Brussels, 11 September 2014
New EU transport infrastructure policy – background
What is the EU infrastructure policy?
Transport is vital to the European economy: without good connections Europe will not grow or prosper. The new EU infrastructure policy will put in place a powerful European transport network across 28 Member States to promote growth and competitiveness. It will connect East with West and replace today’s transport patchwork with a network that is genuinely European.
The new EU infrastructure policy triples EU financing to €26 billion for transport for the period 2014–2020. At the same time it refocuses transport financing on a tightly defined new core network. The core network will form the backbone for transportation in Europe's single market. It will remove bottlenecks, upgrade infrastructure and streamline cross border transport operations for passengers and businesses throughout the EU. Its implementation will be pushed ahead by the setting up of nine major transport corridors that will bring together Member States and stakeholders and will allow to concentrate tight resources and achieve results.
The new core TEN-T network will be supported by a comprehensive network of routes, feeding into the core network at regional and national level. The aim is to ensure that progressively, and by 2050, the great majority of Europe's citizens and businesses will be no more than 30 minutes' travel time from this comprehensive network.
Taken as a whole, the new transport network will deliver:
Why do we need a new infrastructure policy for Europe?
In practice there are five main problem areas which need to be tackled at EU level:
The new EU infrastructure policy in detail
The new core network – the figures
The core network will connect:
This will be the economic lifeblood of the single market, allowing a real free flow of goods and people around the EU.
The nine new corridors
A major innovation on the new TEN-T guidelines is the introduction of nine implementing corridors on the core network. They are there to help implement the development of the core network. Each corridor must include three transport modes, three Member States and 2 cross-border sections.
"Corridor platforms" will be created to bring all relevant stakeholders and Member States together. The corridor platform is a governance structure that will devise and implement "corridor work plans" so that work along the corridor, in different Member States and at different stages of progress can be joined effectively. European Coordinators will chair the corridor platforms for the key corridors on the core network.
Core network corridors – short description
The nine corridors are a major breakthrough in transport infrastructure planning. Past experience has shown that it is very difficult to implement cross border and other transport projects in different member states in a co-ordinated way. It is very easy, in fact, to create divergent systems and connections and create more bottlenecks. Also projects need to be synchronised across the border in order to increase benefits from all investments. The new corridor plans and governance structures will greatly facilitate implementation of the new core network.
The comprehensive network
At a regional and national level what we call the comprehensive network will feed into the core network. This comprehensive network is an integral part of TEN-T policy. This will be largely managed by the Member States themselves with a smaller share of funding available under the CEF and of course under regional policy. That is subsidiarity in action. It is our intention that progressively, and by 2050, the great majority of Europe's citizens and businesses will be no more than 30 minutes' travel time from this feeder network.
The new TEN-T guidelines go much further than before in terms of specifying requirements, also including the comprehensive network, so that over time – looking ahead to 2050 – large parts of the comprehensive network join up in terms of fully interoperable and efficient standards, for rail, electric cars, etc.
EU financing – how much money is available and how to apply for it
The Connecting Europe Facility makes available for transport infrastructure 26 billion euros for the next financial period 2014–2020, this triples the financing currently available.
80%- to 85% of this money will be used to support:
The remaining funding can be made available for ad hoc projects, including for projects on the comprehensive network.
It is estimated that the level of investment needed on the core network for 2014–2020 amounts to €250 billion. The Commission will publish regular calls for proposals to make sure that only the best projects with highest EU added value receive EU funding. The CEF triples EU financing to €26 billion for transport for the period 2014–2020; at the same time it focuses transport financing on a tightly defined new core network.
Overall, the "Connecting Europe Facility", will finance EU priority infrastructure in transport, energy and digital broadband. The facility will support key infrastructure to underpin the single market. The facility will have a single fund of €33.242 billion for the period 2014-2020, of which €26.250 billion will be allocated to transport, out of which €11.305 billion ring-fenced for related transport infrastructures investments in the Member States eligible under the Cohesion Fund.
How will the EU funding for transport infrastructure be awarded?
Applicants will mostly be Member States. Under the current "call for tender" applicants can submit proposals until 26 February 2015
The CEF is managed centrally by the European Commission, which sets its political priorities and is responsible for the selection of projects through competitive calls for proposals. The Commission is assisted by the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) for the overall technical and financial monitoring of project implementation. The Member States themselves remain responsible for the implementation of the projects.
CEF transport funding will be awarded mainly through grants. In order to ensure the most effective use of limited EU resources, these grants will be reserved for projects that are difficult to implement due to their cross-border nature or a very long return on investment. In addition, the use of financial instruments managed in cooperation with entrusted entities will also be included to offer an alternative to the traditional grant funding and plug financing gaps for strategic investments for all TEN-T projects of common interest.
The projects will be selected in a competitive process. The selection of projects will be based on an evaluation comprising two phases, an initial external selection phase, with independent experts basing their assessment on a set of standard criteria to ensure transparency and equal treatment of all eligible proposals. This will be followed by an internal selection phase under the direction of the Directorate General responsible for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE), which will undertake a qualitative analysis of the overall value of projects for the development of the EU transport policy.
For more information on the Call Priorities and Call process see http://inea.ec.europa.eu/en/cef/cef_transport/apply_for_funding/cef_transport_call_for_proposals_2014.htm
How does the co-financing work? How much money comes from Member States and how much from Europe?
