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The EU says the funding will help plug missing transport links across the continent, support sustainable transport and create jobs, while also supporting the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The funding will also help the EU deliver its climate objectives set out in the European Green Deal, with a strong emphasis on projects that reinforce rail connections, including cross-border links and connections to ports and airports.
“The €2.2bn EU contribution to this crucial transport infrastructure will help kick-start the recovery, and we expect it to generate €5bn in investments,” says EU commissioner for transport, Ms Adina Vălean. “The type of projects we invest in ranges from inland waterways transport to multimodal connections, alternative fuels to massive railway infrastructure. The CEF is one of our key instruments in creating a crisis-proof and resilient transport system – vital now and in the long run.”
The rail projects allocated funding include Rail Baltica and the cross-border section of the line between Dresden, Germany, and Prague in the Czech Republic.
Nine projects have been allocated more than €49.8m to facilitate the rollout of ERTMS. The EU says upgrading locomotives and infrastructure with the train control system will boost safety, decrease travel times and optimise track usage.
The projects were selected for funding via two competitive calls for proposals launched in October 2019, with the regular CEF Transport call, and in November 2019, with the CEF Transport Blending Facility call.
The EU’s financial contribution is provided in the form of grants, with different co-financing rates depending on the project type. For 10 projects selected under the blending facility, EU support will be combined with additional financing from banks via a loan, debt, equity or any other repayable form of support.
Following EU member states’ approval of the selected projects, the European Commission (EC) will adopt formal financing decisions in the coming days. The EC’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) will sign the grant agreements with the project beneficiaries by January 2021 at the latest.
The rail projects allocated funding include:
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