As part of the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the European Commission has proposed to renew the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), with €42.3 billion to support investments in the European infrastructure networks for transport (€30.6 billion), energy (€8.7 billion) and digital (€3 billion) and exploits synergies between those sectors.
"Investing in quality infrastructure is essential for the growth of our regions: by creating jobs and enhancing competitiveness, the Connecting Europe Facility is an important driving force for economic, social and territorial cohesion", stressed CoR rapporteur Isabelle Boudineau, Vice-president of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Regional Council (PES/France). "We need sufficient funding for an instrument that is essential for connecting people across the continent".
"At the same time, recurring alerts on global warming must make us react. The transportation sector is the only one that has not been able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions since the 1990s", she emphasised, calling for the CEF to promote the modal shift towards more sustainable modes of transport.
In her draft opinion, Boudineau advocates for a better involvement of regions and cities, who are often responsible for policies to manage and develop mobility and public transport.
She also suggest to further develop cross-border projects, including by making use of European Groupings for Territorial Cooperation (EGTCs), an European legal instrument designed to facilitate and promote cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation.
Other demands include expanding the scope of infrastructure to include digital infrastructure and waterways, a stronger focus on completing the core network corridors and major axes; and better connecting outermost regions.