CEF II Supporting Smart, Sustainable and Safe Mobility
At the last European Logistics Platform (ELP) event of 2019, over 50 EU policy-makers and industry representatives met to discuss how the next generation Connecting Europe Facility (CEF II), a key EU funding mechanism that provides targeted transport infrastructure investment, can be instrumental to secure smart, sustainable and safe mobility in the EU.
The event was hosted by MEP Marian-Jean Marinescu, EPP Coordinator of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee (TRAN) as well as the co-rapporteur for CEF 2021–2027. In his introductory remarks, Mr Marinescu MEP stressed that with the Green Deal all modes of transport will be under severe pressure to decarbonise. He highlighted that without sufficient funding it would be difficult to achieve the ambitious decarbonisation and modal shift targets. He also emphasised the need to strike the right balance between economic, social and climate objectives.
Ms Isabelle Ryckbost, Secretary General at the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) presented the ‘More EU Budget for Transport’ campaign supported by 44 transport organisations to ensure that the CEF II comes with an adequate budget envelope. Ms Ryckbost noted that the CEF instrument has proven to be a financial instrument delivering highly added value and will be instrumental in the decarbonisation of the European transport sector. She added that the EU climate targets, as well as the ambitions of the new European Green Deal, can only be met if all transport modes continued to invest in greener technologies, while optimising, digitalising and completing the European TEN-T Network by 2030. Representing the ports sector, she noted that ‘EU ports would require €48 billion investment for the period up to 2027 as they 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.’
Mr Mats Rosenqvist, Director External Research Collaboration at the Volvo Group, presented European efforts for the development and deployment of automated freight transport, noting that CEF was very useful in bringing results from research onto real customers and users. He pointed out that the deployment of smart, electric and autonomous multimodal transport systems required harmonisation, standardisation, regulation and certification, as well as appropriate funding to prepare infrastructure, i.e. traffic and transport control, charging, connectivity. Asked about the gap between the technology readiness for deployment and the lacking regulatory framework at EU level, Mr Rosenqvist argued that collaboration was crucial in order to bridge this gap.
Mr Libor Lochman, Executive Director at the Community of European Railways (CER) presented the railways as an essential part of logistics and in this regard noted that it is important to secure a robust Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) budget for transport for the greening of mobility. Besides investment in intermodal terminals, last mile infrastructure, rail freight corridors, inter-operability investment is specifically required for electrifying further rail tracks and the deployment of ERTMS. Commenting on the Finnish Presidency’s proposal for the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF), Mr Lochman noted that to achieve ambitious transport decarbonisation goals, the Member States’ support for the European Parliament’s position on the second-generation CEF as well as the sufficient national transport infrastructure budgets would be vital.
Mr Herald Ruijters, Director at DG MOVE, gave a presentation on the current challenges to the TEN-T policy and the importance of gathering support for the budget of CEF for the years 2021-2027. He noted that the TEN-T revision would be a significant step up, with a particular focus on the cross-border connectivity, missing links, alternative fuels, rail freight, high-speed rail, inland waterways, investments in the lacking terminal capacity and more emphasis on developing the comprehensive network. Within the Commission, the new European Green Deal raised the level of urgency to decarbonise transport. Mr Ruijters pointed out that the negotiations on the MFF will be key to achieve an ambitious Green Deal.
During the discussion that followed, participants stressed that it was instrumental to secure support among the Member States to ensure sufficient funding for smart and sustainable transport projects in the future.
In concluding the event, Ms Nicolette van der Jagt, Chair of the ELP, thanked Mr Marinescu MEP and the speakers for their valuable insights. Mr Marinescu MEP summarised the debate and warned against overly ambitious green measures without ensuring appropriate financing.
The European Logistics Platform consists of more than twenty industry stakeholders representing a wide variety of actors involved in logistics and supply chains across Europe. Current members are ACEA, Amazon, BDL, CER, CLECAT, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Post DHL Group, Duisport, ECG, ECSLA, ERFA, ESC, ESPO, FEPORT, FERRMED, FTA, Goodyear Operations Europe, Hutchison Whampoa, IRU, Michelin, NLA, Port of Rotterdam, P&G, TLN, UIRR, Volvo Group.
More information can be found here.
Source; ESPO press release