The Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) signed the final grant agreements for the last batch of Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) projects, finishing a process which started over a year ago with the publication of the 2014 CEF Transport Calls for Proposals. A total of €12.7 billion of EU investment will support 263 transport infrastructure projects which will deliver faster, safer and greener mobility for the entire Union.
Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said "I am glad that today the largest investment ever made by the EU in the transport area is becoming a reality. All these projects will better connect Europe and boost competitiveness, growth and jobs. By contributing to the decarbonisation of the transport sector through greener fuels and digital integration, they will also advance on two priorities of the Commission: Energy Union and Digital Agenda."
INEA Executive Director Dirk Beckers, who signed the last grant agreements between beneficiaries and the Agency, remarked: "I am very happy that after these last signatures, all the 2014 CEF transport projects have officially begun. The Agency will now ensure that everything proceeds according to plan so that each individual project can deliver as planned and we can build an integrated transport network across the European Union. INEA will support all projects during their lifetime, as it has always done, offering its expertise so that everything is delivered on time and according to plan."
The 263 projects are primarily located on the core trans-European transport network and 43 of these, worth nearly €4.6 billion, take place wholly in EU countries eligible for support from the Cohesion Fund*. Among the beneficiaries are flagship initiatives such as Rail Baltica, the Brenner Base Tunnel, the Seine-Schelde waterway, the Caland Bridge and the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link. Smaller-scale initiatives include cross-border projects between Groningen and Bremen, the Iron Rhine rail line, LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) deployment plans or projects enhancing the navigability of the Danube River.
Furthermore the 2014 CEF Transport Calls for Proposals also supported Innovation and Traffic Management System projects, as well as promoting sustainable mobility solutions.
The projects involve all modes of transport and take place in every EU Member State, ensuring a truly European dimension.
Launched in September 2014, the 2014 CEF Transport Calls for Proposals generated an unprecedented interest. INEA received almost 700 applications totalling €32.6 billion of requested funding, three times more than the available amount of funding.
* For the 2014-2020 period, Cohesion Fund support concerns Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
The CEF Programme finances projects which fill the missing links in Europe's energy, transport and digital backbone. The main objective of CEF Transport is to help complete the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Core Network and its multimodal Corridors by 2030 and the Comprehensive Network by 2050.
A total indicative budget of €22.4 billion is available in the form of grants to co-fund TEN-T projects in the EU Member States for the 2014-2020 period. From this budget, €11.3 billion is reserved for projects in Member States eligible for support from the Cohesion Fund.