On 30 January, the EU Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) approved a mandate, aiming to enable the presidency to start negotiations with the European Parliament on a proposal to ensure new maritime connections between Ireland and the other EU countries on the North Sea-Mediterranean core network corridor of the Trans-European transport network (TEN-T) in case the UK leaves the EU under a ‘no deal’ scenario.
The reformulation of the corridor seeks to ensure continuity for ongoing and future infrastructure investments and provide legal clarity and certainty for infrastructure planning.
The proposal adapts the 2013 Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) regulation, which provides funding for key projects in the transport, telecommunications and energy sectors. After 2020, the CEF regulation will be replaced by CEF 2.0, on which negotiations have just begun between the Council and the European Parliament.
The Council mandate amends the Commission proposal in particular regarding the selection of ports to ensure the EU27 link to Ireland in the North Sea-Mediterranean core network corridor. The mandate also specifically mentions investments for security and border checks purposes among investments that would be eligible for support in the remaining programming cycle of the CEF.
The draft amending regulation will enter into force 20 days after publication. It will become applicable the day after the 2013 CEF regulation ceases to apply to the UK.
Negotiations with the European Parliament on the final text are set to start this evening.