How much funding is available?
Under the current "call for proposals" €7.56 billion are being made available to improve European transport infrastructure, promote innovation and new technologies, develop intelligent transport systems and mitigate the safety and environmental impact of the sector. Out of the total amount available, €1.09 billion are earmarked for projects in all Member States while €6.47 billion are foreseen exclusively for projects in Member States eligible for funding from the EU's Cohesion Fund.
Which Member States are eligible to the Cohesion envelope?
The eligible Member States are: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia
Who can apply and how to do so?
Applicants will mostly be Member States or public or private undertakings. 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 evaluation and selection of project proposals and for the overall technical and financial monitoring of project implementation. The Member States themselves remain responsible for monitoring the implementation of the projects.
Applications are made through a web-tool managed by INEA. The application and all supporting documents are available here. 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.
What is the deadline to apply?
Applicants have until 16 February 2016 to submit their proposals. Proposals will then be evaluated from March through May 2016.
How will the EU funding for transport infrastructure be awarded?
CEF transport funding will be awarded mainly through grants, on the basis of calls for proposals. In order to ensure the most effective use of limited EU resources, these grants will be reserved for projects which are difficult to implement due to their cross-border nature or a very long return on investment.
Under the calls for proposals, the projects will be selected in a competitive process. The selection 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. The preparation and signature of the grant agreements is expected to be finalised in autumn 2016.
For more information on the Call Priorities and Call process see here
What is the articulation between CEF and other funding instruments, such as EFSI?
In addition to CEF grants, financing opportunities are available under the EU's financial instruments, which are managed in cooperation with entrusted entities such as the EIB or national promotional banks. In this respect, instruments such as the CEF Debt Instrument and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), will offer an alternative to the traditional grant funding and plug financing gaps for strategic investments for all TEN-T projects of common interest. Such instruments are especially relevant for revenue-generating projects. In particular, the EFSI is well-established and the European Investment Advisory Hub is already screening initial project requests. The EU's ports, airports, motorways, high speed lines or dedicated rail lines have the potential of benefiting from EFSI. The Fund can also contribute to the greening of transport infrastructure and vehicles - boosting for instance the electrification of roads, or the deployment of LNG in ports – and to the digitalisation of transport.
For more information on the CEF Debt Instrument see here
For more information on opportunities for the transport sector under the Investment Plan see here
How does the co-financing work? How much money comes from Member States and how much from Europe?
Transport infrastructure requires a significant investment – and an important 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 of up to 50% EU co-financing for studies. For works, the co-financing rates vary within a range of up to 10% for road cross-border projects and up to 50% for certain traffic management systems such as ERTMS in the railway sector.
For projects in Cohesion Member States the maximum EU co-financing rate is 85%.
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.
Is it possible to re-submit a project which was not selected as part of the 2014 Call for proposals?
Applicants whose proposals were not selected for funding in July may apply again under the present calls with the same proposal, taking account of the lessons-learned in the evaluation as appropriate, or with a new proposal. All proposals will need to be assessed against the criteria set out in the call text and in competition with other submitted proposals. Please also note that only costs incurred after the date of submission of the grant application will be eligible.
For more information on the EU transport infrastructure policy, see MEMO 14/525