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09.02.2017 10:58
The EU at Work to Bridge the Investment Gap in Transport
The European Commission unveiled February 8 the "CEF Blending Call" which makes available €1billion of grants from the Connecting Europe Facility to be combined with financing from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) whenever possible, the European Investment Bank (EIB), National Promotional Banks or private sector investors

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As part of it, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) will aim to overcome current market failures by addressing market gaps and mobilising private investment. EFSI support can be combined with EU grants from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), Horizon 2020 as well as from those EU funds implemented by Member States' authorities under shared management, namely the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds.

The European Commission unveiled February 8 the "CEF Blending Call" which makes available €1billion of grants from the Connecting Europe Facility to be combined with financing from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) whenever possible, the European Investment Bank (EIB), National Promotional Banks or private sector investors. This will increase the leveraging effect of EU funds and facilitate access of project promoters to financing by the EIB, public financial institutions or the private sector for transport infrastructure works in the 28 EU Member States. The aim is to progressively move towards a smart combination of grants, loans, guarantees to leverage private funds.

The Connecting Europe Facility has a grant budget of €24.05 billion for TEN-T projects for the 2014-2020 period. CEF grants are allocated following competitive calls for proposals.

The HORIZON 2020 budget includes €6.3 billion for smart, green and integrated transport for the 2014-2020 period.

The European Structural and Investment (ESI) funds foresee a total of approximately €70 billion for transport projects programmed in the 2014-2020 period: €35.6 billion for transport under the Cohesion Fund and €34.5 billion for transport under the European Regional Development Fund.The EFSI and the ESI Funds are complementary and can be used together to mobilise further investment. The Commission issued explanatory guidelines on how to combine these Funds.

Who can apply for EFSI support and what kind of projects are eligible?

Companies, utilities, public sector entities, national promotional banks or other banks, and EFSI investment platforms can apply. With no specific target allocated by sector, EFSI can support operations consistent with European Union policies, recognising the importance of investments in transport infrastructures but also equipment and innovative technologies:

•    Ports, locks, airports, roads, dedicated rail lines connecting urban centres, logistic platforms and the deployment of traffic management systems on track and on-board trains (ERTMS) or planes (SESAR).
•    Rehabilitation and upgrade of the road and rail networks, including in urban city areas.
•    Greening of maritime and inland waterways infrastructure, fleets and vehicles, including LNG for ships or barges, alternative fuels, including electric mobility for cars.
•    Investments involving entities located or established in EU Member States and extending to countries falling within the scope of pre-accession and neighbourhood policies.

Transport projects such as the deployment of ERTMS and SESAR, greening of maritime and inland waterways transport and alternative fuels infrastructure along major roads, might be of a relatively small size. In such cases, they could benefit from pooling investors' resources together into national, sub-national, multi-country or regional investment platforms, and by involving National Promotional Banks (NPBs). By aggregating small projects, investment platforms provide greater diversification, greater deal flow and reduced risk.

TAGS: EU | transport | financing | funding | European Fund for Strategic Investments | EFSI | European Investment Bank | EIB 

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