CINEA, funding infrastructure for a greener Europe

By Dirk Beckers, Director, CINEA

The European Climate Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) started operations on 1 April 2021 implementing seven different EU programmes on behalf of the European Commission, worth around €58 billion in EU funding between 2021 and 2027. All these programmes are contributing to the realisation of the EU Green Deal via the creation of a decarbonised, greener and more sustainable future for Europe.

CINEA is committed to ensuring high standards of programme implementation. Our main tasks cover the entire project management: from proposal evaluation, to grants preparation and project monitoring. And finally, to feeding back the results of the projects to the policy makers.

The Agency brings innovative ideas, concepts and products to implementation, and helps to build significant economies of scale. One of these programmes, the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), supports the construction and upgrade of sustainable transport infrastructure projects along the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). The development of the TEN-T is a main component of European economic and social policy and a key element in the realisation of a resilient internal market. The EU contributes to the development of the TEN-T by providing financial assistance to those projects that demonstrate an EU added value, in particular a strong cross border dimension. In addition, one of the key objectives of the TEN-T is to reduce the environmental impact of transport, which is particularly important as transport emissions represent around one quarter of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions. This will be achieved by:


  •  Increasing the use of those transport modes that have a minimum environmental footprint
  •  Deploying intelligent transport systems
  •  Fostering the use of alternatives fuels


As of November 2021, the total number of ongoing CEF projects (funding started in 2014) is over 1,000 for a total EU contribution of more than €23 billion and total investment by other stakeholders of over €50 billion.

More than 71% of this EU budget is dedicated to rail, a greener alternative for passenger and freight transport, with a further 13% going to maritime and inland waterway projects. The aim is to improve those environmentally friendly modes of transport and shift traffic away from road transport. In addition, around 7% of the budget supports projects for the optimisation of the air traffic management system, with has a direct impact in reducing aviation emissions. The remaining 9% is funding road projects with a clear sustainability dimension, such as the support of alternative fuels infrastructure, mainly via the deployment of charging stations for electric vehicles.

For the 2021-2027 period, CINEA will manage a further CEF contribution to transport of around €25.5 billion. The bulk of the budget will once again be devoted to the decarbonisation of the transport sector by focusing on less polluting modes, as it has been the case since the inception of the programme.

Furthermore the programme will support the goals of the Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy laying the foundation for the green and digital transformation of the EU transport system. This will significantly support the EU Green Deal objective of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and will contribute to Member States’ efforts to install sufficient charging and zero-emission fuelling points to ensure that drivers are able to charge or fuel their vehicles across Europe.

The other programmes managed by CINEA also share similar objectives than the CEF Transport programme in terms of climate and environment, therefore synergies and complementarities are constantly sought. The CEF contribution to Energy infrastructure aims to support energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources of energy, combined with the Renewable Energy Financing Mechanism, which helps Member States in reaching their renewable energy targets.

The Just Transition Mechanism (Public Sector Loan Facility) supports the regions most affected by the transition to climate neutrality. Horizon Europe’s Cluster 5: Climate, Energy and Mobility aims at making the energy and transport sectors more climate and environment-friendly, more efficient and competitive, smarter, safer and more resilient.

The Innovation Fund is funding the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies, while LIFE is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action.

The European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund implements actions in the field of the Union’s Maritime Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy and the EU international ocean governance agenda.

In a nutshell, CINEA will continue to manage key transport infrastructure projects across Europe, with a clear focus on achieving Europe’s ambitious targets for climate and environment. The Agency’s motto “Funding a Green Future for Europe” fully reflects CINEA’s mission for the future of Europe.