Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Questions (502)

David Cullinane

Question:

502. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the projects his Department plans to submit for funding through the Connecting Europe facility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49834/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is the EU's funding instrument for the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). Funding under CEF is delivered in the form of grants awarded following competitive calls for proposals. For successful projects, co-funding rates can vary depending on individual calls, the type of project and the strength of applications. All applications will be assessed and evaluated by the European Commission in conjunction with independent external experts.

The Commission published the latest call for proposals in October 2019 and the deadline for applications is 26 February 2020. The call has an overall budget of €1.4 billion, with €750 million available under the general financial envelope, which is open to all Member States. The balance of €650 million is only open to Member States eligible for Cohesion Fund support, which does not include Ireland.

The call has budget lines dedicated to the following funding priorities:

- Pre-identified projects on the Core Network

- European Rail Traffic Management Systems (ERTMS): on-board deployment

- Safe and secure infrastructure, including safe and secure parking on the road core network

- Intelligent Transport Services for road (ITS)

- Single European Sky (SESAR)

- Actions implementing transport infrastructure in nodes of the core network, including urban nodes (passengers transport)

- Motorways of the Sea

Eligible public and private entities can apply for CEF funding. At present, my Department is aware that a number of state bodies intend to prepare applications for CEF funding under this call. My officials have been and are continuing to examine potential projects that the Department could submit for co-funding under this call. I will consider this further as the deadline for applications approaches. My Department must endorse and sign off on all proposals by Irish applicants.

Alongside the 2019 CEF Transport Multi Annual Programme, CEF is offering a blending facility. Projects applying for CEF support under the Blending Facility must also secure a loan from an Implementing Partner, such as the European Investment Bank or other financial institutions. The CEF transport blending facility has a budget of €198 million and will support two areas that will deliver on the Commission's agenda for a clean and digital transport system:

- Deployment of the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS)

- Deployment of Alternative Fuels

The budget is evenly distributed between both funding priorities. The Blending Facility is unique in that there will be rolling deadlines for applications rather than one cut-off point. The first deadline is 14 February 2020 and new deadlines will be issued on a quarterly basis until March 2021 or until the budget is exhausted.

You may wish to note that on 20 November 2019, my Department hosted a CEF Information Day for interested stakeholders and potential applicants. The European Commission participated on the day and presentations were delivered on topics including the new call for proposals, the application process, and the future of CEF policy. Two successful Irish applicants also delivered presentations about their projects and experiences with CEF.

My Department is actively encouraging any potential CEF applicants to get in touch with an expression of interest at the earliest opportunity. Further information about CEF, TEN-T and the application process are available on our website at the following link:

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/331b18-trans-european-network-for-transport-ten-t-and-connecting-europe-fac/