While welcoming European Parliament’s draft report on the new Connecting Europe Facility proposal, the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) announced it would expect an increased transport budget in line with the needed investment of the European transport sector, also focused on digital transformation in transport.
“(…) We feel that in today’s age of digital transformation, the reinforced budget for smart technologies as proposed by the Commission is not sufficient. In the case of rail, an inadequate CEF budget will delay the deployment of ERTMS and will put at risk the creation of a smart, sustainable, efficient, safe and secure transport system in Europe. We would welcome the European Parliament to take a stronger position on this point,” CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said.
Rail’s investment priorities continue to be focused on completing the interoperable TEN-T network and supporting the digital transformation of rail operations, including ERTMS on board and on track. For the latter, the rail sector estimates that at least EUR 15 billion is required from the future EU budget for the period 2021-2027. In this context CER calls upon policymakers to better reflect the importance of the digital transformation of rail in the new CEF proposal by increasing the CEF transport budget by at least EUR 10 billion and earmarking a specific budget for actions supporting telematics applications and automation.
The current CEF programme for transport generates jobs and growth, contributes to prosperity and cohesion across Europe, and delivers European added-value by focusing on interoperability and investing in border-crossing projects.
The European Parliament draft report on the future CEF Regulation furthermore contains several amendments on military mobility. While CER welcomes the rapporteurs’ intention to add more clarity to military mobility, the proposal that any project of common interest financed under the new CEF programme should integrate the military mobility technical requirements at the conception phase is unrealistic and would lead to a cost explosion. “CER is further concerned by the amendments put forward on military mobility and asks policymakers to address this issue with urgency.”
According to the European Parliament draft report, the Commission proposal needs to be amended in order to set clear rules on the integration of military mobility needs into the programme. The respective needs will flow Action Plan on Military Mobility of 28 March 2018, that is military requirements are to be set by the Council mid-2018 and priority projects in the TEN-T are to be identified by the Commission by 2019. The rapporteurs propose amendments for the CEF proposal with a view to ensuring that this new task can be implemented effectively.
We remind you that under the EU budget 2021-2027, the European Commission proposed a EUR 42.3 billion budget for the Connecting Europe Facility programme. For transport sector, the proposal envisages EUR 30.615 billion, including a general envelope of EUR 12.830 billion and a contribution from the Cohesion Fund of EUR 11.285 billion, and support for military mobility of EUR 6.5 billion.