Stronger Accessibility Provisions Incorporated in the Revised Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)

3 April 2019
Map of Europe with TEN-T network corridors

On 13 March 2019, the final text of the revised proposal for a regulation establishing the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) was agreed on by the decision-makers and we are happy to see that the revised text of the CEF reflects most of EDF’s proposed amendments.

CEF is the financial instrument that supports transport infrastructure projects across Europe by means of co-funding. It complements the Regulation establishing guidelines for the trans-European transport network (TEN-T), which aims to modernise and improve infrastructure for all transport modes in Europe. Therefore, both TEN-T and CEF are very important files EDF has been working on.

We were particularly successful to include amendments that accessible mobility is seen as one of the objectives of the Programme (Art. 3), accessibility of all transport modes especially for users with reduced mobility is set as an eligibility criterion (Art 9.2.b.(viii)), accessibility for persons with reduced mobility is to be taken into account as award criterion (Art 13.1(b)). Finally, accessibility for persons with reduced mobility is identified as an indicator for measuring the extent to which the general and specific objectives of the Programme have been achieved (Annex, Part I – Indicators).

We regret to see however that the revised regulation did not take on board EDF’s proposal to ensure that no project application that creates or maintains infrastructure which is not accessible to everyone, including persons with disabilities is awarded. This will significantly reduce the impact of the Regulation. As we have seen during the previous funding period public money was used to create new barriers by reinforcing further inaccessibility of transport infrastructure on several occasion, for example, a bridge was built that was not accessible for persons with disabilities. By funding such projects EU would breach its international obligations under the UN CRPD and go against one of the main freedoms enshrined in the founding treating of the Union – freedom of movement.

As the TEN-T Regulation is currently in the process of revision, we hope that it will set strong and ambitious goals for improvement of transport infrastructure accessibility and contribute to tangible positive impact for millions of transport users in Europe.

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