New CEF to continue delivering European added value
The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) welcomes the European Commission proposal unveiled today on the new Connecting Europe Facility. With a proposed CEF Transport budget of EUR 30.6 billion for the period 2021-2027, the new CEF programme promises to continue delivering European added value by keeping the focus on improving interoperability and investing in border crossing projects.
CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: “I would like to thank the Commission for their support and recognition of the importance of transport and the success of the CEF so far. Today’s proposal is essential to the continued successful implementation of the TEN-T regulation.
However, in spite of the reinforced budget for smart technologies, the proposal does not provide enough robust EU funding for the deployment of ERTMS for the period 2021-2027. An acceleration of investments in interoperable technology enabling the Single European Railway Area is crucial in order to remain competitive on the mobility market.”
CER welcomes continued investment in the TEN-T network
The new Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme proposes to allocate EUR 14.5 billion, or 60% of its budget, to support the creation of “efficient and interconnected networks” by continuing to implement actions on the core network (85%) and, to a lesser extent (15%), on the comprehensive network. This is in line with CER’s position, which calls for continued investment in the existing rail network and for the construction of new infrastructure on the trans-European Transport Network by focusing on projects of European added value and multimodal connecting points.
Invest in smart, sustainable, inclusive, safe and secure mobility
CER welcomes that the remaining 40% of CEF Transport budget, that is EUR 9.6 billion, are to be allocated to "smart, sustainable, inclusive, safe and secure mobility", including investing in digitalisation and European traffic management systems, as well as actions supporting rail freight services. The digital transformation of operations is one of the main priorities for the rail sector.
Security and defence budget to support mobility
The proposed CEF Transport budget of EUR 30.6 billion includes for the first time a special allocation of EUR 6.5 billion from the security and defence budget for the support of Military Mobility. CER welcomes this new opportunity to co-fund transport infrastructure for dual civilian-military uses.
Grants as preferred means of EU financial support
The rail sector in particular welcomes the continuation of grants as the preferred means of EU financial support to rail projects. In addition, the new CEF programme proposes the possibility to blend EU grants with financial instruments, such as the InvestEU Fund, enabling additional sources of financing for transport projects.