Procedure : 2018/2718(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0242/2018

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 31/05/2018 - 7.7
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0242/2018

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the Connecting Europe Facility after 2020 (2018/2718(RSP))

Marian-Jean Marinescu, Wim van de Camp, Francisco José Millán Mon, Ivo Belet on behalf of the PPE Group

European Parliament resolution on the Connecting Europe Facility after 2020 (2018/2718(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 311, 312 and 323 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(1) and the subsequent amendment thereof by Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2017/1123 of 20 June 2017(2),

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management,

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2016 on the preparation of the post-electoral revision of the MFF 2014-2020: Parliament’s input ahead of the Commission’s proposal(3),

–  having regard to the Commission’s Reflection Paper on the Future of EU Finances of 28 June 2017 (COM(2017)0358),

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 October 2017 on the Reflection Paper on the Future of EU Finances(4),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 14 September 2016 for a Council regulation amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020 (COM(2016)0604) and the accompanying staff working document (SWD(2016)0299),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 14 September 2016 for an amendment of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management (COM(2016)0606),

–  having regard to the ratification of the Paris Agreement by Parliament on 4 October 2016 and by the Council on 5 October 2016,

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 October 2016 on the mid-term revision of the MFF 2014-2020(5),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 15 June 2016 on the mid-term revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework(6),

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the transport sector and the infrastructure for that sector are central and essential to the development of any country, as well as to the wellbeing of the Member States’ populations, which is why the transport sector remains a key investment area contributing to growth, competitiveness and development by boosting the economic potential of every EU region, thus furthering economic, territorial and social cohesion, supporting the internal market and thereby facilitating cohesion, integration and social and economic inclusion, countering imbalances between regions, facilitating access to services and training in the most remote regions currently at risk of depopulation, and strengthening business start-up and development networks;

B.  whereas the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) was conceived as a joint, centrally managed funding programme for transport, energy and telecommunications infrastructure, as part of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and the EU’s 20-20-20 objectives in the area of energy and climate policy;

C.  whereas the CEF provides a substantial share of EU funding for transport and energy projects and makes a major contribution to the decarbonisation of the European economy, thereby contributing to meeting the EU’s emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement;

D.  whereas, based on the respective sectoral guidelines, the CEF should support the development of trans-European networks (TENs), with the objective of improving cohesion in the internal market and the EU’s competitiveness in the global market, at the same time as addressing market failures, focusing on projects of high European added value and helping leverage further investment from the private sector;

E.  whereas the kinds of projects co-financed by the CEF match the EU’s ambitions to increase connectivity on a European scale for three major sectors and to concentrate support on public goods of a European dimension; whereas the CEF contributes to the Commission’s priorities on jobs, growth and investment, the internal market, the Energy Union, the climate and the digital single market, strengthening the global competitiveness of the EU;

F.  whereas, by the end of 2017, CEF Transport had already allocated EUR 21.3 billion in grants for Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) projects, triggering EUR 41.6 billion of total investments; whereas, during 2018, additional grant agreements will be signed for a blending call combining CEF grants with private finance, including from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI); whereas the initial budget of EUR 1 billion for this call was increased in November 2017 by EUR 350 million to support the ‘Innovation and new technologies’ priority in line with the objectives of the Alternative Fuels Action Plan;

G.  whereas the Commission is expected to publish its legislative proposals on European Strategic Investment, including an updated Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), in May and June 2018;

1.  Stresses that investing in transport infrastructure means investing in long-term growth, cohesion, competitiveness and jobs, where the EU delivers tangible added value for citizens;

2.  Believes that, in the transport sector, priority should be given to projects which create or improve cross-border connections, complete missing links and eliminate bottlenecks; considers, therefore, that in this scenario the CEF would make a concrete contribution to the ambition of achieving a single European transport area;

3.  Insists, moreover, that the CEF should focus on providing EU added value to the development of connectivity in transport, mainly by focusing on projects at national, regional or local level that would not otherwise be accomplished without EU support;

4.  Backs the idea that the CEF should continue to steer public and private finance towards EU policy objectives, enable key investments where costs are borne at national/local level but benefits are tangible on a European scale, and contribute to the acceleration of the shift to a low-emission and digital society;

5.  Encourages the Commission to continue allocating CEF funding in the form of grants, as a large majority of CEF funding relates to projects with wider regional and EU benefits, but for which sufficient national funding or market-based financing is unavailable;

6.  Calls on the Commission to consider further ways to promote CEF as a policy-driven instrument with specific sectoral objectives, addressing complex projects with a cross-border or EU-wide interoperability dimension;

7.  Highlights the importance of direct management, which prompts speedy allocation of funds and very sound budgetary execution; stresses that the direct management of CEF grants has proved very efficient, with a strong project pipeline and a competitive selection process, a focus on EU policy objectives, coordinated implementation and the full involvement of Member States; as the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) has a very good track record regarding the financial management of the CEF and optimising the budget, particularly thanks to its flexibility in quickly redirecting unspent money for certain actions to financing new ones, insists on reinforcing the INEA to ensure that EU funds are appropriately spent;

8.  Reiterates that the blending call launched in 2017, which merges CEF grants with market-based finance, in particular financial instruments available under the EFSI, is intended to strengthen complementarity between the two support schemes, while at the same time leveraging other sources of finance, notably the EFSI, private investors or national promotional banks;

