Less bureaucracy in granting permits for major transportation projects
Parliament approves the updated Connecting Europe Facility program and unlocks new funding for transport, digital and energy projects for 2021-2027.
The updated Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) program, agreed between Parliament and the Council in March with a budget of € 30 billion for the period 2021-2027, will finance transport, digital and energy projects with positive effects on European level. It will ensure that essential trans-European projects, such as the Mediterranean Corridor, the implementation of charging infrastructure for alternative fuels and the deployment of 5G coverage to major transport hubs, are completed by the 2030 deadline.
MEPs ensured that 60% of CEF funds will go to projects that contribute to achieving the EU’s climate goals, while 15% of energy pillar funds will go to cross-border renewable energy projects.
Projects for the next generation
The CEF is structured around three pillars: around € 23 billion is for transport projects, € 5 billion for energy projects and € 2 billion for digital projects. Around € 10 billion allocated to cross-border transport projects will come from the Cohesion Funds and will help EU countries to solve the lack of transport connections already identified. 1.4 billion will be spent on completing the major cross-border rail link projects as soon as possible, to be selected competitively by the Commission.
In the digital sector, the MCE will support the development of projects of common interest, such as very high capacity and secure digital networks and 5G systems, as well as the digitization of transport and energy networks.
Another objective of the program will be to make energy networks more interoperable and to ensure that funded projects are in line with EU and national energy and climate plans.
Accelerate transportation projects
Parliament also adopted new rules for the trans-European transport network (TEN-T), agreed with the Council, which simplify authorization procedures for TEN-T projects. Its objective is to facilitate the completion of such projects. Member States should designate a contact point for the promoter of each project and ensure that obtaining permission to start them does not require more than four years.
Context in Spain
Among the projects planned for the 2021-2027 period are the strengthening of the main Spanish ports that were not yet included in the corridor network: Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Huelva, Palma de Mallorca, Gijón and A Coruña.
Likewise, it also includes the improvement of the corridor between Galicia and Asturias, that of the railway extension between Zaragoza and Bilbao, as well as the extension of the Atlantic Corridor to the Guadalquivir river. In terms of transport, Spain received 843.7 million euros from the previous financial period to launch 115 projects, according to data from the European Commission.