EU Budget: Commission proposes increased funding to invest in connecting Europeans with high-perform

As part of the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the European Commission is today proposing to renew the ‘Connecting Europe Facility’, with €42.3 billion to support investments in the European infrastructure networks for transport (€30.6 billion), energy (€8.7 billion) and digital (€3 billion).

This represents a 47% increase compared to 2014-2020[1], showing the EU’s commitment to a well-connected and integrated Union where citizens and businesses can fully benefit from free movement and the single market. For 2021-2027, the Commission is proposing to strengthen the environmental dimensionof the Connecting Europe Facility, with a target of 60% of its budget contributing to climate objectives. This will help reinforce the Energy-Union, fulfil the EU’s commitments under the Paris Agreement and consolidate Europe’s global leadership in the fight against climate change.

Vice-President responsible for Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič said:

Since the Paris Agreement, creating links between sectors is imperative. The new Connecting Europe Facility will push for even greater synergies between the transport, energy and digital sectors to maximise the impact of the energy transition. Moreover, its increased budget and possible blending with other instruments will help Europe stay ahead of the curve globally on innovative projects such as smart grids and energy storage.”

Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete said:

“This proposal will build the infrastructure needed for the clean energy transition and help achieve our ambitious 2030 climate and energy targets. The new programme will also help us complete strategic projects, such as the synchronisation of the Baltics with the European electricity grid, which are essential for a real Energy Union.”

Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc said: 

“Transport is an area where the EU brings concrete benefits to its people, and today we are proposing an unprecedented budget to improve mobility across our continent. We want Europeans to travel on the most modern, safe, clean, and connected network in the world. They deserve nothing less.”

The Commission’s proposal aims to better integrate the transport, energy and digital sectors, in order to accelerate the decarbonisation and digitalisation of the EU’s economy. Clean mobility solutions – such as electric mobility – for instance require a close integration between the transport and energy sectors. Other examples include autonomous mobility, energy storage and smart grids.

1. Transport: safe, clean and connected mobility

The Connecting Europe Facility will support smart, sustainable, inclusive, safe and secure mobility, in line with the ‘Europe on the Move’ proposals and the EU’s transport infrastructure policy. It will for instance help with the decarbonisation of transport by prioritising environmentally friendly modes (such as rail transport) and the development of charging points for alternative fuels. A stronger emphasis on the modernisation of the network is also proposed, notably to make it safer and more secure. As a concrete expression of European solidarity, part of the budget (€11.3 billion) will be reserved for Member States eligible to the cohesion fund.

For the first time ever, the Connecting Europe Facility will also support civilian-military dual use transport infrastructure with €6.5 billion. The objective is to adapt Europe’s transport network to military requirements and to improve military mobility in the EU. This will make an important contribution to a fully-fledged Defence Union by 2025, which is a political priority of this Commission. Today’s proposal delivers on the Joint Communication from November 2017 and Action Plan from March 2018.

2. Energy: affordable, secure and sustainable

In the energy sector, the new Connecting Europe Facility will enable the creation of a genuine Energy Union and support the energy transition in line with the objectives of the Clean Energy for all Europeans proposals. This will enable Europe to remain frontrunner in the clean energy transition in line with this Juncker Commission political priority to become the world leader in renewable energy.

To this end, a new strand of the budget will nurture Member State cooperation on cross-border renewable generation projects, in order to promote the strategic uptake of market-ready renewable energy technologies. The programme will also continue to back the key trans-European network infrastructures, allowing for further integration of the internal energy market, boosting interoperability of networks across borders and sectors, and facilitating decarbonisation and guaranteeing security of energy supply.

3. Digital: high-capacity broadband network

The Connecting Europe Facility will support state-of-the-art digital infrastructure, which lays the foundation for a functioning Digital Single Market. The digitalisation of European industry and the modernisation of sectors like transport, energy, healthcare and public administration depend on universal access to reliable, affordable, quality, high and very high capacity networks. With an ever-increasing demand for high-capacity networks and infrastructure in electronic communications, the new Connecting Europe Facility will devote more importance to digital connectivity infrastructure.

Next Steps

A swift agreement on the overall long-term EU budget and its sectoral proposals is essential to ensure that EU funds start delivering results on the ground as soon as possible. Ongoing large-scale infrastructure projects would otherwise be strongly impacted by delays. In the transport sector this would affect flagship projects such as the rail links Rail Baltica, Brenner Tunnel, Lyon-Turin, Evora-Merida, etc. Rail Baltica must for instance be able to launch the major procurements it needs for construction in 2021. This is crucial for the completion of a project that will help connect five million people in the Baltic.

An agreement on the next long-term budget in 2019 would provide for a seamless transition between the current long-term budget (2014-2020) and the new one and would ensure predictability and continuity of funding to the benefit of all.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No GA727816.

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