Transport infrastructure requires a huge investment – and the large share will always come from Member States. Europe's role in terms of investment and co-ordination is to add value by removing difficult bottlenecks and building missing links and connections, and to support the creation of a real European transport network.
The normal co-financing rates for TEN-T projects on the core network will be:
Table: Maximum co-funding rates for CEF Transport
The call texts do not stipulate ceilings for a maximum amount of funding which can be requested per proposal. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit applications for actions with the total requested EU contribution for the eligible costs of no less than €500,000 for studies and €1,000,000 for works. Where possible, related actions should be grouped and submitted as one proposal. However, there will not be an automatic exclusion but a case by case analysis should applications remain below these thresholds.
What does all this mean for East West connections?
A great deal of progress has been made in the last 20 years to improve travel links between the West and the East of Europe. East-West connections that were completely or partly missing, or restricted to only certain modes of transport, have now been integrated into the new TEN-T network.
However, within the EU, there is still a considerable disparity in quality and availability of infrastructure between and within the Member States (bottlenecks). In particular, the East-West connections require improvement, through the creation of new transport infrastructure and/or maintenance, rehabilitation or upgrading of existing infrastructure.
The focus has now shifted from individual projects to creating a core network of strategic corridors that will join East and West and all corners of a vast geographical area – from Portugal to Finland, from the coast of Scotland to the shores of the Black Sea.
East West connections are a central priority for the new EU infrastructure policy.
In terms of financing at least €11.3 billion has been ring-fenced for cohesion countries. This is to give additional support to investing in the major East West connections.
Nine corridors will be used to implement the core network. The core network corridors must each include three modes, three Member States and two cross-border sections.
Out of the nine core network corridors, 7 have a real east-west dimension: Baltic-Adriatic, North Sea-Baltic, Mediterranean, Orient/East Med, Atlantic, North Sea-Mediterranean, Rhine-Danube. In practice, we can now see that in the future corridors with multi-modal connections will stretch from east to west and from the geographically peripheral-regions to the centre of EU.
A few examples to illustrate this situation:
How were projects on the core network chosen?
The basic principle is that that every country benefits from access to a strong core European transport network – allowing for the free flow of people and goods. All European countries will be connected to this network.
Projects on the core network that have been identified as a priority for EU funding for the next financing period (2014–2020) are set out here (LINK annex to the Connecting Europe Regulation – see annex attach to this MEMO).
These projects are eligible for EU transport funding for 2014–2020 because:
It will be up to the Member States to submit detailed proposals to the Commission and on that basis funding will allocated. This should happen as of early 2014. The precise level of EU funding available also depends on the details for the national proposals. Overall, the EU contribution to a major transport infrastructure development will normally be around 20% of the investment costs for any 7-year budget period. Support for individual studies can be up to 50 % and for studies and construction work in the case of cross-border projects up to 40%. The rest is from Member States, regional authorities or possibly private investors. For the at least € 11.3 billion ring fenced for MS eligible under the Cohesion Fund, the co-funding can go up to a maximum of 85 %.
What are the tougher requirements for the core network?
Projects receiving funding on the core network will have to meet tough technical requirements which need to be applied.
It makes sense that in particular for a core network, technical requirements must be interoperable across the network. For example, that means that ERTMS (the European Rail Traffic Management System) – the basic ITS systems to control the trains must apply everywhere. Equally, road safety standards in terms of tunnel safety requirements and road safety requirements must apply across the network, and the technology for ITS (intelligent transport systems) must join up. Also if there are future electric vehicle infrastructure charging points to be built, logically, they must meet common standards, so the cars can use them all across the network.
How will we get to the 250 billion euros needed for the core network?
The 31.7 billion euros allocated to transport under the Connecting Europe Facility of the MFF (Multi Annual Financial Framework) will effectively act as "seed capital" to stimulate further investment by Member State to complete the difficult cross border connections and links, which might not otherwise get built.
There is a very strong leverage effect from TEN-T funding. Experience in recent years shows that every 1 million euros spent at European level will generate 5 million from Member State governments and 20 million from the private sector.
Added to this leveraged money is now the possibility of new private sector money coming in through innovative financing instruments like project bonds.
How does the new TEN-T meet green objectives?
TEN-T is an essential tool for transport policy to meet the overall target to reduce by 60% emissions from transport by 2050 (see "Transport 2050" white paper published in 2011). At its heart the TEN-T network is a multi-modal transport network, facilitating a substantial the shift of passengers and freight from road to rail and other transport modes. All TEN-T projects have to undergo a rigorous environmental impact before qualifying for EU money. To do this they must meet all the requirements, in terms of planning and sustainability set out under EU environmental legislation.
Background TEN-T Policy
The trans-European network policy is there to put in place the transport infrastructure and interconnections that underpin the Single Market, to ensure the free-flow of goods and people and to support growth, jobs and EU competitiveness. In the past, transport systems in Europe developed largely along national lines. This led to poor or absent transport interconnections at the borders, or along key corridors. Weak transport interconnections hamper economic growth. Since the 1990s, TEN-T policy has focused EU money on supporting the development of key European infrastructure projects. And there have been many important success stories. However, given in particular the tough financial period, there is a need to refocus EU transport spending to where it gives maximum added value – to create a strong core European network.