EU pledges €30bn for digitisation, transport and energy projects

8 Jul 2021

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Projects that will receive funding include the development of 5G systems and the digitilisation of transport and energy networks.

The European Parliament has pledged to provide €30bn funding for transport, digital and energy projects between 2021 and 2027.

The funding will ensure that the roll out of 5G coverage to important transport axes will be completed by 2030.

The decision, which was announced on Tuesday (6 July), forms part of the parliament’s upgraded Connecting Europe Facility programme (CEF), which was agreed in March.

The CEF is structured around three pillars, with around €23bn going to transport projects, €5bn for energy projects and €2bn for digital projects.

The programme will aim to make energy networks more interoperable and ensure that projects funded are in line with EU and national climate and energy plans.

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Around €10bn allocated to cross-border transport projects will come from cohesion funds and will help EU countries complete previously-identified missing transport links. €1.4bn will be designated to fast-track the completion of major missing cross border railway projects, such as Rail Baltica, to be selected by the commission on a competitiveness basis.

Parliament also approved new Trans-European network rules, which aim to simplify the permit-granting procedures for transport projects to speed up their completion. The new red tape-cutting rules say member states will have to designate a point of contact for each project’s promoter and ensure that getting a permit to launch a particular project should not take longer than four years.

Industry, research and energy committee rapporteur Henna Virkkunen welcomed the decision. “CEF finances key cross-border connectivity and renewable energy projects between member states, and will allow Europe to take a leap towards a digital and climate neutral economy. This is vital to ensure we stay competitive in the future.”

Dominique Riquet, a member of the transport and tourism committee, added: “Achieving the Green Deal will not be possible if we do not upgrade our infrastructure for the coming digital and environmental transitions.”

The upgraded CEF plans will enter into force once the new rules have been published. They will apply retroactively as of 1 January 2021. Member states will have two years to prepare for the implementation of Trans-European network streamlining rules.

Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic

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