The European Union is supporting the economic recovery in all of its Member States by investing almost 2.2 billion euros into 140 key transport projects to jump-start the economy. The projects granted EU financing through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) will build missing transport links across the continent, support sustainable transport and create jobs.
“The 2.2 billion euros EU contribution to this crucial transport infrastructure will help kick-start the recovery and we expect it to generate 5 billion euros in investments,” said EU Commissioner for Transport Adina-Ioana Vălean.
She explained that the selected projects for EU financing range from inland waterways transport to multimodal connections, alternative fuels to massive railroad infrastructure.
The spending from the 2.2 billion euros budget must also contribute to delivering on climate objectives, in line with the European Green Deal. The Commission put a strong emphasis on projects reinforcing railways, including cross-border links and connections to ports and airports, to improve the attractiveness of rail as a sustainable alternative of transport.
Rail infrastructure projects located on the Trans-European Transport (TEN-T) core network will receive total funding of 1.6 billion euros. The 55 projects that were granted EU financing includes the Rail Baltica project, which integrates the Baltic States in the European rail network. The project includes five European Union countries (Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland) and will be fully electrified to avoid emissions.
Almost 142 million euros will go to support the shift to greener fuels for transport, by financing 19 projects, which involve converting vessels so they may run on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), as well as installing the corresponding infrastructure in ports.
Road transport will also see the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure, namely through the installation of 17,275 charging points on the road network and the deployment of 355 new buses.
The budget also supports the transformation of the maritime sector, where priority was given to short-sea-shipping projects based on alternative fuels and the installation of on-shore power supply for ports to cut emissions from docked ships. Greece received 540,000 euros for its ALFION (Alternative Fuel Implementation in Port of Igoumenitsa) project that involves the development of onshore power supply technology, allowing ships to receive green electric energy at berth. Charging stations for vehicles will also be established, reducing the overall environmental footprint of transport activities in the port area.
Channelling over two billion euros in the form of EU financing comes at a key moment for many of the selected projects as the economies of virtually all EU Member States are hit hard by the COVID-19 induced economic slowdown.
The transformation of the European transport system is central to deliver on the commitments set out in the European Green Deal, as the sector represents almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and is the main cause of air pollution in cities.