What Is CEF?
Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is a European Union co-financing programme managed by the European Commission.
It supports the deployment of high-quality, sustainable infrastructure in the transport, energy and digital sectors by encouraging both public and private investment.
This trans-European infrastructure being the nervous system of an increasingly interconnected European society, CEF aims to play a key role in Europe's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. In doing so, it invests in short-term recovery and long-term prosperity.
CEF is also a key financing instrument of the European Green Deal and is essential to meet the Union's 2030 and 2050 climate targets.
The programme was established by Regulation (EU) No. 2021/1153 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 July 2021 establishing the Connecting Europe Facility and repealing Regulations (EU) No. 1316/2013 and (EU) No. 283/2014 (CEF II Regulation). It is part of the EU's long-term budget (Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027).
CEF Digital, which is the digital component of CEF, supports and encourages investment in digital connectivity between 2021 and 2027. CEF Digital is therefore an important tool for delivering Europe's digital transformation, as outlined in the proposed Path to the Digital Decade policy programme.
CEF Digital is the successor to CEF Telecom. While CEF Telecom focused on digital infrastructure services, CEF Digital makes a priority of rolling out high-capacity broadband and state-of-the-art infrastructure. This mainly involves supporting projects that address market failures and are primarily cross-border.
The Objective of CEF Digital
CEF Digital contributes to:
- the development of projects of common interest for the deployment of secure and reliable Very High-Capacity Networks (VHCN), including 5G systems;
- increased capacity and resilience of digital backbone networks;
- the digitisation of networks in the transport and energy sectors.
The programme aims to improve digital connectivity by creating ultra-high-capacity broadband networks as a basis for better digital services. It could potentially fund projects aimed at delivering 5G networks along major transport corridors, Gigabit connectivity for institutions such as hospitals or schools and wireless connectivity for local communities.
Implementation of CEF Digital: Calls for Projects
CEF Digital is put into practice in multi-year work programmes. The European Commission drafts them, assisted by the CEF Digital Coordination Committee, which is composed of national representatives of the member states. The first multi-annual work programme for the period 2021 - 2023 was published on 16 December 2021 and is the basis of the first three calls for projects. Learn more about the Multiannual work programme for 2021-2025 - Connecting Europe Facility - Digital.
The first call for projects based on that work programme, the “early wave” call, was open from 12 January 2022 to 20 April 2022. More information about the results of this first call.
The second call for projects has been open since 12 October 2022 and runs until 5pm on 21 March 2023.
All information on the second call for projects can be found on our webpage CEF Digital calls for projects.
The third call for projects under the mandate of the 2021-2023 work programme is expected to be published in June 2023 and continue until October 2023. You will find more information on that on this page as soon as it is available.