Motion for a resolution - B8-0245/2018Motion for a resolution
B8-0245/2018

    MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the Connecting Europe Facility after 2020

    28.5.2018 - (2018/2718(RSP))

    to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission
    pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

    Roberts Zīle, Zdzisław Krasnodębski on behalf of the ECR Group

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

    Procedure : 2018/2718(RSP)
    Document stages in plenary
    Document selected :  
    B8-0245/2018
    Texts tabled :
    B8-0245/2018
    Debates :
    Texts adopted :

    B8‑0245/2018

    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[3] and the Commission proposal of 14 September 2016 for an amendment of this Interinstitutional Agreement (COM(2016)0606),

    –  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 communication of 2 May 2018 entitled ‘A Modern Budget for a Union that Protects, Empowers and Defends. The Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027’ (COM(2018)0321),

    –  having regard to the Commission statement by Jean-Claude Juncker of 2 May 2018 on the Commission decision adopted on the MFF post-2020 package,

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

    A.  whereas the transport sector remains a key investment area contributing to growth, competitiveness and development by boosting the economic potential of every EU Member State and region, thus furthering economic, social and territorial cohesion, supporting the internal market and thereby countering imbalances between regions;

    B.  whereas the EU’s current energy infrastructure is aging and may therefore be unable to meet future demand for energy or to ensure security of supply;

    C.  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 delivers tangible results on the ground;

    D.  whereas the CEF provides a substantial share of EU funding for transport and energy projects with a strong contribution to the goal of a low-emission European economy;

    E.  whereas the kinds of projects co-financed by the CEF match the EU’s ambition to increase connectivity on a European scale for three major sectors and to concentrate support on public goods with 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 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 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 must deliver real added-value for citizens;

    2.  Underlines that investment in energy infrastructure is crucial to implementing the Energy Union and that the CEF is therefore a major policy tool to address the investment gap in the energy sector and deliver growth and jobs;

    3.  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;

    4.  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;

    5.  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;

    6.  Encourages the Commission to continue to allocate CEF funding in the form of grants, as a large majority of CEF funding relates to projects which have wider regional and EU benefits but for which there is insufficient national funding or no market-based financing;

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

    8.  Highlights the importance of direct management, which prompts fast allocation of funds and very sound budgetary execution, and 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; underlines that the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) has a very good track record regarding the financial management of the CEF, particularly thanks to its flexibility in quickly redirecting money unspent for certain actions to financing new ones; insists, therefore, on reinforcing INEA to ensure that EU funds are appropriately spent;

    9.  Underlines that the completion of many large-scale TEN-T infrastructure projects which are currently ongoing requires significant investments, part of which depend on continued EU support, or they risk coming to a standstill;

    10.  Highlights the benefits of the complementarity of the CEF, Horizon 2020, the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) 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 Member States that are eligible for Cohesion Fund support;

    11.  Underlines the importance of continuing to earmark/ring-fence a certain amount of the Cohesion Fund in the next MFF 2021-2027 for transport projects under the CEF at the maximum funding rates applicable to the Cohesion Fund; stresses that the amount earmarked from the Cohesion Fund in the next MFF 2021-2027 must at least remain at the same level as in the previous MFF 2014-2020, and that this amount must in any case be sufficient to complete, during the next MFF 2021-2027, the ongoing projects funded from these Cohesion Fund allocations;

    12.  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 investment in EU transport infrastructure should remain a well-balanced system of centrally managed and shared management sources;

    13.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to remain committed to the CEF’s main policy objectives:

    a)  regarding transport – completion of the TEN-T Core Network by 2030, including the deployment of SESAR and ERTMS, and completion of the TEN-T comprehensive network by 2050;

    b)  regarding energy – completion of the TEN-E priority corridors by 2030, namely to smarten and digitalise the grids, reaching the 2030 interconnection targets (including for peripheral Member States), developing meshed off-shore grids and ensuring security of supply, also through synchronisation;

    c)  regarding digitalisation – maximising the benefits of the digital single market for all citizens and businesses by 2030, achieving 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;

    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.  Reiterates that the blending call launched in 2017, which merges CEF grants with market-based financial tools, in particular financial instruments available under the EFSI, is intended to strengthen, where possible, 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;

    16.  Recalls that, in the telecom sector, the dual focus of the 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 2011 Commission proposal on the MFF 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, with an additional EUR 10 billion earmarked/ring-fenced in the Cohesion Fund for transport projects, bringing the total for the transport sector to EUR 31.7 billion; notes that the MFF 2014-2020 and EFSI negotiations reduced this amount significantly;

    18.  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 the creation of a low-emission economy and addressing common societal challenges such as cybersecurity;

    19.  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’;

    20.  Considers that the proposed level of allocation for the CEF (as indicated in the ‘EU Budget for the Future’ communication), and especially the low level of allocation for transport, is unsatisfactory, and notes that this allocation is lower than under the MFF 2014-2020; calls on the Commission, therefore, to include a larger amount in the proposal for the CEF Regulation and at least to maintain the same level of CEF funding as under the previous MFF, in accordance with the needs and benefits of transport, energy and telecoms infrastructure;

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

     

    Last updated: 18 September 2018
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