Final Agreement on New EU Infrastructure Policy

For the period 2014 – 2020, the Commission last October
proposed to build a European core transport network by
establishing nine new major Corridors: 2 North–South,
3 East–West, and 4 diagonal. Under "Connecting Europe
Facility" (CEF), the EU’s new funding mechanism supporting
the development of high-performing, sustainable and
efficiently interconnected trans-European networks in
the fields of energy, telecommunications and transport,
the Commission has proposed €26.3 billion for TEN-T
Infrastructure development of which €10 billion has been
earmarked for Cohesion Fund eligible regions.

Reshaping the map of European infrastructures means
allowing a smoother and safer circulation of goods and
people. In this line, commenting on the opening of new
European Corridors, Vice-President Kallas put in mind once
again that “Transport is vital to the European economy” and that the new infrastructure policy will “put in place a
powerful European transport network across 28 Member
States to promote growth and competitiveness”. The
existing patchwork of European roads, railways, airports
and canals will be turned into a unified trans-European
transport network (TEN-T), a real backbone of Europe ’s
single market, easing connections between Eastern and
Western areas.

Following the EC proposal to develop a European core
transport network by establishing the abovementioned
nine new major Corridors, on 19 November 2013 the
European Parliament gave its final green light to the financial
package. This impressive project is expected to redefine
European geography, accelerating East-West connections
and deeply transforming the EU single market thanks to a
real free flow of goods and people. The aim of new TEN-T
policy is that by 2050 Europe’s citizens and businesses will
be no more than 30 minutes travel time away from the
TEN-T comprehensive network.

The initiative is possible thanks to a € 26.3 billion investment,
assigned through ‘‘Connecting Europe Facility’’
(CEF), the EU’s new funding scheme promoting highperforming,
sustainable and efficiently interconnected
trans-European networks. CEF funding mechanism includes
€10 billion that would be transferred from the Cohesion Fund, to be used exclusively in member states eligible for Cohesion Fund money.
CEF aims to finance difficult projects that member states would not finance
with the Cohesion Fund, of high EU added value, solving cross-border bottlenecks and providing missing links on main European routes. It should ensure sustainable and efficient transport in the long run, optimize the integration and interconnection of transport modes and enhance interoperability, safety and security of transport services. Projects need to be listed in the Annex and projects of the Core Network Corridors.

The European Commission aims to allocate this budget of €10 billion before
2017. Prerequisite is the respect of national binding envelopes from 2014 to
2016: no member state can be allocated more funding for projects than its
corresponding allocation.
Co-funding rates of Cohesion Policy (see below) apply on CEF: maximum of 50% for preparatory studies and 40% on cross-border rail projects and bottlenecks.

New in the 2014-2020 program is the funding for cross-border missing links
creating urban nodes that boost multimodality. It supports business cases for
investments in local networks. Olivier Onidi, Director European Mobility Network (DG for Mobility and Transport) said during POLIS-2013 Conference in Brussels on December 5 the Commission takes pride to include in CEF the whole mobility trip by opening funding options for intermodal urban nodes serving the complementarity of the Core Network. Critics saying local authorities now have no more than a consultative voice to the member states on this, while they carry the main burden of financial risks. Mr. Onidi said this could be solved by a strong link to the corridor coordinators. He acknowledged that the plan to implement urban node projects should involve both national as well as regional and local authorities. Also important to highlight are the links between the CEF-programme and the recently launched EU’s Framework Programme for Research en Innovation – Horizon 2020”, which will enable financial support for research in the field of transport to contribute to the TEN-T policy objectives, in particular new vehicle technologies (ITS) and associated supporting infrastructure.

More information on those websites:

Ruud van der Ploeg (EMTA secretary general)
Maria-Pilar Machancoses (CENTRO)

  • Updated : March 19, 2014

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