The European Commission presented last Friday the list of 195 transport projects that will receive €6.7 billion of funding under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). Over 88 projects worth over EUR 5 bn are rail and rail related projects. In this second CEF call, Central and Eastern European countries top the list of projects selected for receiving EU financial assistance.
This investment is expected to unlock additional public and private co-financing for a combined amount of €9.6 billion. The selected projects will notably contribute to the digitalisation and decarbonisation of transport, in line with the broader political agenda of this Commission. The Member States eligible for the Cohesion Fund received almost 85% of the funding, which will help bridge the infrastructure disparities across the EU.
“The total investment of €9.6 billion could create up to 100,000 jobs in the European economy by 2030 . The projects will make European infrastructure safer, more sustainable and more efficient for passengers and business alike. I am pleased to see that the Western Balkan Region will also receive some funding, bringing its transport infrastructure closer to the EU’s”, said EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc.
Selected projects are primarily located on the core trans-European transport network (TEN-T). Among the beneficiaries are flagship initiatives such as the rehabilitation of the Brasov Sighisoara rail section in Romania, the railway connection Aveiro Vilar Formoso in Portugal, the development of a standard gauge railway line in the Rail Baltic corridor, the implementation of the SESAR Deployment Programme and the modernisation of railway line E30 (the Zabrze–Katowice–Krakow section) in Poland.
Launched in November 2015, the second CEF calls for proposals generated 406 eligible project proposals. With €12.49 billion of requested EU funding, the calls were widely oversubscribed. This allowed the Commission to select the projects with the highest European added value, while guaranteeing a balanced distribution geographically and between the transport modes. €5.6 billion has been earmarked for Member States eligible for the Cohesion Fund. The contribution to other Commission priority actions, such as the Energy Union or the Digital Single Market, was also evaluated during the selection process.
The EU’s financial contribution is made in the form of grants, the co-financing rate of which is between 20% and 50% of the eligible costs of a given project, depending on its type. As regards projects submitted under the Cohesion call, the maximum co-funding rates can go up to 85% of the eligible costs.