December 2021. The European Union has adopted the 2021 – 2023 work programme for the Connecting Europe Facility. The funding is EUR 1 billion until 2023. It is the first work programme for the digital part of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF – digital sector). The programme shall define the scope and objectives of the actions supported by the EU necessary for the improvement of the European digital connectivity infrastructure for 3 years. Actions under the programme will receive funding of more than EUR 1 billion in the period 2021-2023.
The Connecting Europe Facility has been funded for a total of EUR 2 billion up to 2027 and will support digital transformation and the achievement of the objectives of the European Digital Decade. With the first generation of the Europe Connecting Facility 2014-2020, the infrastructure connecting the Member States has been improved and, thanks to the Wifi4eu programme, free Wi-Fi has been brought to local communities.
The Connecting Europe Facility will promote public and private investment, contributing to the creation of connectivity projects of European interest and, at the same time, to the establishment of a secure and sustainable high-performance infrastructure, also for Gigabit and 5G networks. The improvement of the infrastructure will be one of the key points for achieving the digital transformation of the continent and for ensuring that Gigabit connectivity reaches all EU homes by 2030. The programme also aims to strengthen connectivity networks by supporting new backbone infrastructures or improving existing ones. This would also respond to Europe’s ambition to maintain digital sovereignty.
What are the key actions?
The following key actions will be supported under the CEF – digital sector:
- building 5G infrastructure in Europe, in particular 5G coverage along cross-border corridors and 5G for smart communities;
- building new backbone networks or upgrading existing networks, including cloud, ultra-secure quantum communications infrastructure and submarine cables, in order to improve the performance of communication networks within and between Member States;
- New infrastructure for digital connectivity in cross-border transport and energy projects and/or support to digital platforms directly related to transport and energy infrastructure.
The first calls for proposals will be launched from January 2022: check on the website!