementation due to the duration of the actions funded by the programme, which go up to 4 years. CEF digital services support EU citizens, businesses and public administrations in interconnecting and adapting their systems to become interoperable across borders.
(*) Europeana, e-identification, e-signature, e-delivery, e-invoicing, e-archiving, public open data, automated translation, cybersecurity, eProcurement, business registers interconnection system, eHealth, electronic exchange of social security information, the European e-Justice portal, European digital media observatory, European platform on digital skills and jobs, online dispute resolution, safer internet, EU student e-card and blockchain.
|CEF Transport – lines in service equipped with the European railway traffic management system||0||Progress from actual results: 4%
Progress from estimated values: 6%
|5 971 in 2024||234 km (estimated value: 331 km) out of 5 861 km||Moderate progress|
|CEF Transport – number of supply points for alternative fuels||0||Progress from actual results: 6%
Progress from estimated values: 8%
|20 757 in 2024||1 259 (estimated value: 1 718) out of 20 969||Moderate progress|
|CEF Energy – system resilience – number of Member States||3||89%||22 in 2020||20 out of 22||On track|
|Number of operational free Wi-Fi access points supported by CEF||0||80%||90 000 in 2023||71 800 out of 90 000||On track|
(*) 2021 actual results, as a % of the target.
NB: Estimated values represent project results to be completed by 2020 based on the contractual delivery dates in the signed grant agreement – see explanation below under 'Performance assessment'.
- The 1 036 actions signed within the CEF transport 2014-2020 received more than EUR 23 billion and triggered more than EUR 50 billion of private and public investments. These have strongly contributed to paving the way for the achievement of the key trans-European transport network and wider EU policy objectives addressing the removal of bottlenecks and enhancing interoperability, ensuring sustainable and efficient transport systems, and optimising the integration and interconnection of transport modes.
- In particular, CEF has been one of the front-running EU spending programmes supporting the sustainable and digital transitions. In line with the European Green Deal, transport investments for infrastructures strongly contributed to climate objectives, feeding the EU long-term decarbonisation commitments. Around 80% of the CEF support has been allocated to the rail and inland waterways sectors and to the acceleration of the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure, fostering a new mobility paradigm. Moreover, data and digital infrastructure have received targeted support, enhancing the deployment of digital solutions for all transport modes and backing the ecological transition for all sectors, including for transport.
- Regarding the performance of CEF Transport, it is important to recall that there is a time lag of approximately 1.5 year between the actual completion of a project and the registration of results, corresponding to the time required to close the projects. In addition, external factors such as the COVID 19 pandemic have delayed the implementation of the projects generating a situation where the majority of the CEF Transport actions from past 2014-2020 calls for proposals are still ongoing and will run until end of 2024. Their results (outputs triggering performance data) can be achieved up to end of 2024 and related information for financial closure can be received until mid-2026. In this framework it is considered that the potential for the achievement of the indicated targets is still there.
- During the 2014-2021 period, CEF Energy co-funding of a total of EUR 4.672 billion was allocated to 149 actions contributing to 107 projects of common interest. By the end of 2021, 93 actions that received CEF support were completed in total, i.e. 46 on electricity and storage, 45 on gas, one on smart grids and one on CO2, of which 85 were studies and 8 works.
- The success of the numerous actions of the projects of common interest and their contribution to the policy objectives of the trans-European networks for energy strategy is not yet fully reflected in the indicators due to the long implementation time of the grants for large and technically complex energy infrastructure projects. In addition, delays have occurred because of external factors such as the COVID 19 sanitary crisis, the need to secure sufficient co-funding (national or other sources), public procurement issues (e.g. complaints/appeals during tender procedures) and legal and environmental issues (e.g. permitting, spatial planning, other authorisations and land acquisition).
- Nevertheless, CEF Energy-funded actions have significantly contributed to the integration of the EU energy market through the strengthening of cross-border connections aiming to end energy isolation and eliminate bottlenecks. CEF Energy also supports projects that increase security of supply in Member States where this issue is most pressing.
- To date, the Connecting Europe Broadband Fund has invested in eight companies across Europe and raised the targeted funds from private investors to EUR 555 million by June 2021.
- Regarding WiFi4EU for the 2018-2020 period, more than 8 800 vouchers were awarded through the programme. Despite the pandemic, the network installations are steadily increasing, and exceeded expectations by reaching more than 7 000 in the last quarter of 2021.
- The deployment of the digital service infrastructures has been marked by a considerable expansion of the ecosystem, going from eight digital service infrastructures in the first working programme to 20 in the last one. As a matter of fact, the programme started supporting interoperability in a limited set of areas such as e-government, cybersecurity and the cultural sector. Over the years, the programme started enabling, through various solutions, interoperability in other areas such as health, justice, social security, education and skills, to name a few.
- The digital service infrastructures implemented under CEF Telecom contribute to EU preparedness to deal with cyberthreats and incidents, encompassing the need for well-resourced Member State computer security incident response teams and swift and effective operational cooperation between them. Their operational cooperation is facilitated by interacting with the core service platform co-operation mechanism of the cybersecurity digital service infrastructures, MeliCERTes, which supports information sharing, facilitates a shared understanding of artefacts, threats and incidents, provides secure communications and enhances the exchange of data between them. As from 2019, an additional cooperation mechanism to facilitate the creation of European-level information sharing and analysis centres has been set up.
- Another example is the eHealth digital service infrastructure, which facilitates the movement of health data across national borders, ensuring the continuity of care and the safety of citizens seeking healthcare outside their home country, and enabling the pooling of EU-wide medical expertise to treat rare diseases. To date, 117 projects for eHealth have been deployed in all Member States with an overall funding of EUR 29 million.
- An overview of the performance of the actions deployed with the support of CEF Telecom is available here. This data will feed into the acquis evaluation of the programme.