Ahead of the European Parliament’s hearings of the commissioners-designate, a coalition of more than 40 European associations and organisations renewed their call for a strong transport budget.
ESPO is one of around 40 members of the MFF4Transport coalition which represents all transport modes and nodes, infrastructure managers, operators, contractors, local and regional authorities, logistics service providers, shippers, users and equipment suppliers in the maritime, inland waterways, railways, road, cycling, aviation and intermodal sectors, as well as supporting industries and companies.
While the previous European Parliament and the Council had agreed on a common understanding on the proposal for the Connecting Europe Facility 2021-2027 (CEF II), the budget will be decided by the upcoming negotiations of the Multiannual Financial Framework. The European Parliament had demanded an increased budget of €33.51bn (€37.76bn in current prices) for the transport envelope of the Connecting Europe Facility II.
A study, commissioned by the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) investigating the future investment needs of European ports, estimates that European ports face investment needs of around48Bn for the period 2018-2027. It also shows that port authorities have only been able to obtain 4% of the grant envelope over the last 4 years.
“The transport sector is facing huge challenges in terms of decarbonisation and digitalisation. These challenges need to be addressed if we want to continue to ensure the connectivity within Europe and thus the well-functioning of the internal market. European seaports need to invest continuously to remain state-of-the-art and cater for their multifunctional role as gateways to trade, multimodal hubs, nodes of energy and clusters of industry and blue economy. The connecting Europe Facility is instrumental in preparing Europe’s ports for the future”, says ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost.
Transport allows people to move, businesses and trade to grow, it enables the completion of the internal market, it enhances tourism and it connects all of Europe. Completing the TEN-T core network by 2030 and at the same time moving towards a truly green, climate neutral, integrated and digital transport system requires a large amount of investments and funding.
For these reasons, the coalition calls on the newly elected Members of the European Parliament and the incoming Commissioners to support the demand for an increased transport budget, including the proposed transfer of funds under the Cohesion envelope. The Connecting Europe Facility has proven to be a financial instrument delivering highly added value and will be instrumental in the decarbonisation of the European transport sector.