The best investment plan for Europe - joint press release 03/04/24

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The transport sector is of strategic importance in responding to Europe’s environmental, geostrategic and capacity challenges. Only with a strong transport sector at its core will Europe be able to reach its climate and resilience goals and safeguard its supply chain sovereignty.

Europe needs transport: transport as an enabler

A functioning and resilient transport network is a cornerstone of the European economy. European transport is the lifeline of the European Internal Market, enables the movement of goods, services and people within the Union, fosters regional development, and seamlessly connects Europe with the rest of the world. Transport is a driver of Europe’s society and prosperity.

Decarbonisation of transport is the only way forward

Europe’s transport sector supports the Green Deal objective to be carbon neutral by 2050. Citizens and businesses must have access to sustainable and accessible transport. Embracing decarbonisation not only aligns with environmental responsibility, but also requires a supporting legislative framework and continuous investments in innovative green, digital and quality infrastructure, fleets and equipment.

Transport is of strategic importance in making Europe more resilient

Recent and ongoing crises have proven once again that only with an adaptable and innovative transport sector is Europe able to respond effectively to massive disruptions and safeguard its supply chain sovereignty. With rising geopolitical tensions and ongoing climate change, it must be Europe’s top priority to strengthen and adapt its physical and digital transport infrastructure and optimise its connectivity and capacity.

Transport as a key for EU competitiveness

Transport keeps businesses and trade up and running, helps people move and is thereby the basis for economic growth and social cohesion in Europe. If Europe is to be a leader in the shift to a net-zero industry and society, it needs to provide a competitive and efficient transport network to link the current and new production sites with the markets. Investments in transport strengthen Europe’s supply chain security and enhance Europe’s attractiveness as a trade partner and investment destination.

Transport creates jobs

A strong and attractive transport sector with skilled professionals is a source of stable employment, supporting livelihoods throughout Europe. The sector not only provides jobs directly to more than 10 million workers, but also indirectly stimulates employment by supporting related sectors such as manufacturing, tourism and technology. Investment in transport not only improves connectivity, but also acts as a catalyst for job creation and economic vitality of the Union.

Capacity and connectivity are still lacking

Transport infrastructure capacity and connectivity in Europe is lacking. The Trans-European Transport Network is still incomplete and suffers from ongoing bottlenecks affecting the efficiency of the whole transport supply chain. As our economies and societies become more integrated, the demand for transport will only grow. Europe needs to ensure that bottlenecks and the lack of interoperability are resolved, digitalisation can be deployed and enough capacity is available to match the current and future transport demand.

Grants are essential to complete Europe’s network

Transport projects with high societal added-value do not always generate the necessary financial returns to cover the investments. This is where EU grants come in. Grants are necessary to support those projects that are crucial to achieve Europe’s ambition but may face significant funding gaps. Grants also act as a catalyst to attract further funding from the private sector and the Member States.

A robust EU transport funding instrument ensures no regret investments

A strong funding instrument for transport is the best guarantee to deliver high EU added value, foster a level playing field and enable no regret investments. The take-away is clear: Europe needs a robust instrument like the Connecting Europe Facility to be able to deliver on its ambitions. Europe must reverse the trend of continued underfunding of the transport sector now and set the bar high.


Related documents
CEF leaflet 2024 EN