29 August, 2012

Press release: Connecting Europe Facility: budget cut could limit its effectiveness

As Ministers and State Secretaries for European Affairs are set to further discuss the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 during their Informal Meeting in Nicosia on 30th August 2012, ETNO insists on the need to maintain the Commission’s proposed funding levels for ICT of the Connecting Europe Facility.

“ETNO welcomes the Commission’s proposal for a Connecting Europe Facility as a long term financial instrument for cross-border infrastructure deployment. It is important to safeguard the aim of the CEF proposal, as a financial instrument that leverages infrastructure investments, by lowering investment risks of public and private organizations. ETNO is concerned that a reduction of the fund allocated would seriously endanger the effectiveness of the facility and limit its impact on overall EU economy”, says Daniel Pataki, ETNO Director.

The proposed funding and the related processing procedures under the CEF should be implemented to encourage private development projects first and, in cases where private investment is not commercially viable, the funds should be used for Public Private Partnerships. As with Member State funding initiatives, European funds should never be used to crowd out private investment plans.

The total proposed funding allocation is 50 billion EUR, to kick-start European infrastructure development in the areas of energy, transport and ICT. Regarding the electronic communications sector, the overall proposal of 9.2 billion EUR includes 2.2 billion EUR to boost the development of broadband-based pan-European digital service infrastructure within the areas of e-health services, cyber security, intelligent energy networks and a coordinated effort to remove online child pornography. The remaining 7 billion EUR should be used to facilitate further NGA network roll-out in Europe.

In order for the CEF to boost the private sector contribution to the Digital Agenda targets, the allocation of funds should be based on flexible and transparent rules.

ETNO’s full statement on the CEF is available here.

For more information, please contact: Thierry Dieu, ETNO Director for Communications and Public Policy Tel: (32-2) 219 32 42 Fax: (32-2) 219 64 12 E-mail: dieu@etno.be

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