An EU transport coalition of more than 40 industry bodies has called on the incoming European Commission ensure strong provision for transport in its next budget.
In the forthcoming Multiannual Financial Framework for the period spanning 2021 to 2027, the European Parliament has requested €33.51bn to be allocated to the transport arm of the second Connecting Europe Facility (CEF II). With the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) projected for completion by 2030 and increasingly strict EU targets on emissions reduction coming into force, the EU transport coalition highlighted the growing long term investment needs of the transport sector. The coalition has called on the incoming MEPs and Commissioners to increase investment in the transport sector as a whole, citing the importance of a reliable transport system to European businesses, markets and tourism.
A report prepared for the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) estimates that the investment needs of ports alone in the EU could reach €48bn between 2018 and 2027; and notes that port authorities have only received 4% of the full grant envelope since 2015, saying: ‘The challenge ports everywhere face now is to implement projects which often are financially unattractive to the port authority and even less attractive to external investors but which are essential for wider societal and economic reasons. Some ports are financially strong enough to finance such projects and accept the low financial returns. Other ports are challenged to implement projects which are essential but are entirely beyond their means. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is the essential means to resolve this conundrum.’
Isabelle Ryckbost, Secretary General of ESPO, said: “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.”