Open letter on the Commission proposal for a Regulation establishing a European Fund for Strategic Investments
The undersigned stakeholder associations (CER, EBU, EFIP, EIM, ERFA, ESC, ESPO, ESO, INE, UIP, FEPORT, UIRR and UNIFE) highlight the important need for investment in transport infrastructure. In the TEN-T Guidelines, the European Parliament and Member States have agreed on a policy that is to guide decisions as to which transport projects should receive funding as a matter of priority. According to the 2011 Transport White Paper, more than EUR 1.5 trillion will be needed in the period 2010-2030 to develop transport infrastructure to match demand.1 Therefore, we strongly welcome the initiative of “An investment Plan for Europe” and are ready to support all efforts towards a renewed European economic boost through investments in key infrastructure projects.
Nonetheless, we would like to draw attention to three major concerns we have regarding the current proposal:
- The EFSI budget will drastically limit the CEF envelope for grants.
- Investments under EFSI will not follow the TEN-T priorities for funding of transport infrastructure and the prioritization as defined in the Corridor approach.
- The money transferred to the EFSI is not ring-fenced for transport investments.
Of the EUR 8 bn that are to be taken out of the EU budget for the new guarantee fund, EUR 2.7 bn are to come from the transport envelope of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), in particular from the headings “Removing bottlenecks, enhancing rail interoperability, bridging missing links and improving cross-border sections”, “Ensuring sustainable and efficient transport systems” and “Optimising the integration and interconnection of transport modes and enhancing interoperability”. This means that the overall sum available for grant funding of transport projects (in non-cohesion countries) is cut by more than 18% by the EFSI proposal. The existing CEF envelopes for financial instruments and transport investments in cohesion countries remain untouched.