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Commission proposes to increase financing for trans-European networks (TENs)

The European Commission, has adopted a proposal to amend the Regulation concerning the granting of Community financial aid for trans-European networks (TENs). The proposal concerns the funding period 2000-2006, and sets out the budget for EU support for TENs projects in the tr...

The European Commission, has adopted a proposal to amend the Regulation concerning the granting of Community financial aid for trans-European networks (TENs). The proposal concerns the funding period 2000-2006, and sets out the budget for EU support for TENs projects in the transport, energy and telecommunications fields for this period, as well as general rules for granting such support. Under the proposal, a total of ECU 5,500 million would go to TENs projects between 2000 and 2006. Of this total, ECU 180 million would go to energy projects and ECU 328 million to telecoms projects, leaving the vast majority for transport projects. In comparison, the current TENs Financial Regulation devotes a total of ECU 2,345 million to TENs projects for the period 1995-1999. The other aim of the revision is to take into account experience gained by the Commission, Member States and private operators with the projects so far, and to simplify and adapt the operation of the Regulation where necessary. Changes proposed in the revision of the Regulation include: - Currently the allocation of the budget for TENs projects is done annually, while most of the projects tend to be large-scale and long-term. The Commission therefore proposes to introduce a multiannual indicative programme, in order to promote longer-term, innovative financing mechanisms; - Changing the form of financial assistance to be given under the Regulation, to allow more strategic undertakings; - Removing the five-year limitation on interest rate subsidies, to allow such subsidies to extend beyond the construction period into periods when they may be most needed; - Allow Community support in the form of grants or risk capital to stimulate the development of risk capital investments, needed if TENs are to be developed in public-private-partnerships; - Change the present limit on Community aid from 10% of the total investment cost to 20% in the case of projects of particularly significant Community interest; - Alignment of TENs information and publicity to that used for the Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund.