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European Parliament Committees support the creation of the Connecting Europe Facility

9 October 2013

European Parliament Committees support the creation of the Connecting Europe Facility

The European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism as well as Committee on Industry, Research and Energy supported the European Commission’s Regulation on the creation of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) at a joint meeting on the 8th October.

The European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism as well as Committee on Industry, Research and Energy supported the European Commission’s Regulation on the creation of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) at a joint meeting on the 8th October. As Mr Roberts Zile, the ECR Group Coordinator in the Transport Committee pointed out, this is an important step towards approval of the new Regulation in the Parliament and the final approval in the EU Council.

The CEF is a new EU level financing mechanism for transport, energy and digital networks which will come into force along with the next Multiannual Financial Framework for the years 2014 – 2020. Its aim is to promote significant cross-border projects that might otherwise be delayed or not be implemented due to the limited financial resources of some Member States. Of a total estimated 33 billion euros of funding, the transport sector will receive 26,2 billion euros, of which 11,3 billion will come from the Cohesion Fund. The energy sector will receive 5,8 billion euros and telecommunications (digital networks) – a little over 1 billion. CEF investments will focus in particular on projects with high EU added value, such as building cross-border links and removing bottlenecks along main trans-European transport corridors.

Mr. Zile said: ”CEF is an important tool for the completion of the EU Single market and the creation of modern transport, energy and telecommunication connections between the EU Member States. The opportunities offered by this instrument are especially important for the Eastern European countries which historically lack connections to the Western part of EU. For Latvia CEF means at first the ”Rail Baltic” high-speed railway project which is part of the EU core network corridor ”North Sea – Baltic Sea”. For the new EU states in general whose financial capacity is not nearly as big as the capacity of EU donor countries a major role will be played by 11,3 billion euros ring fenced in the Cohesion Fund for the CEF projects. They will allow cohesion countries to receive up to 85% of project funding as EU grants. Otherwise, it is clearly seen that many of CEF projects would never have been implemented in the cohesion countries due to their tiny government budgets.”

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