Connecting Europe: EU boost for infrastructure projects 

 
 

MEPs want to boost the Connecting Europe Facility programme to modernise EU transport, digital networks, 5G systems and energy infrastructure.

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The Parliament adopted the renewed Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme on 6 July.


Part of the EU’s 2021-2027 budget, the programme with a €33.71 billion budget (in current prices) will fund key projects with the goal of improving transport connections and energy networks, as well as digital services and connectivity in Europe. It should also support jobs, economic growth and the deployment of new technologies.

MEPs succeeded in ensuring that 60% of the funds will be given to projects that help achieve the EU’s climate objectives. In addition, 15% of energy pillar funds will be allocated to cross-border renewable energy projects.

Support in different areas

The Connecting Europe Facility aims to create synergies between the transport, energy and digital sectors. The budget for each sector will be:

  • Transport: €25.81 billion
  • Energy: €5.84 billion
  • Digital: €2.07 billion


It will promote the interconnection, development and modernisation of rail, road, inland waterway and maritime infrastructure, as well as ensuring safe and secure mobility.


The further development of the trans-European transport networks (TEN-T) will be a priority.


The new programme will also ensure that when infrastructure is adapted to improve military mobility within the EU, it can be used for both civilian and military needs. In total €1.69 billion of the transport budget will go to military mobility.


Funds will be used for cross-border renewable energy projects, decarbonisation supporting the EU green deal and the EU’s climate ambitions and to ensure security of supply


Universal access to fast networks is the backbone of the digital transformation of the economy and society, while connectivity is a decisive factor in closing economic, social and territorial divides. Priority will go to projects that extend coverage, including for households.


Background

The Connecting Europe Facility was set up in 2014 to bring together EU funding for the development of infrastructure in the digital, transport and energy sectors.


It has supported the synchronisation of the Baltic States, integration of the Iberian peninsula, diversification in South-East Europe and the off-shore grid in the Northern Seas (North Sea, Irish Sea, English Channel, Baltic Sea and neighbouring waters).


The Connecting Europe Facility is also enabling cross border interoperability in key areas such as eJustice, eHealth, and Cybersecurity.


Since 2018, the Connecting Europe Facility has supported the WiFi4EU initiative, which aims to provide free public Wi-fi via public sector bodies across all EU countries, plus Norway and Iceland.


Once the regulation enters into force it will apply retroactively from 1 January 2021.