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Connecting Europe Facility (CEF Digital)

Target group
SMEs, Large Enterprises, Government, Cities, Communities & NGOs, Knowledge Centers
Type of funding
Grant, Loans & Investments
Project type
Growth, Infrastructure
Energy, ICT Research & Innovation, International Cooperation, Partnerships with Industry & MS, Research Infrastructures, Transport
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Flanders/Belgian contacts:

MOW Vlaanderen: https://mow.vlaanderen.be/cef/

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Info last updated 1 year ago


Key EU funding instrument to promote growth, jobs and competitiveness through targeted infrastructure investment at European level.


For the period 2021-2027 there is a 28.4 billion euro Global budget. For 2014-2020 it was: 30.4 billion euro - (€23.7 billion for Transport, €4.6 billion for Energy, and €0.5 billion for Telecom)

Official information source



For more information please refer to the CINEA: https://eufundingoverview.be/funding/european-climate-infrastructure-and-environment-executive-agency-cinea


Connecting Europe Facility — CEF Digital


The digital part of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF Digital) will support and catalyse both public and private investments in digital connectivity infrastructures between 2021 and 2027.


Making Europe more digital is one of the key challenges for our generation. The increase of online interactions and the emergence of new ways of living, working and doing business, has shown the central role that digital technologies play in our economy and society. In turn, digital technologies require appropriate digital connectivity infrastructures in order to function.  

Despite this growing need for connectivity, there still is a significant gap in private and public funding. The Connecting Europe Facility – Digital comes as a response to this gap. Together with other funding instruments, including the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the InvestEU, CEF Digital will help support an unprecedented amount of investments devoted to safe, secure, and sustainable high-performance infrastructure. In particular, Gigabit and 5G networks across the EU. This action will be important in supporting Europe’s digital transformation, as outlined in the Path to the Digital Decade proposal.

Furthermore, CEF Digital will contribute to the increased capacity and resilience of digital backbone infrastructures in all EU territories, in particular the Outermost Regions. This is crucial for Europe’s ambition to continue being digitally sovereign and independent in the years to come.

The main actions foreseen under CEF Digital include:


Connecting Europe Facility - Digital

The 2nd generation of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF-2 programme) “Digital” strand (2021-2027) aims to support and catalyse investments in digital connectivity infrastructures of common interest. The programme has a total budget of €2,065 billion, of which €1,7 billion is managed by HaDEA. Actions foreseen to be supported under CEF-2 Digital include:

  • Deployment of/access to very high-capacity networks, including 5G systems, capable of providing Gigabit connectivity in areas where socio-economic drivers, such as schools, universities, hospitals, transport hubs, public administrations, etc., are located;
  • Uninterrupted coverage of 5G systems on all major transport paths, including the trans-European transport networks;
  • Deployment of new or significant upgrade of existing backbone networks including submarine cables, both within/between the EU Member States and third countries;
  • Implementation of digital connectivity infrastructures related to cross-border transport and energy projects and/or the support of operational digital platforms directly associated to these infrastructures.

The first generation of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF-1) “Telecom” strand (2014-2020) facilitated the cross-border interaction between public administrations, businesses and citizens, by deploying Digital Service Infrastructures (DSI), connectivity in local communities (WiFi4EU) and broadband networks (through equity and loan instruments).

With a budget of approximately €1 billion, of which €203 million is now managed by HaDEA, the programme supported two types of digital services:

  • Re-usable digital services that can be integrated into/combined with other projects, covering eIdentification, eSignature, eInvoicing, eDelivery and Automated Translation (building blocks)
  • Specific digital service infrastructures covering areas such as cyber security, eHealth, European Platform for Digital Jobs and Skills, Business Registers Interconnection System, Europeana, eProcurement, Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information, Public Open Data, European e-Justice Portal, Safer Internet and online dispute resolution.


The Connecting Europe Facility regulation adopted to support connectivity across the EU

The commission welcomes the adoption of the regulation establishing the next Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme, which will support investments in Europe's transport, energy and digital infrastructure networks with a budget of €33.71 billion for the 2021-27 period.

Connected rural area

The adoption by the European Parliament, following the Council’s adoption on 14 June, finalises the legislative procedure and represents an important contribution to reaching the ambitious targets set out in the European Green Deal and the Digital Decade. The next steps in implementing the CEF programme include the adoption of a work programme by the Commission.

With a budget of 2.07 bn euros (in current prices), the digital part of the CEF, will fund connectivity projects of common EU interest and contribute to deploying Gigabit and 5G networks across the EU. The current pandemic has highlighted the need for better connectivity and accelerated emergent digitalisation trends. Access to fast, reliable and stable connections allows many to turn to teleworking, take their businesses online and stay connected. Connectivity supports access to online education, public services, digital skills and  new opportunities. More so, advanced networks, particularly 5G, can contribute to unleashing widespread innovations across sectors including medicine, manufacturing, transport, automotive and energy sectors. 

