BRUSSELS, 8th January, 2016 (WAM) – The Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) has signed the final grant agreements for the last batch of Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) projects, finishing a process which started over a year ago with the publication of the 2014 CEF Transport Calls for Proposals. A total of 12.7 billion euros of EU investment will support 263 transport infrastructure projects which will deliver faster, safer and greener mobility for the entire Union.

Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said “I am glad that today the largest investment ever made by the EU in the transport area is becoming a reality. All these projects will better connect Europe and boost competitiveness, growth and jobs. By contributing to the decarbonisation of the transport sector through greener fuels and digital integration, they will also advance on two priorities of the Commission: Energy Union and Digital Agenda.”

INEA Executive Director Dirk Beckers, who signed the last grant agreements between beneficiaries and the Agency, remarked: “I am very happy that after these last signatures, all the 2014 CEF transport projects have officially begun. The Agency will now ensure that everything proceeds according to plan so that each individual project can deliver as planned and we can build an integrated transport network across the European Union. INEA will support all projects during their lifetime, as it has always done, offering its expertise so that everything is delivered on time and according to plan.”

The 263 projects are primarily located on the core trans-European transport network and 43 of these, worth nearly 4.6 billion euros, take place wholly in EU countries eligible for support from the Cohesion Fund. Among the beneficiaries are flagship initiatives such as Rail Baltica, the Brenner Base Tunnel, the Seine-Schelde waterway, the Caland Bridge and the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link. Smaller-scale initiatives include cross-border projects between Groningen and Bremen, the Iron Rhine rail line, LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) deployment plans or projects enhancing the navigability of the Danube River.