The programming of trans-European transport infrastructure is undergoing a new phase of revision following the mid-term review. The CEF is an important source of funding through grants for transport infrastructure and services, especially in the European countries most affected by the Cohesion Funds. The proposal to amend Regulation 1316/2013 of the Connecting Europe Facility, which will be presented on 29 May, provides for simplification and greater flexibility with an increasing focus on the following aspects:
- Decarbonization of transport systems
As in the second half of the current programming period, the European Commission will place particular emphasis on synergies with the telecommunications and energy sectors and on strengthening financial blending with capital injections from private investors. At present, there is no substantial change between the Core and Comprehensive Networks, i.e. between the Core and Global networks of transport infrastructures, so the challenge for transport nodes becomes increasingly the inclusion in the priority Core Network. In the same way the modification, currently under discussion, of Annex I of the 1316/2013 Regulation of the Connecting Europe Facility, with the suppression of sea port intermodal connections as priority sections of the Network, raises the fundamental theme of the financing of the so-called ‘cold’ infrastructures and works, i.e. difficult to finance with the contribution of private capital in public-private partnerships, without the major investment of national and European public capital. The priority of funding will therefore increasingly shift the digitalization and decarbonization of transport services, along with cross-border interventions to connect transport networks of Member States, to the detriment of infrastructure interventions located in transport nodes not located at the borders, to be supported by Cohesion funds and European funds for regional development. This new sectoral policy on trans-European transport networks naturally forms part of the broader debate on the future EU budget, presented on 2 May, which provides for increased funding for the CEF Transport area to around €30 billion over the financial period 2021-2027.