EP adopts the upgraded €30bn worth Connecting Europe Facility programme

New funds for cross-border transport, energy and digital projects are available from this year

Photo: EPA European Parliament President David Sassoli attends the plenary session in Strasbourg, 7 July 2021.

Parliament on Wednesday adopted the upgraded Connecting Europe Facility programme and released new funds for transport, digital and energy projects for 2021-2027, EP Press service reported. The upgraded CEF programme, agreed between Parliament and Council in March and worth €30bn for 2021 to 2027, will fund transport, energy and digital projects with an EU added value.

It will ensure that essential Trans-European projects, such as Rail Baltica, alternative fuels charging infrastructure and the roll out of 5G coverage to important transport axes are finished on schedule by 2030.

MEPs succeeded in earmarking 60% of CEF funds for projects that help achieve the EU’s climate objectives, while 15% of energy pillar funds will go to cross-border renewable energy projects.

The CEF is structured around three pillars, with around €23bn going to transport projects, €5bn for energy projects and €2bn for digital projects. Around €10bn allocated to cross-border transport projects will come from Cohesion Funds and will help EU countries complete previously-identified missing transport links. €1.4bn 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.

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 programme 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.

Parliament also approved on Tuesday 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. 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.

The upgraded Connecting Europe Facility 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. Member states will have two years to prepare for the implementation of TEN-T streamlining rules.

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