The European Parliament has approved a report on funding the Connecting Europe Facility during the next EU budget period. This facility is an important means by which the EU supports infrastructure projects that go beyond national borders.
The European Parliament briefing on the matter stated:
“Strong, modern, and reliable infrastructure is essential to secure jobs, growth and competitiveness in the European Union. Given this need, the EU supports the development of high-performing, sustainable and interconnected trans-European networks in three areas: transport, energy and digital infrastructure. The trans-European networks policy was consolidated in 2013 and the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) set up as a dedicated financing instrument to channel EU funding into infrastructure networks, help eliminate market failures and attract further investment from the public and private sectors. Following a mid-term evaluation, which confirmed the CEF programme’s capacity to bring significant EU added value, the European Commission proposes to renew the programme under the next long term EU budget.”
MEPs voted in favour of increasing the CEF transport budget to 33.51 billion euros (in constant prices) for 2021–2027. Overall, 434 MEPs voted in favour, 134 against and 37 abstained. Some of the increased funds have come from the defence budget.
Rapporteur Pavel Telicka (ALDE, CZ) explained:
“For the first time, CEF will integrate a military dimension financed directly from the European Defence Fund, for the development of civilian transport infrastructure. The aim is to achieve rapid and seamless mobility, and to strengthen our capacity to respond to humanitarian crises and natural disasters.”
The facility is important for completing core transport networks within the EU and therefore for completing the Single Market.
News of this parliamentary approval has been well received by industry bodies. They include EIM, the European Rail Infrastructure Managers, CER, the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies, and UNIFE.
Monika Heiming, Executive Director of EIM, said:
“We welcome the Parliament Plenary vote for the Connecting Europe Facility and the call for its increase. It is of utmost importance to ensure that rail, as the most sustainable transport mode, receives sufficient budget to reach its objectives and become fully digitalised. We call the decision-makers to come to an agreement and support the completion of seamless and interoperable TEN-T Network that caters for the best travelling experiences for the passengers and the best quality services for rail freight.”
Philippe Citroēn, Director General of UNIFE, said:
“The European Parliament has taken a bold step towards greening and modernising transport, as the strong CEF programme will contribute greatly to the implementation of the TEN-T Core Network Corridors and speeding up ERTMS deployment. It is now up to the negotiators to swiftly agree on the final deal, as a strong and efficient CEF will provide vital funding to rail – the greenest and the safest mode of transport – and help even further increase its contribution to the EU’s 2030 climate targets.”
Following this parliamentary vote, the EP will now start negotiating with Member States.
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