Breakthrough as EU funding targeted at transport, energy and telecoms networks

Agreement reached on key €30bn Connecting Europe Facility Fund (CEF)

Minister Varadkar: CEF is a key instrument for targeted infrastructure investment at European level

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has announced a significant break-through with the European Parliament on a new regulation which will see almost €30 billion in EU funding targeted at enhancing the transport, energy and telecoms networks of the EU from 2014 to 2020.

At the final trilogue meeting this morning between the officials representing the Irish Presidency and Rapporteurs from the European Parliament, agreement was reached on a compromise text for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).

“CEF is a key instrument for targeted infrastructure investment at European level which will make a significant contribution to the development of the Single Market and boost sustainable growth, jobs and competitiveness across the European Union. The €30 billion in EU funding will also be used to leverage additional private investment,” Minster Varadkar said.

“Connectivity is key to the EU’s competitiveness and economic recovery. CEF will offer funding opportunities over the next 7 years to deliver key transport, energy and telecoms infrastructure for all Member States, particularly those currently isolated from European networks.”

Minister Rabbitte also welcomed the agreement, adding that the Connecting Europe facility will provide financial support for those projects identified in the Sectoral Guidelines (Transport, Energy and Telecommunications) that cannot be financed fully by the market. This is particularly relevant in the context of ending the isolation of ‘energy islands’ and completing the IEM.

The agreement now goes to Coreper for final approval.

Further information

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is part of the package proposed in the context of the next MFF (Multiannual Financial Framework). It lays down the general rules for granting the Union financial aid in the field of the trans-European transport, energy and telecommunication networks, replacing the existing legal bases. Sectoral policy guidelines (TEN-T Guidelines, TEN-E Guidelines and INFSO Guidelines) determining priorities and complementary measures of implementation were also proposed for each of the above sectors. With a budget of almost €30bn, the CEF is a key instrument for targeted infrastructure investment at European level to ensure the smooth functioning of the Single Market and boost sustainable growth, jobs and competitiveness across the European Union.

In transport, the CEF will fund the development of the core network set out in the Trans European Transport Guidelines which were also agreed during the Irish Presidency. The guidelines set out the framework for identifying projects of common interest contributing to the development of the network. The aim is to tackle the main problems encountered: missing links, in particular at cross-border sections, infrastructure disparities between and within member states, insufficient multi-modal connections, greenhouse gas emissions from transport and inadequate interoperability.

In energy, the CEF will provide financial assistance for the modernisation and expansion of Europe’s energy infrastructure in order to complete the internal energy market, link isolated regions and facilitate the development of renewables. The Regulation supports the recently finalised guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure which set out procedures to implement key projects of common interest along trans-European priority corridors and areas covering electricity, gas, oil and CO2. The CEF therefore enables the EU to meet its broader climate and energy goals, while ensuring security of supply and solidarity among Member States.