In June, the Parliamentary Transport Committee discussed both the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) in conjunction with the EU economic recovery plan and the climate change legislation.
In a meeting of the Committee with Henrik Hololei, Director General for Mobility and Transport at the European Commission, the financing perspectives in the transport sector in view of the new EU Recovery Plan and the revised proposal for the MFF 2021-2027 were discussed. Mr. Hololei stressed the crucial role of the transport sector for the European economic recovery. In his view, sustainability and digitalisation offer many opportunities to promote a rapid recovery and make the sector more resilient. Commission policy initiatives to complement EU financial support in the short and longer term include the forthcoming strategy for sustainable and intelligent mobility, the revision of the infrastructure directive for alternative fuels and the TEN-T guidelines in 2021 as well as initiatives on sustainable alternative fuels for air and water transport, a common European mobility data space and the promotion of automated mobility through public-private partnerships. As regards financial support in the next MFF, in its revised proposal for the next MFF, the Commission has increased the budget for the general transport framework of the "Connecting Europe Facility" (CEF - an EU fund for pan-European infrastructure investment in transport, energy and digital projects) by €1,5 billion. A reinforced InvestEU programme will provide additional support for projects in the fields of clean transport, critical infrastructure and key transport technologies. In addition, substantial financial support for recovery is foreseen under the newly proposed Recovery and Resilience Facility of the EU's Next Generation EU Fund, where investments in the transition to a cleaner and more digital transport system can be prioritised by Member States in their national plans. Participants in the debate warned that the overall level of funding remains too low compared to the actual need for transport infrastructure investment and regretted the fact that the Commission has proposed to cut funding for military mobility, energy and digital infrastructure in the CEF. The speakers also stressed the importance of supporting the transition to sustainable and intelligent mobility, in particular through infrastructure and alternative fuel technologies. The debate underlined the current challenges in the transport sector, for recovery from the current crisis and beyond, in order to strengthen competitiveness and promote decarbonisation and digitisation.