Today, the European Parliament’s committees on transport and on industry, energy and research jointly voted to renew the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) instrument for the period 2021-2027. This is a crucial EU funding instrument that helps finance transport infrastructure, energy grids, pipelines as well as broadband networks. MEPs of both committees voted for a total budget of €43.8bn for the instrument – which included €10bn ring-fenced in the Cohesion Fund for transport projects.
S&D MEPs Inés Ayala Sender and Miapetra Kumpula-Natri were pushing for the urgent updating of networks in the transport, energy and telecommunications, and to bring it in line with the sustainability goals of the EU: facilitating cross-border cooperation with regards to renewable energy, taking into account our decarbonisation commitments and meeting the Paris agreement targets.
However, the right wing groups of the parliament voted to water down some key provisions that would ensure the instrument would truly deliver on EU's climate goals. The S&D leads the push for a higher share of funding for renewables, for limiting investment to only the most essential gas projects and a call for a renewal of guidelines for energy networks.”
S&D shadow rapporteur and negotiator on transport Inés Ayala Sender said:
"The Connecting Europe Facility benefits people across all member states, making EU mobility easier, more user-friendly and innovative, and promoting sustainable modes of transport such as railways, inland waterways and 'motorways of the sea'.
"With this proposal, the European Parliament is concentrating EU funding for 2021-2027 on key transport networks, priority corridors and projects with real European added value for citizens and more sustainable freight, including missing links and cross-border transport projects within the EU and also with third countries.
"Our Group has ensured that the instrument is aimed at strengthening socio-economic and territorial cohesion, including for most vulnerable and outermost regions, as well as more accessibility, multimodality, interoperability and safety. Furthermore, this proposal will help reinforce the involvement of regions and local authorities in the projects.
S&D shadow rapporteur and negotiator on energy Miapetra Kumpula-Natri said:
"In order to stop global warming to the levels agreed in the Paris climate agreement, the EU needs to do more and set a higher standard in relations to climate. The Connecting Europe Facility introduces funding for cross-border renewable projects, which hopefully will further help to decarbonise our energy system. We would have wanted to get a clearer increase on the budget allocated for these projects than what was pushed for by EPP and other right wing groups.
"The decision taken today takes small steps into the right direction but it is clear that we should be more ambitious if we are serious about combating climate change. We will look in to introducing some of the key amendments in the plenary vote on this issue.
"On digital networks we were happy to see improvements to the proposal. Fast mobile connections should be supported for both Europe's transportation networks and important social hubs such as schools, universities and hospitals. Europe needs big investments in order to get every European citizen the fast connections they need for the 21st century. The CEF will help to achieve that."