On 7 February the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) together with the European Commission (DG MOVE) organised an information session on the political priorities of the 2019 Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) transport call for proposals which was launched on 5 December 2018. Practical information about how to prepare a successful proposal were presented by the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) which is implementing the CEF programme.
In his introductory speech CoR Secretary General Jiri Burianek welcomed in particular the call for cross-border rail and road projects to which 65 million EUR have been allocated for 2019. He highlighted that the cross-border small-scale infrastructure projects are key to ensure territorial and social cohesion and to fulfill the single market. This session is a tangible result of the European Committee of the Region's missing links initiative which started in 2016 in a joint meeting with the European Parliament's TRAN Committee chaired by MEP Michael Cramer, followed by the adoption of the CoR Opinion "Missing transport links in border regions". Further to the CoR's efforts alongside the EP's to mobilise support in this field, DG MOVE issued a first successful call which invested €140m in 13 cross-border transport projects across the Union in 2017. In the same context, the European Commission also published a comprehensive analysis of cross-border missing links between Member States. The strong cooperation between the CoR the European Commission and the European Parliament on missing links continues, attested by the presence of MEP Michael Cramer at the information session.
The CEF call focuses on projects on the more peripheral "comprehensive network" of the TEN-T. It is open until 24 April 2019 and allocates € 65 million to:
- removing bottlenecks and bridging missing links;
- works concerning cross-border infrastructure projects for railways, inland waterways and roads;
- a better interconnection of national transport networks.