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    The European co-financing programme Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) supports the deployment of high-quality, sustainable infrastructure in the transport, energy and digital sectors by encouraging both public and private investment.

    CEF Digital is put into practice in multi-year work programmes. The first multi-year work programme for the period 2021 - 2023 has three calls for projects.

    First CEF Digital Call for Projects

    The first call for projects, the “early wave” call, was open from 12 January 2022 to 20 April 2022.

    Second CEF Digital Call for Projects

    The second call for projects has been open since 12 October 2022 and runs until 5pm on 21 March 2023.

    Topics and Budget

    The second CEF Digital call for projects comprises a total of eight topics, for four overarching themes:

    1. Uninterrupted 5G coverage for all major transport routes, including trans-European transport networks (see 5G coverage along cross-border corridors):

          1. EUR 25 million for works

          2. EUR 3 million for studies

          3. EUR 2 million for 5G-cloud-edge integration (coordination and support action)

    1. The deployment of and access to Very High Capacity Networks (VHCN), including 5G systems, capable of providing Gigabit connectivity in areas where socio-economic drivers (SEDs) are located (see 5G connectivity for smart communities):

          4. EUR 50 million for works

    1. The deployment of new or significant upgrades to existing backbone networks, including submarine cables, within and between Member States and between the European Union and third countries (see The European quantum communications infrastructure initiative, backbone networks for pan-European cloud federations, backbone connectivity for digital global gateways):

          5. European quantum communication infrastructure  (EuroQCI): EUR 90 million for works

          6. Backbone networks for pan-European cloud federations: EUR 3 million for studies on specific areas (e.g. health cloud) at regional or national EU level

          7. Backbone connectivity for Digital Global Gateways: 100 million for works (which may include research components)

    1. Deployment and support of digital connectivity infrastructure for cross-border transport or energy projects and/or support of operational digital platforms directly related to transport or energy infrastructure (coordination and support action):

          8. EUR 4 million for Coordination and Support Action (CSA)

    Should you want to submit a project proposal on one or more of the above topics,  you may follow the procedure to participate via the online web portal Funding & Tenders of the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA). The Commission and HaDEA will guide you further through the procedure using specific call texts or “call documents” for each topic.

    Terms of Participation

    Project Types

    Only actions that contribute to achieving the objectives of CEF Digital are eligible for co-financing. Potential projects include studies, (infrastructure) works and accompanying measures to manage and implement the programme.

    Who Can Submit a Project Proposal?

    CEF Digital calls are open to legal entities (public or private bodies, including joint ventures) based in an EU member state, including overseas countries or territories. Participation is subject to certain security restrictions, which are defined in each “call document”.

    Co-Financing Rates

    European funding covers eligible costs:

    • by up to 50% for studies;
    • by up to 30% for works, with an increase to 50% for projects of a strong cross-border nature;
    • up to 70% for projects in remote areas;
    • up to 75% for connecting socio-economic drivers (SEDs);
    • up to 100% for cost coordination and support actions;
    • up to 100 % for activities that provide wireless connectivity in local communities.

    Application Procedure

    The application procedure may vary slightly by topic. The accompanying “call documents” provide detailed information on the procedure and the required documentation and/or annexes to the application.

    Letter of support (MS agreement)

    For all projects, before you can submit the application to the European Commission, it must first be approved by the Member State concerned, in accordance with Article 11 §6 (b) of the CEF Regulation. The template (DOCX, 34.92 KB) for this can be found in the web portal.

    The applicant can contact the national contact points for CEF Digital for that letter of support. For Belgium, the national contact points are the FPS Economy and the FPS BOSA, depending on the subject:

    You must obtain the “letter of support” at the latest 14 calendar days before the call for projects closes (which is at the latest on 7 March 2023 for Call 2). Submit it in electronic form to (or FPS BOSA where applicable). If the application is sent later, the delivery of a signed “letter of support” cannot be guaranteed.

    Use the FPS Economy’s checklist (DOCX, 130.12 KB) to substantiate your application. The checklist contains information about the project (call name, project title and name of the coordinator/applicant and his contact details). You also need to indicate in it whether the following information was submitted:

    • The “letter of support” (European Commission template) duly completed as indicated in the checklist.
    • A short summary of the project (maximum 1 page, in PDF).
    • The company number(s) of all Belgian entities involved in the project.
    • Confirmation that the project will be implemented on Belgian territory or have a link to it. If not, you will be asked to provide an explanation.
    • An indication of the requested CEF funding per Belgian applicant and in total for the entire project.
    • Finally, the date, the name of the project coordinator/applicant as well as his/her signature.

    The FPS Economy checks the checklist, the “letter of support” and the accompanying documents. If everything is duly completed, the FPS Economy sends the signed “letter of support” back to the applicant by electronic means. Note that if the application is made to FPS BOSA, this additional step does not apply. More information at the contact point for FPS BOSA.

    Security Guarantees Approved by the Member State

    As an applicant, you have to draw up certain security guarantees for your project, which are then approved by the Member State (specifically, the competent administrations) in which you are located. However, those Member State-approved safeguards, unlike the letter of support, are not mandatory for all proposals. See the accompanying “call documents” for detailed information.

    You can also contact the national CEF Digital contact points for this. For Belgium, the national contact points are the FPS Economy and the FPS BOSA, depending on the topic:

    If you wish to request an “Member Sate Approval” for security guarantees, you must do so no later than 30 calendar days before the project call closes (meaning no later than 21 February 2023 for Call 2. In this case, you also request a “letter of support” at the same time (see step-by-step plan above). Please submit your application in electronic form to (or, where appropriate, the FPS BOSA). If the application is submitted later, the delivery of an “MS approval” cannot be guaranteed.

    Specifically, the applicant shall prepare a number of security guarantees as stipulated in section 8.3 of the CEF Digital work programme and in the respective “call document”. More specifically, it concerns:

    1. Security guarantees as defined in points (a) and (c) of paragraph 8.3 of the CEF Digital Work Programme 2021-2025;
    2. Security guarantees as defined in point (d) of paragraph 8.3 of the CEF Digital work programme 2021-2025;
    3. Security guarantees as defined in point (b), but only for unclassified information, of section 8.3 of the CEF Digital work programme 2021-2025. Indeed, for classified information, existing European procedures continue to apply.

    The FPS Economy (or, where appropriate, the FPS BOSA) then ensures that those security guarantees reach the appropriate competent authorities. In turn, authorities analyse the security guarantees. After evaluation, the relevant authorities transfer the approval to the FPS Economy, which then transmits it to the applicant by electronic means.

    For further questions about your participation, please contact the general national contact point:

    Future calls

    The third call for projects under the mandate of the 2021-2023 work programme is expected to be published in June 2023 and run until October 2023. You will find more information on this call on this page as soon as it is available.

    The next multi-year work programme, the 2024-2027 work programme, is expected to be adopted in June 2023. The fourth “call” based on that new work programme is then likely to run from March to June 2024.

    Last update
    7 February 2023