The European Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean and Deputy Prime Minister for Restoration of Ukraine and Minister for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development Oleksandr Kubrakov, signed an agreement associating Ukraine and CEF (the Connecting Europe Facility).
The agreement was signed on June 6, 2023, in Lviv aiming to bring Ukraine closer to the EU by anchoring it within interconnected trans-European networks.
For transport, Ukrainian authorities and companies will be able to apply for funding under future CEF transport calls in the current programming period (2021-2027) with the next call expected to be launched in September 2023. The eligibility criteria for third countries will apply as outlined in the trans-European transport (TEN-T) Regulation and in this context, priority is given to actions that strengthen connectivity between the core network of Member States and the network in third countries.
As regards energy, Ukrainian infrastructure projects linked with EU Member States already have the possibility to apply for the status of Projects of Mutual Interest (PMI) under the revised EU rules for energy infrastructure. PMI is a new concept introduced by the revised Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E) Regulation to allow infrastructure projects connecting third countries with the EU to profit from streamlined permitting procedures and better access to finance. This status is a prerequisite for project developers to be eligible for CEF-Energy funding. Thanks to the agreement, new funding will become accessible to these projects in Ukraine.
The Commission will publish the next Union list of Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) in November 2023, including for the first time PMIs with third countries. Another option for Ukraine to receive CEF-Energy support is for cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy.
Associating Ukraine and CEF will also boost digital sector as the EU financial tool provides support for connectivity projects of common interest, in particular for backbone networks linking the EU with third countries, as well as for the development of safe, secure and sustainable high-performance infrastructure, including Gigabit and fifth-generation of mobile (5G) networks.
Once the next CEF Digital calls are launched, entities in Ukraine will be able to apply for co-financing for projects aimed at increasing the capacity, security and resilience of digital connectivity between Ukraine and its EU neighbours.
In July 2021, the Connecting Europe Facility budget was adopted with a EUR 33.71 billion budget, out of which EUR 25.8 billion for transport sector, EUR 5.8 billion for energy and EUR 2 billion for the digital segment that will boost European connectivity infrastructures.