On 6 June, the Commission published the proposal for the next Connecting Europe Facility (CEF II). The proposal sets out the objectives of the financial instrument and the funding modalities. In total, the Commission proposed a CEF budget for 2021-2027 of €42.3bn, with a transport envelope of €30.6bn.
The CEF II proposal supports three overarching transport objectives: 1) the development of projects of common interest relating to efficient and interconnected networks (with a focus on core network, 60% of the budget), 2) infrastructure for smart, sustainable, inclusive, safe and secure mobility (core and comprehensive network, 40% of the budget) and 3) the adaption of the TEN-T network to military mobility needs.
The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) welcomes the new proposal. The budgetary envelope, the integration of missing ports in the corridors, the rebalancing between the investments in basic infrastructure and the investments in smart, efficient and sustainable infrastructure projects, the focus on climate-proof investments and the synergies between transport, energy and digital are all elements to be supported by ESPO.
The new CEF proposal is clearly prioritising cross-border projects, both in the identification of projects as in the levels of co-funding. ESPO believes that the definition of the “cross-border” element should not be limited to the land-based connections, but should include the cross-border impact of projects, as well as the maritime dimension. Seaports must be seen as internationally cross-border in nature and thus be placed on an equal priority with other cross-border projects.
“We welcome the new Commission proposal on CEF as a good basis for addressing the huge investments requirements ports are facing at the moment. While we are supporting the general priorities of the new proposal in terms of strengthening the connectivity, the efficiency, sustainability and smart mobility, we must focus on applying these concepts in the right way to achieve a better integration of European seaports into the network. European ports are nodes of transport, energy, industry and blue economy. We must ensure that this important and complex role of European ports as spiders in the transport web should be better reflected in the new CEF,” comments Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO’s Secretary General in a first reaction to the proposal.
The Commission proposal is going to be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council. The Commission hopes to finalise the text before the end of the legislative period (mid 2019).
In order to contribute in a constructive and substantiated manner to the preparation of the CEF II and the negotiations to follow, the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) commissioned a study with a view to:
• Identify the Drivers and Investment needs of European ports;
• Analyse the ports’ ability to make use of EU funding and financing instruments;
• Recommend how CEF can be further improved.
The study reveals that the ports’ investment needs amount to 48 billion EUR for the coming ten years. The needs are very diverse and mirror the complex and diverse role of ports in Europe. Many investments create high societal value, but the limited and slow return on investment makes external funding necessary.