European Parliament approves new infrastructure funds: €1 billion for telecoms, broadband networks and digital services

MEPs endorsed yesterday a deal with member states on the EU’s new Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which aims to speed up funding to complete key trans-European transport, energy and telecoms links, in a vote on Tuesday. In a separate vote they also approved guidelines for developing the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T).

The CEF will have a total budget of about €29.3 billion (at 2011 prices) for 2014-2020, with some €23.2 billion earmarked for the transport sector to improve cross-border connections, remove bottlenecks and bridge gaps; €5.12 billion for energy, to modernise and expand energy infrastructure and increase security of supply; and €1 billion for telecoms, to stimulate the development of broadband networks and digital services.

“The CEFwill improve the mobility of citizens, goods and services across the EU (…) by dealing with missing links and bottlenecks in the networks“, said rapporteur Dominique Riquet (EPP, FR), one of three MEPs responsible for steering the draft rules through Parliament and negotiations with Council.

“The funding instrument will help to develop sustainable railways and ’Motorways of the Seas’ as well as improving interoperability – at a time when infrastructure is deteriorating“, said co-rapporteur Ines Ayala Sender (S&D, ES), stressing that governments must now take up to the challenge.

“This new funding instrument is potentially a real revolution”, said the rapporteur on energy and telecom network funding Adina Ioana Valean (ALDE, RO). „EU money will be used in the most efficient way through financial instruments, which can multiply many times the funds initially made available“, she added.

Guidelines for developing transeuropean transport networks

In a separate vote MEPs approved guidelines setting out common principles and priorities for completing the TEN-T network by linking up major cities and ports to form an efficient “road-rail-air-water” trans-European transport network.

“TEN-T will (…) improve economic, social and geographic cohesion in the EU and create jobs”, said co-rapporteur for the TEN-T regulation Georgios Koumoutsakos (EPP, EL).

“TEN-T and Connecting Europe provide a genuinely European approach to transport finance and development, instead of the current patchwork of national approaches, develop key transport arteries in Europe and give better access to European citizens to infrastructure in the future“, said co-rapporteur Ismail Ertug (S&D, DE).

For further details on the Connecting Europe Facility and the Guidelines for the development of the Trans-European Transport Network, see the background note (link to the right). Pre-identified projects of the core network in the transport sector are listed in Annex I of the CEF regulation.

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