What place for the maintenance of infrastructure in the next EU budget?

25 September 2018 | Brussels

Dominique Riquet, Member of the European Parliament, hosted the event ‘What place for the maintenance of infrastructure in the next EU MFF’ to discuss how the upcoming EU budget could contribute to make road transport infrastructures more efficient, cleaner and modern.

ERF, FIEC and Caisse des Dépôts Group co-organised the conference that gathered representatives from the road sector, financing institutions, infrastructure managers, national governments and European Commission. Panelists exchanged good practices and discussed how to invest funds more effectively and coherently, especially in a period with higher traffic volumes and huge backlog in maintenance. that is accelerating a prompt ageing of our infrastructures.

A considerable part of the road network in Europe was built decades ago, thus reaching now a critical age and creating real hazards for users. In addition, scarcity in public funding has originated an unprecedented degradation of the condition of the network mainly in local or regional roads and bridges. The increase of financial resources, especially in the next Connecting Europe Facility, Cohesion and Regional Development funds, represents the immediate and urgent solution for preservation and upgrading operations.

Participants agreed on the need of a comprehensive approach to preserve the transport infrastructure. This incorporates principles of asset management, planning, prioritisation and sound strategies of maintenance. New ways of financing and governance could also facilitate deployment of European policies. These ways should be based on circular economy, respect the environment, rely on research and innovation, digitalisation, take advantage of industry competitiveness while simultaneously improving mobility for people and transport of goods.

In the view of current inter-institutional negotiations for the future budget, the road sector calls on the European Parliament, Council and Commission to consider infrastructure spending as a key investment to achieve main political priorities for a better Europe.