The deployment of ERTMS is one of the largest industrial projects in European history. Hence, it represents a considerable investment. It is estimated that a total of EUR 24 billion is needed for deploying ERTMS trackside on the entire TEN-T Network (Core, Extended Core and Comprehensive), while EUR 5 billion are needed for rolling stock deployment. To make sure the deployment is successful and efficient, investments are needed across the board. ERTMS and its deployment across Europe is a key policy objective for the European Commission. As a result, it is at the heart of many of the EU funding programmes, such as the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).
Across all funding programmes, the EU allocations for ERTMS during the period 2007-2013 amounted to EUR 1.2 billion (EUR 645 million from the TEN-T programme and EUR 570 million from European Structural & Investment Funds (ESIF)) During the financial perspective 2014-2020, the allocations increased to more than EUR 2.7 billion (EUR 842 million from the CEF programme and EUR 1.9 billion from the ESIF).
In the period 2014-2020, a total of 92 Grant Agreements have been signed under the CEF, including 46 for trackside, 44 on-board and 2 for Memorandum of Understanding activities (MoU, for instance, test campaigns, both in the field and in laboratories). Following terminations and modifications, 36 actions have actually been supported for trackside, representing a total length of 5 604 km of double-track lines equivalent, mostly related to first deployment (84%), with a CEF budget of EUR 518.9 million. For on-board, also 36 actions have been supported, representing a total of 2 848 vehicles (1 550 serial retrofits, 636 upgrades, 526 fitments, 136 prototypes both for retrofit and upgrade), with a CEF budget of EUR 319.7 million. 2 actions for MoU activities have been supported with a CEF budget of EUR 5.7 million.
In the on-going multi-annual programme set out by CEF 2 Regulation (2021-2027), rail transport continues to be a funding priority in order to make transport smart, sustainable, inclusive, safe and secure. As before, there are funds available under the general transport envelope (EUR 14.52 billion) and the Cohesion Fund envelope (EUR 11.29 billion). In this respect, CEF will remain the EU’s key financial tool to fund ERTMS projects. CEF is organised through calls, which set out the details in relation to the funding. The calls stay within the scope of the CEF Regulation but certain aspects may change per call. For every call, an info session is hosted by CINEA, where all necessary info is shared. During the first three annual calls (2021-2023) the majority of the CEF funds will be allocated. Under the first Call for proposals in 2021, ERTMS got CEF support of EUR 289.4 million within the General envelope and EUR 51.7 million within the Cohesion envelope. The Commission provided the overall budget of EUR 550 million for smart and interoperable mobility, which, among other topics, encompasses ERTMS: EUR 400 million under the General envelope and EUR 150 million under the Cohesion envelope. The frontloading of the budget has been chosen to give project promoters a clear perspective on the availability of funding and to encourage them to come forward only with mature projects. This addresses past stakeholder concerns about uncertainty about the future availability of CEF funds. The last call of the first batch of CEF2 calls will be opened in September 2023 and will also encompass ERTMS projects.
Thus far, the CEF 2 programme has supported 28 ERTMS projects (8 trackside and 20 on-board) through the 2021 and 2022 calls. The support amounts to a total of EUR 503 million in CEF contribution for ERTMS projects, including EUR 400 million under the General envelope and EUR 103 million under the Cohesion envelope. EUR 246 million is for trackside projects and EUR 256 million for on-board projects.
The funding levels for ERTMS under CEF are based on unit contributions per unit of ERTMS deployed. The current unit contributions were set in 2019 and revised in 2021 and are displayed in the table below.
Furthermore, ESIF will continue to play its role in financing ERTMS projects in eligible Member States and regions. In 2021-2027, the Cohesion Fund (under shared management) will be available to support investments in the field of environment and trans-European networks in the area of transport infrastructure: trackside deployment projects for ERTMS could therefore benefit from this source of funding. Over the same period, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will enable investments in a smarter, greener, more connected and more social Europe that is closer to its citizens. This is translated into five funding priorities, two of them being directly linked with ERTMS: (i) greener, low-carbon and resilient Europe; (ii) more connected Europe by enhancing mobility. In total, approximately EUR 118 million are allocated to ERTMS under ERDF and EUR 297 million under the Cohesion Fund.
Lastly, the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) Regulation establishes that Member States Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs) should contribute to the green transition and digitisation, hereby including ERTMS. The RRPs have already been set out by Member States and the funding has started. Rail development comprises about 40% (EUR 38.4 billion) of the transport-related reforms and investments of the RRPs. The RRPs of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Greece, Finland, France, Hungary, Croatia, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Latvia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden contain various measures to support the upgrade and modernisation of railway infrastructure, including the roll-out of ERTMS.
- Regulation (EU) 2021/1153 establishing the Connecting Europe Facility
- Commission Implementing Decision on the financing of the Connecting Europe Facility – Transport sector and the adoption of the work programme for 2021-2027
- Decision on unit contribution for ERTMS
- Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network
- Regulation (EU) 2021/1058 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 June 2021 on the European Regional Development Fund and on the Cohesion Fund
- Regulation (EU) 2021/1060
- CEF 2022 call info day
- Funding and tender portal
- CINEA website
- Second ERTMS Work Plan of the European Coordinator