Are you working on critical infrastructures in the fields of transport, energy or digital services? Then CEF might be a good EU funding instrument to invest in the development of your services. CEF has a budget of 33.71 B€ and new calls are opening this autumn in all these areas.
What is CEF?
The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) stands as a pivotal EU funding instrument, strategically designed to fuel growth, stimulate job creation, and enhance competitiveness by channelling large infrastructure investments on a European scale. Whether it is rail and other transport modes, electricity, gas, carbon dioxide, smart grids, or connectivity infrastructure, CEF aims to support cross-border collaboration, although national projects with European impact are also funded. CEF aims to be a catalyst for achieving the EU's ambitious decarbonization goals by 2030 and 2050 and to advance the integration of the European single market.
Which projects qualify for CEF?
CEF Transport: Support for projects contributing to the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), resolving bottlenecks, bridging missing links, or establishing cross-border connections. CEF Transport also champions projects in Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS), SESAR (joint undertaking programme for aviation), Motorways of the Sea, and sustainable ("green") transport.
CEF Energy: Backing projects of common interest (PCIs) that bolster the trans-European energy network (TEN-E) through grants and financial instruments.
- CEF Digital: Driving projects that enhance Europe's digital infrastructure, spanning innovations like cloud services, smart communities, and the expansion and improvement of the 5G network.
Benefits of CEF for companies
The CEF budget for 2021-2027 is an impressive 33.71 B€. A CEF grant can be transformative, with contributions extending into tens of millions of euros. You could be the sole recipient of the grant or apply in a consortium.
Grant levels are typically determined as follows (some exceptions may apply in certain calls):
- 30% for implementation/construction (e.g. The CEF budget for 2021-2027 is an impressive 33.71 billion euros.
- 50% for planning/studies.
- 50% for cross-border connections, telematic systems, inland waterway projects, railway interoperability, projects involving new technologies and innovations, improving safety infrastructure, and projects related to external border checks.
- 70% for outermost region projects.
When to apply?
The right time to start to prepare the project, is all the time, even if there is no call open. Calls typically open approximately three months before the deadline, with national deadlines typically set one month before the EU deadline. Therefore, we advise to start preparing proposals well in advance. All the CEF calls are expected to open during the autumn of 2023.
Ready to change the world?
CEF-funded projects typically have implementation lifespans of 4-5 years and study periods of 2-3 years. The budget of projects ranges from millions to hundreds of millions of euros. The CEF is usually coordinated by national ministries or agencies dedicated to energy, transport and communication. For example, in Finland, Traficom coordinates CEF Digital and CEF Transport, while the Ministry of Transport and Communications coordinates CEF Energy.
Unsure if your innovation is a match for one of these topics? For advice and more information, please contact us, and we will get you in touch with one of our experts.
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CEF in a nutshell
- CEF accelerates investments in Europe’s transport, energy, and digital infrastructure networks
- Project length: Typically 4-5 years for implementation and 2-3 years for studies
- Budget for each sector (2021-2027):
- Transport: 25.81 B€ (including 11.29 B€ for cohesion countries)
- Energy: 5.84 B€
- Digital 2.07 B€
European Commission CINEA Programmes CEF