Source: European Council, 2021-03-11
On 11 March negotiators from the Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the second edition of the EU's flagship programme the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). CEF 2.0 will continue to fund key projects in the areas of transport, digital and energy. It will run from 2021 to 2027, with a significant overall budget of €33.71bn (in current prices). ''We are very happy with the provisional deal reached on 11 March, as it is fully in line with the European Council conclusions of July last year. Having reached a deal with the Parliament allows the first calls under the Connecting Europe Facility to be launched before the Summer break. Thanks to this programme, we have better transport connections and energy networks, as well as better digital services and connectivity in Europe. And this substantial funding must and will continue. It is especially important for overcoming COVID-19-related challenges and tackling climate change.'' said Pedro Nuno Santos, Portuguese Minister for Infrastructure and Housing, President of the Council.
The budgets for each sector will be (in current prices):
transport: €25.81bn (including €11.29bn for cohesion countries)
In the field of transport, CEF 2.0 will promote interconnected and multimodal networks to develop and modernise railway, road, inland waterway and maritime infrastructure, as well as safe and secure mobility. Priority will be given to further development of the trans-European transport networks (TEN-T), focusing on missing links and cross-border projects with an EU added value. €1.56bn of the transport budget will finance major rail projects between cohesion countries.
CEF 2.0 will also ensure that when infrastructure is adapted to improve military mobility within the EU, it is dual-use compatible, meeting both civilian and military needs. Military mobility will have a separate budget within the transport envelope, of €1.69bn.
In the energy sector, the programme aims to contribute to further integration of the European energy market, improving the interoperability of energy networks across borders and sectors, facilitating decarbonisation, and ensuring security of supply. Funding will also be available for cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy generation. When defining award criteria, consistency with EU and national energy and climate plans, including the principle of 'energy efficiency first', will be taken into account.
In the area of digital connectivity, the scope of the programme has been broadened to reflect the fact that the digital transformation of the economy and society at large depends on universal access to reliable and affordable high and very high capacity networks. Digital connectivity is also a decisive factor in closing economic, social and territorial divides. To qualify for support from CEF 2.0, a project will have to contribute to the digital single market and EU connectivity targets. Priority will be given to projects which generate additional area coverage, including for households.
CEF 2.0 emphasises synergies between the transport, energy and digital sectors, to enhance the effectiveness of EU action and minimise implementation costs. It will promote cross-sectoral work in areas such as connected and automated mobility and alternative fuels.
The programme also aims to mainstream climate action, taking into account the EU's long-term decarbonisation commitments such as the Paris Agreement.
The provisional agreement reached on 13 March is subject to approval by the Council. It will now be submitted to the Council's Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) for endorsement.
Once adopted by both the Council and the European Parliament, the CEF Regulation will enter into force the day after its publication in the EU Official Journal. It will apply retroactively from 1 January 2021.