Brussels, Belgium – The European Commission has proposed a €50 billion plan to improve Europe’s transport, energy and digital networks, creating a unified transport network from existing roads, canals, airports and railways.

The Connecting Europe Facility will finance projects to fill the missing links in Europe’s energy, transport and digital networks, and will also make the economy “greener” by promoting cleaner transport modes, high-speed broadband connections and facilitating the use of renewable energy. The networks will also further integrate the internal energy market, reducing the EU’s energy dependency and bolstering the security of supply.

The Commission has singled out projects where additional EU investment can have the most impact, and in particular, it expects Connecting Europe Facility investments to act as a catalyst for further funding from the private and public sector by giving infrastructure projects credibility and lowering their risk profiles. For the first time, the Commission is proposing a single funding instrument for the three network sectors.

A pilot phase, with an investment of up to €230 million, is proposed for 2012-2013. This would focus on five to ten projects, concentrating on those that are at a relatively developed stage of the bidding and financing process or which require refinancing after the construction phase, in one or more of the three targeted sectors of transport, energy and broadband.

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