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  • MEPs back €10bn allocation for cleaner and safer transport in EU budget

    MEPs today voted for €10 billion of the EU’s transport infrastructure budget to be spent on smart, sustainable and safe transport projects like re-charging stations and railway signaling upgrades. Transport & Environment (T&E) said that, with the COP climate conference in Poland ongoing, the vote signals that the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) will help meet climate targets.

    Sam Kenny, freight policy officer at T&E, said: “This vote helps ensure that the EU budget will aid the decarbonisation of transport and helps member states to meet their climate targets. It should inspire governments to follow suit and ramp up investment in sustainable transport.”

    The parliament also supported the EU offering up to 90% of the costs of so-called ‘synergy projects’, which connect the transport, energy, and digital sectors. This would enable projects like smart grids and vehicle-to-grid charging to benefit from EU financing. There is also an earmark for 60% of CEF for climate projects across all sectors (energy, digital and transport). All CEF funding is topped up by member states.

    However, parliament also voted to put funding for gas infrastructure on an equal footing when accounting for the contribution to climate targets of transport spending. The parliament also voted to make airports eligible for funding, which would aid the expansion of the highest-emitting mode of transport.

    At a time when transport accounts for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions in Europe, T&E said it is imperative that MEPs, governments and the European Commission reach agreement on a CEF that invests in clean transport before parliament breaks for elections next year.

    Last week EU transport and energy ministers backed earmarking €7 billion of the EU’s transport infrastructure budget for more sustainable projects – with gas projects being eligible. The Commission supports guaranteeing €10 billion for such infrastructure. Neither the Council or the Commission want airports to be eligible.

    Sam Kenny concluded: “Negotiations will begin soon and the three institutions are set to support earmarking investment for smarter and cleaner transport. It’s important though that the EU divests entirely from natural gas projects if it truly wants to help technologies that can get us to zero.”