European Commission adopts plan for 50 billion boost to European networks
Brussels, Belgium - The European Commission has tabled a plan which will fund 50 billion worth of investment to improve Europe's transport, energy and digital networks.
Targeted investments in key infrastructures will help to create jobs and boost Europe's competitiveness at a time when Europe needs this most. The "Connecting Europe Facility" will finance projects which fill the missing links in Europe's energy, transport and digital backbone. It will also make Europe's economy greener by promoting cleaner transport modes, high speed broadband connections and facilitating the use of renewable energy in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy. In addition the funding for energy networks will further integrate the internal energy market, reduce the EU's energy dependency and bolster the security of supply. To assist with the financing of the Connecting Europe Facility, the Commission has also adopted the terms for the Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative which will be one of a number of risk-sharing instruments upon which the facility may draw in order to attract private finance in projects. The pilot phase will start already next year.
By focussing on smart, sustainable and fully interconnected transport, energy and digital networks, the Connecting Europe Facility will help to complete the European single market. The Commission has singled out projects where additional EU investment can have the most impact. In particular, the Commission expects Connecting Europe Facility investments to act as a catalyst for further funding from the private and public sector by giving infrastructure projects credibility and lowering their risk profiles. For the first time, the Commission is proposing a single funding instrument for the three network sectors, true to its commitment to create synergies and simplification of rules. President José Manuel Barroso said: "The Connecting Europe Facility and the Project Bond Initiative are a perfect demonstration of the value added that Europe can provide. These proposals will help to build the roads, railways, energy grids and pipelines, and broadband networks that are so important to our citizens and businesses. We are closing the missing links in Europe's infrastructure networks that otherwise would not be built. This investment will generate growth and jobs and at the same time make work and travel easier for millions of European citizens and businesses"
The Connecting Europe Facility will better mobilise private financing and allow for innovative financial instruments such as guarantees and project bonds to gain maximum leverage from this EU funding injection The European Commission will work closely with the EIB to take advantage of capital market investors' interest in long-term investment opportunities with stable revenues. The energy sector can look forward to 9.1 billion being invested in trans-European infrastructure, helping to meet the EU 2020 energy and climate objectives. The CEF will also help to remove financial gaps and network bottlenecks. The internal market for energy will be further developed through better interconnections, leading to security of supply and the possibility to transport renewable energy in a cost effective manner across the EU. Both citizens and companies need to be able to rely on energy being available at all times and at an affordable price. The money from Connecting Europe will act as a leverage for more funding from other private and public investors.