9.  Highlights the benefits of the complementarity of the CEF, Horizon 2020, the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds and the EFSI; points out that the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund have a strong regional dimension that responds to local demand and focuses financial support on the less-developed regions and the 15 Member States which are eligible for Cohesion Fund support, while the CEF aims to address centrally the EU-wide priority of core TEN-T corridors by focusing on EU integration through cross-border connections and interconnections, bottleneck removal and interoperability projects;

10.  Welcomes the initiatives under which a share of the cohesion budget (EUR 11.3 billion – transport) has been executed under direct management within the CEF framework; notes that EU transport infrastructure investment should remain a well-balanced construction of centrally managed and shared management sources;

11.  Notes that the CEF has worked as a catalyst for the EFSI, as several projects have been initiated in the context of CEF direct investment feeding into the EFSI project pipeline; points out, moreover, that projects prepared with CEF support or supported in part with CEF grants for works have started to benefit from the EFSI; underlines, however, that the EFSI has had a substitution effect on the CEF financial instruments;

12.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to remain committed to the CEF’s main policy objectives regarding transport: completion of the TEN-T core network, including the deployment of SESAR and ERTMS, and the transition towards clean, competitive, innovative and connected mobility by 2030 (including an EU backbone of alternative-fuels charging infrastructure by 2025); progress towards the completion of the TEN-T comprehensive network by 2050; regarding energy, completion by 2030 of the TEN-E priority corridors and thematic areas aligned with the ‘Clean Energy for all Europeans’ and long-term decarbonisation objectives, namely to smarten and digitalise the grids, to reach the 2030 interconnection targets (including for peripheral Member States), to develop meshed offshore grids and to ensure security of supply, also through synchronisation; regarding digitalisation, maximising the benefits of the digital single market for all citizens and businesses by 2030, with the achievement of a fully cyber-secure gigabit society by 2025, preparing for terabit connectivity by 2030 and the roll-out of EU-wide data and digital service infrastructure supporting the digital transformation of key areas of public interest, from healthcare to mobility and public administrations;

13.  Calls on the Commission to outline a targeted initiative within the future InvestEU fund that leverages private investments, in part by bringing together grants and financial instruments, in order to achieve complete implementation of ERTMS;

14.  Considers that an updated CEF, which covers all modes of transport, including road infrastructure and inland waterways, focusing on interconnections and the completion of networks in peripheral areas and covering all transport needs, including digital solutions, modal shift and more sustainable transport, is necessary; believes that this updated CEF should also prioritise more direct linkages between the core and comprehensive networks, including, for example, horizontal priorities such as Motorways of the Sea; believes this should be reflected in the lists of pre-identified projects included in the next CEF regulation;

15.  Recalls that the updated CEF will be key for the EU to complete the transport core network in 2030; believes that a balanced geographical distribution of rail corridors facilitates the implementation of the core network, the improvement of modal integration and the promotion of co-modal operations; calls on the Commission to extend the core network rail corridors to improve the connectivity of Atlantic peripheral regions and their ports;

16.  Recalls that, in the telecommunications sector, the dual focus of CEF on digital cross-border services of public interest and communication and computing infrastructure has shown that the programme has an important impact on achieving the EU digital single market goals, helping develop and implement common policies to address societal challenges, including the digital transformation of healthcare, cybersecurity, 5G coverage of the TEN-T corridors and digitisation of governments;

17.  Recalls that the MFF 2011 Commission proposal introduced a financial instrument with a total budget of EUR 50 billion, divided into EUR 9.1 billion for energy projects, EUR 9.2 billion for telecommunications/digital projects and EUR 21.7 billion for transport projects; recalls, moreover, that EUR 10 billion were supposed to be earmarked under the Cohesion Fund for transport projects, bringing the total for the transport sector to EUR 31.7 billion, but that the MFF 2014-2020 and the EFSI negotiations significantly reduced this amount;

18.  Emphasises the European added value CEF brings for all Member States by supporting connectivity projects with a cross-border dimension and funding projects that bridge missing links and remove bottlenecks, with the aim of ensuring the proper functioning of the EU internal market and territorial cohesion among Member States;

19.  Welcomes the introduction of cross-sectoral synergies in the CEF; expects the future sectoral policy guidelines and the CEF instrument to be made more flexible in order to facilitate synergies and be more responsive to new technological developments and priorities such as digitalisation, while accelerating decarbonisation and addressing common societal challenges such as cybersecurity;

20.  Emphasises that the CEF has been, is and must remain an effective and targeted instrument for investment in trans-European infrastructure (TEN) in transport, energy and the digital sector and in order to contribute to the EU’s priorities on jobs, growth and investment, the internal market, the Energy Union, the climate and the digital single market;

21.  Calls on the Commission to bear in mind that the completion of the TEN defined in the EU policy priorities will require significant investments, part of which will depend on continued EU support;

22.  Calls on the Commission to use the CEF framework for the achievement of objectives outlined in the ‘Action Plan on military mobility: EU takes steps towards a Defence Union’;

23.  Notes the Commission communication entitled ‘EU Budget for the Future’; considers the level of the proposed allocation for the CEF, and particularly the low level of allocation for transport, to be unsatisfactory; notes that this allocation is lower than previously provided for under the MFF 2014-2020; calls on the Commission to include in the proposal for the CEF Regulation a larger amount in accordance with the needs and benefits of transport, energy and telecommunications infrastructure;

24.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission and the Member States.


OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.


OJ L 163, 24.6.2017, p. 1.


OJ C 101, 16.3.2018, p. 64.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0401.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0412.


OJ C 17, 18.1.2017, p. 20.

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