The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) is concerned that the European Commission’s proposal for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) will be limited to around 2% of the EU budget*, despite the need for infrastructure to improve the accessibility of peripheral and maritime regions.

The CPMR is also worried that the Commission’s proposal to cut Cohesion policy’s budget by 10% in real terms will mean it will not be able to fill the gap in the CEF’s budget.

While the CPMR welcomes the high priority given to sustainable and smart transport in the CEF budget proposal, as well as the increased finance for the TEN-T comprehensive network, it is alarmed that improving the accessibility of territories is still not considered a priority objective.

 CPMR Secretary General, Eleni Marianou, said: “As the EU budget negotiations begin, we are confident that the European Parliament will further develop the draft CEF regulation, improving its contribution to an EU transport policy which takes peripheries, islands and maritime regions into account and contributes to territorial and sustainable cohesion.”

In particular, the CPMR:

  • Welcomes the Commission’s proposal to improve financing for the TEN-T comprehensive network, which could see its budget doubled from 2020, improved accessibility for peripheral and maritime regions. However, the focus is on the cross-border parts of this global network, limiting the access of non-border territories.
  • Is satisfied by the completion of the TEN-T corridors in the annex to the CEF Regulation, incorporating a series of amendments proposed by the CPMR’s regions and Geographical Commissions, in particular on the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Scandmed corridors. However, there are still improvements to be made to this new map.
  • Regrets the plans for Europe’s ports and Motorways of the Sea (MoS). The CPMR has asked for port projects to be considered as cross-border in nature, and to receive a co-financing rate of up to 50%, but the regulation only proposes 30%.
  • Welcomes the decision for 40% of the budget to be allocated to sustainable and smart transport, in support of the EU’s climate objectives.
  • Is concerned that the proposal sets out plans to reallocate the CEF to direct management by the Commission, including projects that will be co-financed by both the CEF and the ERDF. Shared management programmes, such as those falling under Cohesion Policy, must be at the heart of EU budget reforms.

* This excludes the 6.5bn€ CEF-Transport budget to support ‘military mobility’.