Railways ending at the borders? Connecting Europe Facility Programme (CEF) to finance better connection between EU Member States

The European Parliament voted this week in favour of continuing and enhancing the Connecting Europe Facility Programme for the Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2021-2027. CEF is a key funding instrument to promote growth, jobs and competitiveness through targeted infrastructure investment at European level. Its main goal is to foster investments in the trans-European network for transport, energy and digital infrastructure projects, crucial for the development of the Energy Union and the Digital and Single Market. “I am very pleased with the result of the voting. The Parliament sent a very strong message to the Council and gave me a strong mandate to the next negotiation with the Council and the Commission,” said Mr Telicka, the vice president of the European Parliament and co-rapporteur of the Programme.

Strong, modern and reliable infrastructure is essential and crucial to growth and prosperity in the European Union. CEF Programme should create a better connection between the EU countries and support the European projects and programmes in transport, energy and digital infrastructure. “In comparison with the previous budgetary period, we tried to focus more on new digital technologies and its benefit in the transport sector. We must allocate European funds more efficiently, create quality connection, incorporate local infrastructure into the European network of infrastructure, especially in the Czech Republic which geographically is at the centre of the Union. At the same time, one of our main scopes is to encourage synergies between the transport, energy and digital sectors in order to push for the development of intelligent transport services and more sustainable form of transportation” added Mr Telicka.

For the first time, CEF will integrate a military dimension financed directly from the European Defence Fund which will be used for civilian transport infrastructure. This will contribute to achieving rapid and seamless mobility as well as to strengthening our capacity to respond to emergency situations such as humanitarian crises, natural disasters or civil emergencies. “We can imagine situation in which we must face some emergency, for instance natural disease and we will need to move heavy equipment from one country to another. At the moment, we do not have the capacity to do so, therefore financing dual use infrastructure will contribute to bridge this gap, while enhancing the resilience of the civilian network.” explained Mr Telicka.

The report envisages a budget of €44 billion for the CEF Programme. The majority of the Programme (€33 billion) is allocated to the transport sector, €8 billion goes to project connected with energy and €3 billion goes to digital market and new digital technologies. The European Parliament report on the Connecting European Facility was voted this week by a very large majority of Members (434).

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