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EU Transport and network corridors: Rail Baltics project

BC, Riga, 29.06.2017.Print version
Commission proposed to invest €2.7 billion in 152 key transport projects that support competitive, clean and connected mobility in Europe. Together with the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) plays a major role in bridging the investment gap in Europe. Rail Baltics is among the Commission's top priorities.

Generally, under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), €23.2 bln is available from the EU's 2014-20 budget to co-fund TEN-T projects in the EU member states. Of this amount, €11.3 bln is reserved for projects in those EU states that are eligible for the Cohesion Fund.


Annual and multi-annual work programmes specify the set of priorities and the total amount of financial support to be committed for each of these priorities in a given year.


Since 2014, the first programming year under the CEF, three waves of calls for proposals have been launched during 2014, 2015 and 2016.


Following the 2014 and 2015 Commission’s calls, grant agreements were signed for 452 projects. These projects currently received co-funding from the CEF programme for a total amount of €18.7 billion. The 2016 call will help reach 92% of the total CEF transport budget, for a total investment of € 41.6 billion in the EU economy.


There is another CEF Blending call launched in February 2017 for transport infrastructure projects. Along with the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), the CEF plays a major role in bridging the investment gap in Europe, which is one of the Commission's top priorities. 


EU's financial mechanism to support infrastructure networks

The Commission is firmly delivering on its Investment Plan for Europe and on Europe's connectivity including the recent "Europe on the Move" agenda. Selected projects will contribute to modernising rail lines, removing bottlenecks and improving cross-border connections, installing alternative fuel supply points, as well as implementing innovative traffic management solutions.


This investment is made under the Connecting Europe Facility, the EU's financial mechanism supporting infrastructure networks, and will unlock €4.7 bln of public and private co-financing. Such investment will not only modernise Europe's transport network but also stimulate the economic activity and spur job creation.


In 2017, out of the total €2.7 bln, the Commission is allocating €1.8 bln for EU-15 states eligible for support from the Cohesion Fund in order to further bridge infrastructure disparities.


Thus, for 2014-20, Cohesion Fund support transport issues in the following EU states: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

 

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc underlined that present demand for investment in the EU’s transport infrastructure was huge. New wave of investment focuses on clean, innovative and digital projects to modernise Europe's transport network.


With new proposals the EU becomes “one step closer to a true EU Transport Union, serving the needs of citizens, stimulating the economy and creating jobs”, she added.


However, the member states have to make best use of the proposed and remaining funds to maximise impact and leverage of all possible resources. 


Strategic EU transport network

Selected projects are mostly concentrated on the strategic sections of Europe's transport network (so-called "core network") to ensure the highest EU added-value and impact. The largest part of the funding will be devoted to developing the European rail network (€1.8 bln), decarbonising and upgrading road transport and developing Intelligent Transport Systems (€359.2 mln) and deploying Air Traffic Management (ATM) systems (€311.3 mln).


Selected actions include flagship initiatives such as the upgrade of the over 100 km-long Białystok-Ełk rail section in Poland; modernisation of ATM systems in the EU states; full expansion of the Karawanken road tunnel linking Slovenia and Austria; development of a high-speed electric vehicle charging network across Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Italy, as well as Rail Baltics project.

 

All projects were selected for funding via competitive calls for proposals launched on 13 October 2016; some 349 applications accounting for a total of nearly €7.5 bln of requested co-funding were received. This allowed the Commission to select the best projects, while guaranteeing a balanced distribution geographically and between transport modes. The EU's financial contribution is made in the form of grants, with a co-financing rate between 10% and 50% of the project's eligible costs, depending on its type and the call (up to 85% under the Cohesion envelope).


Perspectives

 Those EU states that are represented in the Connecting Europe Facility Coordination Committee must now formally approve the proposed funding decision at their meeting on 6 July 2017. Adoption of the formal Decision by the Commission is expected for the end of July 2017. The Commission's Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) will then prepare and sign grant agreements with the beneficiaries of the individual projects in the second half of 2017.

 

More information on: 

Proposed list of selected projects under the 2016 CEF call;

Fact sheet: Third call of the CEF Programme

Country factsheets; - Connecting Europe Facility;

European Commission - Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport; and 

INEA - Innovation and Networks Executive Agency

 

Rail Baltics project: 2016-EU-TMC-0116-M; CEF Transport-2016- Map- Cohesion

Pre-identified projects on the Core Network Corridors; Rail Baltic/Rail Baltics – 1435 mm standard gauge railway line development in Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania (Part III). 

Total eligible costs: 375,6 mln €; requested funding -313, 9 mln €; recommended costs- 130 mln € and recommended funding – 110, 5 mln €.

 

EU website in Latvian at: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-1729_lv.htm.

Reference: European Commission, Press release “Investments in EU transport” 

Brussels, 23 June 2017; Source: Commission proposal: list of projects selected for receiving EU financial assistance in the field of CEF - Transport sector following the calls for proposals launched on 13 October 2016, in:

https://ec.europa.eu/transport/sites/transport/files/2016-cef-call-selected-projects.pdf






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