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Brussels, 26 February 2014
Commission welcomes finalisation of digital Connecting Europe Facility; European Parliament endorsement means investment in Europe's digital future
Today the European Parliament approved a €1 billion investment package to support pan-European digital projects and high-speed broadband networks. Members of the European Parliament voted in their Plenary session to support the digital part of the Connecting Europe Facility proposed by the Commission in 2011 to improve Europe's transport, energy and digital networks
Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda said. "Digital infrastructure matters for the whole economy. So today’s vote is not just about telecoms and internet, it’s about giving every sector what they need to compete or deliver public services.”
“Coming on top of political agreement on our e-Identification regulation and proposals to reduce the cost of broadband rollout, this is a great week for Europe’s Digital Agenda.”
“I want to thank Mr Tošenovský and the shadow rapporteurs for their strong cooperation here. These investments will help transform Europe.”
“These investments will help transform everything from movie theatres to operating theatres; from our transport to our tourism industry”
“Giving priority to “building-block” services that are reusable across all sectors, such as eID, eSignature, eInvoicing and Automated Translation, CEF Digital will gradually build up a digital eco-system in support of a true digital single market without digital barriers.”
“We need to combine investments like the ones voted on today with new rules so that we build a truly connected continent. When we have seamless networks and services that everyone can use, that’s when we’ll know that Europe is ready to compete for decades to come in the global economy.”
"I look to more constructive cooperation with this Parliament to achieve those reforms.”
That is truly a visionary target that deserves support from all of us.
In October 2011, the proposed a Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)as part of the multi-annual financial framework (MFF) to support transport, energy and digital infrastructure projects (IP/11/1200).This included a budget of €9.2bn for CEF digital of which €7 billion would support investment in high-speed broadband (leveraging between €50 and 100 billion of public and private investment) and the remaining amount to support public interest digital service infrastructure (MEMO/11/709).
At the February 2013 European Council, funding available for CEF digital under MFF was reduced to €1 billion and the Commission had to fundamentally reorient its plans for the scheme.
Under the proposal endorsed by the European Parliament today, the majority of funding will support digital services such as infrastructures, pan-European platforms and seamless cross-border public services such as eProcurement, eHealth, or Open Data. 15% of the budget has been earmarked to support broadband, projects of which at least one third shall aim at speeds of 100 Mb per second or above.
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