Parliament approves the updated Connecting Europe Facility program and unlocks new funds for transport, digital and energy projects for 2021-2027.
The updated Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme, agreed between Parliament and the Council in March with a budget of €30 billion for the period 2021-2027, will finance transport, digital and energy projects with positive effects on European level. It will ensure that essential trans-European projects, such as the Mediterranean Corridor, the implementation of charging infrastructure for alternative fuels and the deployment of 5G coverage to important transport hubs, are completed on schedule for 2030.
MEPs ensured that 60% of CEF funds will go to projects that contribute to achieving the EU’s climate goals, while 15% of energy pillar funds will go to cross-border renewable energy projects.
Projects for the next generation
The CEF is structured around three pillars: around 23 billion euros are allocated to transport projects, 5 billion to energy projects and 2 billion to digital projects. Around €10 billion allocated to cross-border transport projects will come from the Cohesion Funds and will help EU countries address the lack of transport links already identified. 1.4 billion will be dedicated to completing as soon as possible the main cross-border rail link projects, which will be selected competitively by the Commission.
In the digital sector, the MCE will support the development of projects of common interest, such as secure and very high capacity digital networks and 5G systems, as well as the digitalization of transport and energy networks.
Another objective of the program will be to make energy networks more interoperable and ensure that funded projects align with national and EU climate and energy plans.
Accelerate transportation projects
Parliament also adopted new rules for the trans-European transport network (TEN-T), agreed with the Council, which simplify the procedures for granting authorizations for TEN-T projects. Its objective is to facilitate the completion of these projects. Member States must designate a contact point for the promoter of each project and ensure that obtaining permission to launch them does not require more than four years.
Context in Spain
Among the projects planned for the period 2021-2027 are the reinforcement of the main Spanish ports that were not yet included in the corridor network: Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Huelva, Palma de Mallorca, Gijón and A Coruña.
Likewise, the improvement of the corridor between Galicia and Asturias, the railway extension between Zaragoza and Bilbao, as well as the extension of the Atlantic Corridor to the Guadalquivir River are also included. In terms of transport, Spain received 843.7 million euros from the previous financial period to launch 115 projects, according to data from the European Commission.