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Connecting Europe aims for better use of public money

Posted by Nick Prag at 05 November 2015, 22:00 CET |
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The second year of the Juncker Commission continued this week with the investment theme, with the launch of a second call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). This will provide more than EUR 7.6 bn for key transport projects, with EUR 6.5 bn earmarked for countries with Cohesion Fund eligibility.

The second year of the Juncker Commission continued this week with the investment theme, with the launch of a second call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). This will provide more than EUR 7.6 bn for key transport projects, with EUR 6.5 bn earmarked for countries with Cohesion Fund eligibility.

CEF - an important part of the Commission's Investment Plan to kick-start growth and job creation - supports the development of high-performing, sustainable and efficiently interconnected trans-European networks in the field of energy, telecoms and transport.

This year's call focuses on innovative transport, covering for instance so-called 'Intelligent Transport Systems' or traffic management systems in rail, air or waterways. Applicants have until 16 February 2016 to submit their proposals, with the outcome due to be published by summer 2016.

Connecting Europe Facility - call for proposals 2015

A couple of important new tools were highlighted by Commissioners Jyrki Katainen and Violeta Bulc at their announcements this week:

The first is the European Investment Advisory Hub, a single access point to advisory and technical assistance services. Operational since the beginning of September, 'The Hub' reflects a Commission aim to help Member States as well as private investors to use all the financial instruments that the EU can offer.

The European Project Portal is not operational until early next year, but the portal will list potential investment opportunities in the EU, with the object of providing potential investors with clear and transparent information in a standardised format. Both public and private project promoters will be able to give their projects visibility on the portal, with the object of attracting investment, and also increasing competition between investors.

So the announcement of a boost to a European transport infrastructure in dire need of investment will be welcome. But also important are the Commission's encouragement of the new Advisory Hub to get project proposals into good shape, and the upcoming Project Portal to attract private investment.

Both reflect ever-increasing pressure to use European resources and grants better and more efficiently. They are also aimed at encouraging involvement of private investors in the EU's own investment plans, with EU grants hopefully attracting private money to higher risk projects.

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Nick Prag

Nick Prag

Nick Prag is founder and managing editor of EUbusiness.com. Prior to EUbusiness, he was senior editor at Europe Online SA in Luxembourg, where he played a major part in the launch of Europe Online International.