The European Parliament adopted on July 7 the upgraded 2021-2027 Connecting Europe Facility programme and released new funds for transport, digital and energy projects for the currently multiannual financial framework.
The upgraded CEF programme, agreed between Parliament and Council in March has a total value of EUR 30 billion until 2027 and will fund transport, energy and digital projects.
The upgraded CEF will enter into force once the new rules have been published in the EU Official Journal. They will apply retroactively as of 1 January 2021. The Member States will have two years to prepare for the implementation of TEN-T streamlining rules.
MEPs succeeded in earmarking 60 percent of CEF funds for projects that help achieve the EU’s climate objectives, while 15 percent of energy pillar funds will go to cross–border renewable energy projects.
EUR 23 billion will support the implementation of transport projects across the EU. Around EUR 10 billion allocated to cross–border transport projects will come from Cohesion Funds and will help EU countries to complete previously-identified missing transport links. EUR 1.4 billion will be designated to fast track the completion of major missing cross border railway projects, to be selected by the Commission on a competitiveness basis.
“The CEF will modernise transport connections all over the EU. It will help Europe cope with the sector’s decarbonisation challenges and contribute especially to making the “shift to rail” slogan a reality. Filling in missing links will also encourage the movement of people and goods,” Transport and Tourism Committee rapporteur Marian-Jean Marinescu said.
The Parliament also approved on July 6 the new Trans-European Network (TEN-T) rules, agreed with Council, which simplify the permit-granting procedures for TEN-T projects in order to facilitate their completion. The Member States will have to designate a point of contact for each project’s promoter and ensure that getting a permit to launch a project should not take longer than four years.
Under the 2021-2027 Connecting Europe Facility instrument, EUR 5 billion will be provided for the energy projects and EUR 2 billion will be provided for the digital projects. In the digital sector, CEF will support the development of projects of common interest such as safe and secure very high capacity digital networks and 5G systems, as well as the digitalisation of transport and energy networks.
The CEF will also aim to make energy networks more interoperable and ensure that projects funded are in line with EU and national climate and energy plans.