CER calls upon member states to support growth and EU added value

CER calls upon member states to support growth and EU added value

Monday, 25 June 2012

Member states are set to discuss the EU’s budget for the years 2014-2020 at a General Affairs Council on 26 June and the European Council on 28 and 29 June. The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) calls upon Ministers and Heads of State to defend the European added value of the budget and to protect those parts of the budget which generate growth and jobs.  

 

 The Commission proposal on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) aims to shift the focus of the EU’s budget from a logic of national allocations to a vision of European added value. It places the emphasis on instruments with competitive calls at the European level, such as the research programme Horizon 2020 and the new Connecting Europe Facility, which is to finance infrastructure projects in transport, energy and ICT. In such programmes, investments at the European level are particularly useful due to their synergy effects. Bottlenecks and missing links in the transport system can be more effectively addressed if investments are coordinated at EU level. 
 

CER therefore supports the Commission proposal for the MFF, as well as the sector specific legislative proposals for transport, the TEN-T Guidelines and the CEF, which reflect the wish to concentrate scarce financial resources on priority projects with a high European added value. These proposals will only be meaningful, though, if they are adequately funded.

 

Negotiations in the Council currently seem to be following a different dynamic, with member states defending clear national allocations and thus fighting to protect traditional spending policies such as cohesion and agriculture at the expense of other areas that foster growth and create jobs. If this logic prevails, it will lead to a budget with a strong focus on redistribution failing to maximize the European added value as well as restricting the ability to create economic growth. In the current economic climate, it will be difficult to win the support of citizens for such a budget, in particular in net contributing countries.

 

CER Executive Libor Lochman said: “Those areas of the budget that generate growth and jobs shall be defended in and the European added value must be maximised. The CEF transport budget of EUR 31.7bn, as proposed by the European Commission, should be protected, as transport is the essential basis for the EU internal market and the economy growth.” 
 

The transport industry directly employs around 10 million people in the EU and counts for about 5% of GDP. When related industries such as manufacturing, servicing, maintenance, etc. are included, these figures can be doubled. It is one of the few sectors in which the European industry remains a world leader.