The Commission, the Parliament, and the Council of Europe have reached an agreement to provide the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) with a budget of 33.7 billion euros for the period 2021-2027, of which 2 billion will go to telecommunications infrastructure to boost the deployment and adoption of 5G networks, as reported by the European Commission in a note.
The CEF is a European program to support investment in transport, energy, and telecommunications infrastructure in the euro area, which aims to achieve a better interconnected Europe in all areas. This mechanism works through grants, financial guarantees, and bonds and was created in 2014 with a timeframe of six years, until 2020. With this agreement between the three European institutions, it is again provided with a budget for the period 2021-2027.
The digital strand of this program aims to extend 5G networks to interconnect EU citizens and equip major transport infrastructures, such as roads, railroads, maritime routes, and ports, with stable, high-speed network connections.
“As cross-border digital connectivity plays a key role in bridging economic, social and territorial divides, the CEF’s new digital funding instrument will enable many more regions in Europe, including rural areas, to have new opportunities,” says the European Commission.
Granting of subsidies
The grants awarded under this mechanism are granted on a competitive basis from among the various applications submitted through its website. The committee of this program has been calling for these grants on an annual basis for the last six years and is expected to continue to do so in the same manner in this new period of action.
These calls are open to any institution or company established in the countries of the European Union and certain international organizations in the infrastructure and transport sector.
The 33.7 billion euros over six years that this aid program for logistics, energy, and telecommunications infrastructures is endowed with are part of the European Union’s long-term budget for the period 2021-2027, which totals 1.1 trillion euros.
Since last December, when the European Parliament approved the long-term budget for 2021-2027, the EU institutions have been defining the allocations for different areas, among which digitalization and new technologies occupy a very important place.