Table of Contents
What is CEF?
Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is a European programme designed to financially support projects of general interest in the transport, energy and telecommunications sector.
The programme was created by Regulation (EU) no. 1316/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF Regulation).
CEF is a key element in the overall “European Infrastructure package”.
Purpose of CEF
The purpose of CEF is to stimulate economic growth and to support the completion and proper functioning of the internal market. CEF is meant to pursue real improvements in the everyday life of citizens, companies (including SMEs) and administrations by developing a solid trans-EU infrastructure based on mature technical and organisational solutions.
Specifically for the Telecom sector, the focus lies on the availability of high speed broadband internet and access to digital infrastructure services. Regulation (EU) no. 283/2014, which contains guidelines for trans-European networks in the area of telecommunications infrastructure, was also produced in this context.
To achieve these objectives, the European Commission annually establishes a working programme in which several call for proposals are prescribed. Candidates who wish to obtain the financial support offered by the CEF programme, must apply for said calls. More information about these calls can be found at the website of the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA).
A priori control (art. 9)
Before an application can be submitted to the European Commission, it must be certified by the Members States involved, cf. Article 9, §1 CEF Regulation.
In Belgium, the certification is given by the FPS Economy, SMEs, Self-Employed and Energy, more specifically by the Division Telecommunications and Information Society (Telecom Division).
The candidate who wishes to obtain a certification, must send his request electronically to the Telecom Division (CEF@economie.fgov.be) not later than 14 calendar days before the closing of the call. If the request is sent at a later time, certification cannot be guaranteed.
The candidate must fill in the checklist (DOCX, 134.07 KB) provided by the FPS Economy for his request for certification to be filed. He must specify in the form itself if the following information has been given:
- Application Form Part A
- In principle, this form should just be a copy of the document which will be submitted to the Commission (the downloaded version of the TENtec eSubmission module)
- At the very least, a description of the project and an overview of the co-applicants must be provided. It is not required that possible non-Belgian applicants have already signed their forms, nor is a full budgetary breakdown required. However, an indication of the estimated CEF contribution needs to be filled in in the checklist (see below).
- A separate copy of form A2.3 (“EU Member State Approval”), filled in with the correct data as mentioned in the checklist.
- Pay attention: please use the version from the TENtec eSubmission module! Other possible templates which are available at the INEA website will be considered as invalid by the European Commission.
- The enterprise numbers of the Belgian applicants.
- Confirmation that the project will be implemented on Belgian territory or will have a link with it. If this is not the case, a short explanation as to the reason why is required.
- The amount of CEF contribution that will be asked in total and for the Belgian applicants (may be estimated).
- The address whereto the signed certificate may be sent (limited to the Belgian territory).
The checklist and the accompanying documents are subsequently checked by the Telecom Division. If all is correct and complete, form A2.3 (the certificate) is signed and delivered (electronically and by post) to the applicant at the address he has provided in the checklist.
A posteriori control (art. 22)
The obligation for Member States to certify cf. article 22 of the CEF-Regulation that the expenditure incurred in respect of projects or parts thereof has been disbursed and that the disbursement was in conformity with the relevant rules, has been waived for CEF Telecom grants.
Consequently, the FPS Economy will no longer hand out certificates cf. article 22 of the CEF-Regulation.
FPS Economy, SMEs, Self-Employed and Energy
Division Telecommunications and Information Society
Kris Boeykens (tel. +32 2 277 90 75)
Nick Tuytschaever (tel. +32 2 277 60 34)