EU Financial framework needs stability
The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2014-2020 is set up to support programmes that reflect the European political economic and development priorities, including:
- the Trans-European Transport network policy (TEN-T), aiming to close the gaps between Member States' transport networks, remove bottlenecks and overcome technical barriers such as incompatible standards for railway traffic
- Transport, Energy and Infrastructure projects to be funded under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)
- Research and Innovation under HORIZON 2020 and the Rail Joint Technology Initiative, Shift2Rail
- Strategic investments infrastructure, education, research and innovation, as well as risk finance for small businesses under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI)
MFF also supports administrative structures such as European Union Agency for Railways and Innovation and Network Executive Agency (INEA) designed to launch application procedures, evaluate projects, and execute and monitor the realisation of the approved projects. The European Commission is due to make a proposal for the next Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) by the end of 2017. The proposal should reflect the future challenges and needs of the EU post- 2020 and post-Brexit. The new MFF might have a new structure, financing revenues and duration.
In May 2016 the European Court of Auditors published a special report on rail freight’s performance and allocation of European funds towards Transport development, including TEN-T was. The report highlights the well-known fact that rail freight is still not on the right track and that some EU funds are not properly allocated!
The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) provides co-financing grants and financial instruments to support the implementation of the broad range of TEN-T projects, including core network, freight services, ERTMS, and reduction. Under CEF, wagon keepers can benefit from 20 % reimbursement of eligible costs for wagons’ retrofitting projects.
Since February 2017, projects can also be financed under the CEF Blending Scheme which combines grants and private financing.
CEF – Grants Scheme in Brief
- Scope (relevant): TEN-T, Freight (incl. Last mile and TAF related calls) and Noise Retrofitting.
- CEF projects by Country:https://ec.europa.eu/inea/connecting-europe-facility/cef-transport/projects-by-country
- CEF projects by Transport Mode: https://ec.europa.eu/inea/connecting-europe-facility/cef-transport/projects-by-transport-mode
CEF Blending – Grant + PPP Scheme (since February 8, 2017)
- Scope for transport all modes: Core Transport Network, Other Sections of the Core Network, Rail Interoperability, European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), New Technologies and Innovation, Safe and Secure Infrastructure, Single European Sky – SESAR, Intelligent Transport Services for Road (ITS), Motorways of the Sea (MoS), Nodes of the Core Network, Multimodal logistics platforms
Proposal Submission dates are:
- 14 July 2017 and
- 30 November 2017 (to be confirmed).
Please note that the list of the winning projects for the first submission date will be available in 2018. In the meantime you can see a summary of the submitted projects on 14 July 2017. https://ec.europa.eu/inea/sites/inea/files/cef_transport_blending_2017-_submission_two_pager_flyer.pdf
- FAQ for CEF Blending: https://ec.europa.eu/inea/en/connecting-europe-facility/cef-transport/2017-cef-transport-blending-call-faq
At national Level, you can also contact the so called National Contact Points who should be able to provide support on CEF and CEF Blending related matters: https://ec.europa.eu/inea/sites/inea/files/cef_transport_contact_persons_151126.pdf
European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF)
The ESIF Financing combines several fund sources, European Regional Development Fund and Cohesion Fund being most relevant to rail. It is managed via the Regional Policy of the European Union in partnership with the Member States. It supports projects in Digital Technologies, Research and Innovation, Lower Carbon Economy, Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and Small Businesses.
To find beneficiaries in your MS and regions, please visit: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/atlas/beneficiaries/
The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI)
The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) adopted in June 25, 2015 is part of the Juncker “Investment Plan for Europe” which aims to mobilise €315 billion by leveraging private investments for transport infrastructure and other strategic sectors of the European economy. The EFSI Instrument is meant to complement the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF).
A revision of the EFSI, called EFSI 2, proposed in September 2016 brought the following important modifications:
EFSI – Lending Scheme
- Scope: rehabilitation, upgrading or electrification of existing lines; construction of new lines, signaling systems and intermodal terminals; financing of rolling stock for freight and passenger services, both conventional and high-speed.
- Structures: Blending with other initiatives such as CEF, Project Bond Initiative and Loan Guarantee Instrument
- To see projects financed, go to http://www.eib.org/projects/loan/list/?sector=2010. You will need to folder to check through the list as it is comprehensive and covers all modes of transport.
- To get advice on the project application, go to Innovfin Advisory section http://www.eib.org/products/advising/innovfin-advisory/index.htm
- To get advise at national level on projects, finding partners from public and private sources, you can contact the European Investment Advisory Hub via http://www.eib.org/eiah/contact/index
Despite this new investment initiative, rail and other transport sectors are concerned about the possible further shift and reduction of funds originally dedicated to transport projects (including projects for noise reduction).
- In 2015 UIP published a joint press release asking European Council representatives and MEPs not to cut the CEF budget for transport.
- In June 2016, UIP campaigned together with other European Transport associations across all modes for safeguarding the already reduced EU budget for transport through an increase of the CEF funds in the upcoming review of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework.
- In 2017 in time of the ongoing negotiations for the EU Budget and MFF beyond 2020-UIP together with other rail and transport Associations presented TWO NEW Statements stressing the importance for the European Union to continue investing in rail projects, particularly considering the benefits of rail transport for the economy and the whole society.
Significance to UIP and our Members
There is political pressure to increase rail freight transportation and reduce environmental pollution such as noise. By understanding the EU financial programme, its framework and where the EU budget is prioritised, our members can more easily consider strategies to participate in relevant to them EU projects and receive financial support through dedicated EU financial resources. A CEF call for noise related projects and telematics applications was launched in autumn 2016. A total estimate of €27.5 million are currently negotiated for 7 “noise retrofitting” projects representing about 121 000 wagons.
UIP Guidelines on CEF calls for Noise reduction - June 2016
Joint Statement on EU financing on Transport - June 2016
Joint Statement on the risks of shifting CEF money to EFSI - March 2015
UIP Brochure EU financing 2014-2020: Frequently Asked Questions - November 2014
EU Documents of interest
Mid-term evaluation of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)(General questionnaire) - Deadline: 27 February 2017
Mid-term Review roadmap - November 2016
2016 CEF Transport Info Day - All presentations and the web streams of the Info Day - October 2016
The trans-European transport network – state of play in 2016 - October 2016
Regulation 2015/1017 on the European Fund for Strategic Investments - June 2015
Multiannual financial framework 2014-2020 and EU budget 2014 - December 2013
Regulation 1316/2013 establishing the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) - December 2013