EESC advocates stronger Connecting Europe Facility after 2020

A stronger budget, more synergies between networks, continued technical support, reaffirmed commitment to investment in electricity projects, and dual use of civilian‑military infrastructure. In the opinion put together by Aurel Laurențiu Plosceanu and Graham Watson, which was approved at the EESC plenary on 19 September 2018, the EESC broadly supports the new Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) regulation for 2021-2027 and points out areas where there is room for improvement.

The European Union will invest in trans-European transport, energy and digital networks through the reformed CEF programme. Up-to-date and high-performance infrastructure is key to helping connect and integrate European regions, stimulating job creation and achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

"The CEF is one of the most successful EU programmes and is of strategic importance for the integration of the internal market, the completion of the Energy Union, smart mobility and the opportunity for the EU to deliver tangible added value for citizens, social cohesion and businesses," stated Mr Plosceanu. "We must not allow regulatory authorities in Member States or at EU level to frustrate electricity interconnection, for example, by freezing out schemes which are privately financed. If we are to meet our climate goals we will need both public and private finance in trans‑European networks," concluded Sir Graham. (mp)