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EU woos private investors with €1bn transport grant

The European Commission is looking to fund transport projects that will combine its grants with private investment, focusing on the EU’s poorer countries.

The European Commission has issued a call for proposals for new transport infrastructure projects which will seek to combine private investment with funds from its Connecting Europe Facility.

Armed with a €1 billion war chest, the EC is looking to partner with public financial institutions, the private sector or the European Fund for Strategic Investments. Projects applying for financing from the CEF funds will be required to evidence the willingness of other investors to get involved in order to receive EC financing.

The EC said it is looking to fund projects which support cross-border links and increase the use of digital technology while remaining sustainable and efficient. There will be a focus on supporting proposals from the bloc’s 15 Cohesion countries – member states whose Gross National Income per inhabitant is less than 90 percent of the EU average.

The two deadlines for the call for proposals are 14 July 2017 and 30 November 2017. Although the UK is set to begin its process of leaving the EU next month, a spokesman for the EC confirmed to Infrastructure Investor that UK-based projects are open to apply while it remains a member of the bloc and that the EC cannot pre-empt the results of the negotiations.

“Achieving our vision for seamless, intelligent and sustainable mobility in Europe requires investments that public funds alone cannot provide,” said commissioner for transport Violeta Bulc. “That is why we are launching an innovative solution to make the best of our resources, and unlock untapped private investments, with particular focus on Cohesion countries.”