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  • Total budget of €43.85 billion should be reserved for the Connecting Europe Facility
  • €33.51 billion for transport projects
  • €7.68 billion for energy network projects
  • Digital network development should receive funding of €2.66 billion

MEPs adopted their position on the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for the 2021-2027 period to ensure continued development of trans-European transport, energy and telecom networks.

On Wednesday, Parliament adopted its position for negotiations with the Council on the priorities for funding of transport, energy and telecommunication projects to stimulate future growth with 433 votes in favour, 134 against, 37 abstentions.

Rapporteur Marian-Jean Marinescu (EPP, RO) said: “Mobility is the basis for growth and jobs and the 2021-2027 CEF will deliver more benefits for citizens. The Parliament would like to increase the budget by almost €6bn compared to the Commission’s proposal. CEF transport funds should go towards the completion of the TEN-T corridors, bringing better connectivity and accessibility to citizens across Europe.

We also agreed that the Commission must present a Framework Programme for the entire MFF period, including a timetable for work programs and calls for proposals, to provide predictability and transparency and allow EU Member States to prepare mature project proposals.”

Rapporteur Pavel Telicka (ALDE, CZ) said: “CEF is already performing well, but we are struggling to deliver when it comes to cross-border projects and synergies. The next MFF is an opportunity to provide additional support to those carrying out such projects.

For the first time, CEF will integrate a military dimension financed directly from the European Defence Fund, for the development of civilian transport infrastructure. The aim is to achieve rapid and seamless mobility, and to strengthen our capacity to respond to humanitarian crises and natural disasters.”

Rapporteur Henna Virkkunen (EPP, FI) said: “In the new CEF 2.0 we are looking for more synergies between the transport, energy and digital sectors. Taking into account the new climate targets, 60% of CEF funding should invest in projects contributing to climate actions.

In the digital connectivity infrastructure domain, one important element will be actions contributing to improving access to very high-capacity networks, providing gigabit connectivity, including 5G.”

MEPs want the Connecting Europe Facility to receive €43.85bn in constant (2018) prices, with €33.51bn for transport (including an envisaged transfer of €10bn (€11.26 in current prices) from the Cohesion Fund). While €5.77bn (€6.5bn in current prices) of transport project funding should go towards projects that can adapt the TEN-T networks with a view to enabling civilian-defence dual use of infrastructure, contributing to the development of the Defence Union.

€7.68bn (€8.65bn in current prices) of the total CEF funding should go to energy network projects, including cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy and €2.66bn (€3bn in current prices) to digital network development.

Next steps

The European Parliament is now ready to start negotiations with EU member states. MEPs want a swift agreement on MFF-related files, in order to avoid the serious setbacks for the launch of the new programmes due to the late adoption, as experienced in the past.