The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) was set up in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It should facilitate cross-border connections and enable synergies between transport, energy and telecommunications.
The financial and technical support provided by CEF should enable the timely completion of the trans-European transport Network (TEN-T). In a dual-layer-approach the priority is the "core network" (to be completed by 2030) which is complemented by a "comprehensive network" that ensures accessibility of all regions and should be completed by 2050.
The bundling of previously fragmented programmes aims at reducing risks and increase effectiveness and efficiency of EU funding. It should accelerate investment and leverage funding from public and private sectors.
Cities and regions have key responsibilities when it comes to the implementation of the core and comprehensive TEN-T network. They are actors, service providers, infrastructure managers and grant beneficiaries with key responsibilities in this area. Therefore they need to be fully involved in the preparation and implementation of the CEF programme.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- recalls that a modern European transport infrastructure policy supports the achievement of major European Union objectives as defined in the Europe 2020 Strategy, "the White Paper on Transport 2011" and, the 10 priorities of the Juncker Commission, such as the smooth functioning of the internal market and the strengthening of economic, social and territorial cohesion;
- warns that since their adoption in 2013, some of the considerations raised by the CoR are still valid. Some of the areas for improvement relate to insufficient budgetary allocation, doubts over the coordination of the CEF and other funds, the procedural complexity of the instrument, the inadequate role granted to local and regional authorities and the lack of subsidiarity at the various bodies for planning and implementing co-financing projects;
- considers that, given the need to increase the activity of the cohesion countries, and in order to maintain complementarity between the CEF and the Cohesion Fund, the budget allocation for the cohesion countries should be maintained;
- points out that there is currently a lack of effective coordination and linkage of key transport investments identified in strategy documents at European, national and regional level. Regional authorities were not included in the management and implementation structure of the CEF, which limits the opportunities for assessing the added value, coherence and complementarity of planned investments using different sources of funding;
- recalls the vital importance that environmental sustainability has in the CEF and consequently calls for an increase in funding for this thematic area, in relation to mitigating the effects of climate change.