CEF Digital will:

  • contribute to the deployment of and access to safe and secure very high capacity digital networks and 5G systems;
  • support an increased security, resilience and capacity of the digital backbone networks in the EU;
  • foster the digitalisation of transport and energy networks.

Based on the new CEF Regulation adopted today, the programme will mobilise resources to promote 5G deployment along the main EU transport paths, thus enabling the development of advanced, state of the art, services such as Connected and Automated Mobility. Also, it will support best practices for 5G early adoption in local smart communities, for instance to make services of general interest, such as in health or education, more efficient and closer to citizens. 

CEF Digital will furthermore enable the integration of innovative high performance computing and cloud services. Targeted connectivity investments will ensure that state of the art digital capacities are accessible across the EU, as well as connect the EU with strategic international partners, for instance through submarine or satellite connectivity.  It will connect high performance computing centres and cloud infrastructures for secure and reliable data sharing, boosting the EU’s competitiveness and capacity to tackle complex societal challenges.

Building and upgrading the EU’s connectivity infrastructure, including submarine cables, can contribute to connect remote areas and islands, thus providing adequate connectivity to all EU citizens. Connectivity will play a key role in revitalising rural areas with new opportunities to participate in the digital transformation. In fact, a recent public opinion survey shows that more than 90% of surveyed Europeans believe that the attractiveness of rural areas will depend on available connectivity.

The next step is to finalise the first CEF Digital work programme and launch the corresponding calls, expected later this year.


In order to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and stimulate job creation, the Union needs an up-to-date, high-performance infrastructure to help connect and integrate the Union and all its regions, in the transport, energy and digital sectors. Those connections are key for the free movement of persons, goods, capital and services. The trans-European networks facilitate cross-border connections, such as Rail Baltica, foster greater economic, social and territorial cohesion and contribute to a more competitive social market economy and to combatting climate change by taking into account decarbonisation commitments. All Member States should be treated equally, disadvantages resulting from permanent geographic vulnerabilities should be duly taken into account.


The financial envelope for the implementation of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for the period 2021-2027 will be EUR 28 396 million. That amount will be distributed among the sectors as follows: 

  • a) transport: EUR 21 384 million,
    • out of which EUR 10 000 million will be transferred from the Cohesion Fund to be spent in line with the CEF Regulation:
      • 30% shall be made available based on a high degree of competitiveness among Member States eligible for funding from the Cohesion Fund and 70% shall respect the national allocations under the Cohesion Fund until 2023 and thereafter be based on full competition between Member States eligible for the Cohesion Fund;
    • out of which EUR 1 384 million will be used for the completion of missing major cross-border railway
      links between cohesion countries to support the functioning of the Single Market. The co-financing rules of the transfer from the Cohesion Fund to CEF shall apply.
  • b) energy: EUR 5 180 million;
  • c) digital: EUR 1 832 million.


Info from July 21st 2020

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is a key EU funding instrument to promote growth, jobs and competitiveness through targeted infrastructure investment at European level. 


It supports the development of high performing, sustainable and efficiently interconnected trans-European networks in the fields of transport, energy and digital services. CEF investments fill the missing links in Europe's energy, transport and digital backbone.

The CEF benefits people across all Member States, as it makes travel easier and more sustainable, it enhances Europe’s energy security while enabling wider use of renewables, and it facilitates cross-border interaction between public administrations, businesses and citizens.

In addition to grants, the CEF offers financial support to projects through innovative financial instruments such as guarantees and project bonds. These instruments create significant leverage in their use of EU budget and act as a catalyst to attract further funding from the private sector and other public sector actors.


Since January 2014, INEA is your gateway to funding under the CEF. INEA implements most of the CEF programme budget, in total €28.7 billion out of €30.4 billion (€23.7 billion for Transport, €4.6 billion for Energy, and €0.5 billion for Telecom).


The brochure Investing in European Networks. The Connecting Europe Facility: Five years supporting European Infrastructure was published in July 2019 and presents the achievements of the programme since it started in 2014.


The CEF is divided into three sectors:


One of the key priorities of CEF is enabling and strengthening the synergies between the three sectors. Actions across sectors may enable costs or results to be optimised through the pooling of financial, technical or human resources, thus enhancing the effectiveness of EU funding.

The first Call for proposals to support synergy actions between the transport and energy sectors was launched in 2016.


European Investment Project Portal (EIPP)

Are you a project promoter based in the EU, and want to reach potential investors worldwide? Register your project in the European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) and boost its visibility to a large network of international investors!


Proposed budget 2021-2027 is €42.3 billion, of which :

  • CEF Transport: €30.6 billion (of which €11.3 billion earmarked in ESIF and €6.5 billion earmarked in the security and defense budget)
  • CEF Energy: €8.7 billion
  • CEF Digital: €3 billion


Flanders/Belgian contacts:

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