Five years of CEF

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The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), set up to support trans-European transport, energy and telecommunications networks, is now five years old and has allocated EUR 23.7 billion in the transport sector alone.

The European Commission has published a report highlighting the results achieved by the programme. In particular, the CEF increased the funding allocated to projects from 47% of the 2007-2013 programming (previous TEN-T programme) to 61%, with 14 billion euros.

Proposals for studies alone, which now represent only 7% of the total funding, still supported projects worth 1.7 billion euros, while mixed proposals (studies and projects) totaled 7.1 billion euros.

These figures, which in any case represent a fraction of the overall transport infrastructure funding needs, show how the CEF has succeeded in shifting the commitment towards proposals that are more mature from a design point of view and therefore can be built on or are close to the start of the implementation phase.

Italy, with its 1.5 billion in funding, is the fourth EU country to receive CEF funds, after Poland, Germany and France: the countries that receive Cohesion funds were the most advantaged, and with them the Trans-European Corridors that cross them. Just think that the Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor, the largest of all the TEN-T Corridors and the one for the Livorno and Piombino nodes, is in fifth place in terms of funding received (2.5 billion) out of nine corridors in total.

No surprise, however, if we look at what the CEF supports the most, with railways firmly in first place thanks to EUR 16.3 billion in subsidies, followed at a distance by roads with EUR 1.9 billion.

The CEF’s performance is therefore positive, especially if we look at the increase in its budget and the gradual convergence of the networks of Central and Eastern European countries towards Western European standards.

The situation is more complex for our country, which has focused on major cross-border projects in the Alps, but which can and must take advantage of the programme for multimodal accessibility throughout Italy, including accessibility from the sea.