Transport ministers will try to reach a partial general approach on the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) at the Transport Council. The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) and the Association of the European Rail Industry (UNIFE) urge member states to support the Commission proposal, including its modal focus on rail and waterborne transport and to safeguard the EUR 31.7 billion budget for transport infrastructure proposed by the European Commission for the EU budget 2014-2020.
CER and UNIFE wholeheartedly support the European Commission proposal on CEF as an important step towards a sustainable transport network and welcome the Council’s overall support for this financial instrument. However, in order to make the goals of the 2011 Transport White Paper reality, the rail associations urge EU member states to endorse the co-financing rates proposed by the European Commission. A clear shift towards more sustainable transport modes such as rail is needed in the next financing period.
The 2011 Transport White Paper confirms the importance of transport and its contribution to Europe’s economy and growth. At the same time it calls for a radical shift towards a more sustainable and less fossil dependent transport system. The Connecting Europe Facility is one of the key proposals implementing this vision. The modal focus of the European Commission’ CEF proposal on rail and waterborne transport projects is a crucial part of this strategy.
CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: “The Connecting Europe Facility proposal will only be meaningful if it is backed by adequate funding. That’s why we urge EU member states and the European Parliament to ensure the EUR 31.7 billion budget. This amount equals about 3% of the total Multiannual Financial Framework which has been allocated to the Trans-European transport core infrastructure in 2014-2020. This is a vital minimum and must be guaranteed more than ever, if we want the TEN-T policy to become reality.”
UNIFE Director General Philippe Citroën said: “The European Rail Industry is keen on the actual Implementation of the TEN-T programme. In this respect, the Connecting Europe Facility is a very useful tool to address the move from maps to reality. For this to happen, adequate EU funding is needed. Therefore, safeguarding the EUR 31.7bn budget would be a clear signal that member states support sustainable transport.”