As team Juncker enters its second year in office, today the European Commission is taking further action to stimulate investment in Europe by launching the second call for proposals of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) endowed with more than €7.6 billion to finance key transport projects. €6.5 billion are earmarked for projects in Member States eligible to the EU Cohesion Fund, in order to better integrate these countries into the internal market. Along with the Investment Plan presented by Commission in November 2014 – and in particular the new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) , the CEF aims at bridging the investment gap in Europe to kick-start growth and job creations, a priority of President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "An optimal use of the Connecting Europe Facility instruments is an integral part of the Commission's Investment Plan. Transport infrastructure is in dire need of investment and today's announcement of more than €7.6 billion to finance key transport projects is excellent news. I encourage project promoters to use the new Advisory Hub to get their proposals in good shape, and to submit them to the Project Portal which will be launched in January."
EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc added, "Efficient, intelligent and sustainable transportation is essential to Europe's competitiveness. With this new CEF call, we are not only looking for waterway or rail projects; we are aiming at creating jobs and boosting growth. The focus on the Cohesion states also reflects our willingness to better interconnect Europe and move towards a deeper internal market, another priority of the Commission."
In order to achieve synergies with other Commission's priorities such as the Digital Single Market, this year's Call for proposal has a special focus on innovative transport. Under the general envelope (€1.1 billion, available to all 28 Member States), sought projects will include Intelligent Transport Systems or traffic management systems such as ERTMS (rail), SESAR (air) or RIS (waterways). The "cohesion" envelope (€6.5 billion, available to 15 Member States) will add to these priorities key infrastructure projects in sustainable transport modes such as rail and inland waterways. This is part and parcel of the Commission's priority to create an Energy-Union with a forward-looking climate policy.
Support will be granted on a competitive basis in the form of EU co-financing, following a thorough evaluation and selection process. Applicants have until 16 February 2016 to submit their proposals. The outcome of the calls will be published by summer 2016.
Under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), €24.05 billion will be made available from the EU’s 2014-2020 budget to co-fund TEN-T projects in the EU Member States. Of this amount, €11.305 billion are earmarked for projects in Member States eligible to the Cohesion Fund.
On 29 June 2015, the Commission unveiled a first list of 276 projects to receive CEF funding for a combined amount of €13.1 billion. To date, this is the largest investment ever made by the EU in the transport sector. The list was endorsed by Member States on 10 July 2015 and implementation is now ongoing.
For more info
Calls webpage (INEA)
The Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) will organise a Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Transport Info Day on Monday 30 November 2015 at the Charlemagne building in Brussels, Belgium.
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