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It has emerged that the EU is planning to spend an estimated €2 billion over the next seven years, funding digital projects.

All of this is a part of a new deal struck by the European Parliament and Council negotiators on new funds for the Connecting Europe Facility project, focusing on transport, energy, and digital projects for 2021-2027.

The CEF is an EU funding project that the bloc is using to promote growth, competitiveness, and jobs, through investment in targeted infrastructure in its member states. A CEF spokesperson confirmed the news to Techzine.

What will CEF do?

In the newly announced deal, which is still undergoing a legal review, the CEF will have an overall budget of about €30 billion to fund projects that will specifically modernize cross-border projects. In the plan, there is an estimated €10 billion for the EU to complete missing transport links.

There is also €1.4 billion to fast track the completion of major missing cross-border railway projects, which will be selected on a competitiveness basis by the Commission.

Included in the project, is the rollout of secure and high-capacity digital networks and 5G systems, as well as the digitization of energy and transport networks.

What does the future look like for CEF?

If the funds are awarded as is, they will be twice the sum of the budget the bloc spent on European networks in the telecom sector between 2014 and 2020.  

Dominique Riquet, the Transport and Tourism Committee rapporteur and Renew Europe vice-chair, said that the CEF financing tool is needed now more than ever. He highlighted the need for the EU to build advanced transportation networks and strengthen cohesion, while also working toward the ambitious goals of the Green Deal.

Achieving the emissions goals cannot be done without upgrading infrastructure, which is why this funding tool is so important.