CEF funding instrument
The Regulation establishing the Connecting Europe Facility determines the prerequisites, methods and procedures in accordance with which trans-European networks are granted Union financial assistance for supporting transport, energy and telecommunications infrastructure projects. The transport sector budget for the funding period 2014–2020 is 26.250 billion euros, of which 11.305 billion euros have been ear-marked for Member States eligible for financing from the Cohesion Fund.
The INEA (Innovation and Networks Executive Agency), operating under the European Commission, carried out the first CEF call for proposals. After the evaluation of the applications, the Commission published a list of projects proposed for funding on 29 June 2015. European Commission press release and funding proposal
In its meeting on the 10 July 2015, the CEF Committee confirmed the funding decisions proposed by the Commission.
The EU provides financial assistance to 276 European transport projects in the amount of approximately 12 billion euros. Of this amount, 4 billion euros are allocated to Member States eligible for financing from the Cohesion Fund, and 1 billion is allocated to research. The co-financing rate varies from 20% to 85%, depending on the type of project. Investment in transport infrastructure will boost employment and growth. Together with the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the TEN-T programme will create 10 million jobs and increase Europe's GDP by 1.8%.
At the CEF Committee held in Brussels on 10 July 2015, allocation decisions were made on half of the TEN-T budget for 2014–2020. The amount of applications for TEN-T funding was three times more than the available envelope.
The funding allocation criteria were:
- projects with the highest European added value,
- core network corridors, and
- priority projects.
Finland is participating in 17 projects (the total cost of which is 670 million euros), for which some 300 million euros has been granted as co-funding. The Finnish Transport Agency receives financial assistance of approximately 83 million euros from the TEN-T budget. One of the priorities for Finland is to take the Rail Baltica project forward to the implementation phase.