The European Union (EU) has made a significant commitment to promoting environmentally sustainable transport as part of its ambitious goals outlined in the EU Green Deal. To help achieve these objectives, the EU is providing over 352 million EUR in financial support to 26 infrastructure projects. These projects have been selected under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the EU funding program that supports European transport infrastructure.
The Importance of Sustainable Transport
Sustainable transport is a crucial component of the EU’s efforts to combat climate change and reduce carbon emissions. It plays a vital role in creating a greener, more environmentally friendly future. The EU recognizes the significance of investing in alternative fuel supply infrastructure to decarbonize transport along the TEN-T network, which spans the entire EU.
The Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Facility (AFIF) Call for Proposals
Under the fourth cut-off date of the AFIF call for proposals, which closed on April 13, 2023, 26 projects were selected to receive a total EU grant support of over 352 million EUR. These projects will also receive a loan or investment facility from a financial institution, further enhancing their impact and effectiveness.
The AFIF call for proposals remains open, with the last cut-off date on November 7, 2023. This ongoing support demonstrates the EU’s commitment to promoting sustainable transport and encouraging the transition to alternative fuels.
The Impact of the EU’s Investment
The EU’s investment of 352 million EUR will have a significant impact on the transport industry’s switch to more sustainable practices. It will result in the creation of approximately 12,000 charging points, 18 hydrogen refueling stations, and the electrification of ports and airports, including the renowned port of Rotterdam and 37 Spanish airports.
These projects not only contribute to the EU’s climate objectives but also drive economic growth and generate new employment opportunities. By endorsing initiatives that enhance the transition to more environmentally friendly modes of transport, the EU is taking a proactive stance in realizing its climate goals.
The Role of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)
The CEF is a vital EU funding instrument that supports the delivery of the European Green Deal. It enables the development of high-performing, sustainable, and efficiently interconnected trans-European networks in the fields of transport, energy, and digital services.
Through the CEF, the EU fills the missing links in Europe’s energy, transport, and digital backbone. This infrastructure investment benefits people across all EU member states by making travel easier, enhancing energy security through the wider use of renewables, and facilitating cross-border interaction between public administrations, businesses, and citizens.
In addition to grants, the CEF offers financial support through innovative instruments such as guarantees and project bonds. These instruments leverage the EU budget and attract further funding from the private sector and other public sector actors.
CEF Transport: Investing in European Transport Infrastructure
The CEF for Transport is the funding instrument that realizes European transport infrastructure policy. Its primary goal is to support investments in building new transport infrastructure in Europe and rehabilitating and upgrading existing infrastructure.
The Trans-European Networks for Transport (TEN-T) policy sets objectives for the completion of the Core Network by 2030 and the Comprehensive Network by 2050. The Core Network consists of nine multimodal Core Network Corridors, while the Comprehensive Network aims to facilitate accessibility to all European regions.
CEF Transport focuses on cross-border projects, removing bottlenecks, bridging missing links in the Core Network and Comprehensive Network, and prioritizing traffic management systems. It also supports innovation in the transport system to improve infrastructure utilization, reduce environmental impact, enhance energy efficiency, and increase safety.
The budget allocated for CEF Transport is 25.81 billion EUR, with 11.29 billion EUR dedicated to cohesion countries. This substantial investment demonstrates the EU’s commitment to developing a modern, efficient, and sustainable transport network throughout Europe.
Next Steps and Conclusion
Following the approval of the selected projects by EU member states, the European Commission will adopt a formal financing decision in the coming weeks. At this point, the results will become definitive, and the European Climate, Infrastructure, and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) will begin preparing grant agreements with the project beneficiaries.
The EU’s investment of over 352 million EUR in supporting green mobility is a significant step towards achieving a more sustainable transport network. By funding alternative fuel supply infrastructure, electrification of ports and airports, and the establishment of charging points and hydrogen refueling stations, the EU is actively promoting the transition to cleaner, greener transport options.
Through the CEF, the EU is playing a pivotal role in realizing its climate objectives, while also fostering economic growth and generating employment opportunities. The commitment to sustainable transport is a testament to the EU’s dedication to combating climate change and building a more environmentally friendly future for all.