On November 30, 2017, the European Commission proposed to invest €1 billion in 39 transport projects, which will unlock a total of €4.5 billion in public and private co-financing.
This investment is being made under the Connecting Europe Facility, the EU fund supporting infrastructure networks, and combines – for the first time – EU grants with financing from the European Investment Bank, National Promotional Banks and private banks.
The selected projects will renovate Europe’s rail network, further develop alternative fuels infrastructure, and pave the way for zero-emission water transport. In doing so, the Commission is delivering on its Clean Mobility Package, announced November 8, 2017.
Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “Our investment plan for Europe is working: today we are proposing to invest €1 billion in 39 transport projects of clear EU added value for citizens and businesses. This will allow us to further accelerate our transition to low-emission mobility across Europe, and firmly deliver on the EU’s agenda for jobs and growth. We expect it to unlock a total of €4.5 billion of public and private co-financing by 2030.”
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 flagship initiatives such as increasing the speed of the railway access line to the Fehmarnbelt tunnel between Denmark and Germany; upgrading 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 2017 CEF Transport Blending call for proposals is an innovative concept that makes available 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). In total, including today’s announcement, 641 projects receive CEF co-funding for a total amount of €22.3 billion, meaning that 96% of CEF grant envelope has been allocated.
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.
An additional grant amount of €350 million is being made available for alternative fuels infrastructure, via the CEF Blending call.
The deadline for projects submission is April 12, 2018.
Featured image via Adobe Stock.