The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is a specific instrument for transport, energy and telecommunication infrastructure. It has a budget of €29.9 billion for the period 2014-2020: €23.1 billion (including €10 billion from the Cohesion Fund) for transport, €5.1 billion for energy and €1 billion for telecommunication.

In June 2018, the European Commission proposed to increase the budget for CEF by more than €42 billion after 2020. The dedicated budget for transport infrastructure is proposed to amount to approximately €30.6 billion.

Why FIEC is dealing with this issue/topic and their objective(s)
FIEC strongly supports this global budget line and advocates, amongst others, for a larger budget for transport – in line with the real needs – as well as for maintaining high co-financing rates. This represents an essential investment for the EU’s growth and competitiveness.

Moreover, since October 2017, FIEC is part of the campaign “More EU budget for transport – the best investment plan for Europe”, launched by associations from the transport sector, in order to be more vocal on this issue.

Actions and key dates

October 2017 – FIEC joins the “CEF transport coalition”
June 2018 – European Commission’s proposal
21/09/2018 - FIEC position paper
03/12/2018 – Council (partial) general approach
12/12/2018 – European Parliament resolution (Plenary)
07/12/2018 – Political agreement (partial) in trilogue (exact amounts to be approved later on)

In May 2017, as part of the 1st mobility package, the European Commission proposed to revise the “Eurovignette” Directive, which allows Member States to levy infrastructure and “external” charges (e.g. pollution, noise, congestion) on their road network and encourage them to earmark these funds to “sustainable transport”.

Why FIEC is dealing with this issue/topic and their objective(s)
FIEC has always been very much mobilised on this issue which is crucial for the financing of transport infrastructure.

In the spirit of the legislative proposal, FIEC calls for the reinforcement of the “user pays” and “polluter pays” principles.

Most importantly, FIEC insists that Member States earmark the revenues generated for sustainable transport infrastructure, which for now, remains only an option.

Actions and key dates

May 2017 – European Commission’s proposal
27/11/2017 – FIEC position paper
02/05/2018FIEC voting recommendations to European Parliament (TRAN)
25/10/2018European Parliament resolution (Plenary)

In December 2017, the European Commission published a legislative package aimed at, on the one hand, strengthening controls by national authorities of the safety and compliance of harmonised / regulated products (incl. construction products) and, on the other hand, facilitating market access for non-harmonised / non-regulated products (incl. « certain construction products ») based on the mutual recognition principle.

Why FIEC is dealing with this issue/topic and their objective(s)
FIEC advocated that the solutions proposed by these 2 legislative proposals to address the structural weaknesses of the Single Market for goods are not adapted to the specific needs of the construction products market, knowing that construction products are more specifically covered by the Construction Products Regulation (EU/305/2011).

FIEC therefore requested to exclude construction products from the scope of the entire package.

While this request has not been taken into account by the co-legislators, it seems that, according to preliminary assessment, the impact on construction business will be limited.

Actions and key dates

December 2017 – European Commission’s proposal
17/05/2018FIEC position paper
November 2018 – Political agreement on Regulation “Mutual Recognition of Goods” in trilogue
February 2019 – Political agreement on Regulation “Compliance and Enforcement” in trilogue

The financing of infrastructure is promoted and/or impacted by a series of initiatives, including the “Juncker Investment Plan”, the Connecting Europe Facility (see specific MEMO), the Cohesion policy, legal constraints imposed to banks and insurance companies when they invest in infrastructure assets (i.e. Basel and Solvency rules), etc.

Back in 2014, President Juncker launched an ambitious investment plan aimed at boosting the EU’s growth and jobs in the aftermath of the economic and financial crisis. In June 2018, the European Commission proposed to establish the InvestEU programme, as the continuity of the Juncker Plan. It aims to become the single instrument for EU policies for the period 2021-2027, to leverage and mobilise hundreds of billions EUR from the private sector by a solid EU guarantee system of investments. Amongst its priorities, the programme will support sustainable infrastructure.

Why FIEC is dealing with this issue/topic and their objective(s)
Historically, FIEC has been very much mobilised on all issues touching upon the financing of transport infrastructure. This is very important for the EU’s growth and competitiveness, as well as for construction companies in terms of business opportunities.

FIEC always advocates for strong budgets and strategies at the EU level, benefitting all EU countries and all modes of transport.

Actions and key dates

May 2018 – European Commission proposals on the various funds under the Cohesion policy
June 2018 – European Commission proposal on the Invest EU programme
March 2019 – FIEC meetings with the French Banking Federation, the French Caisse des Dépôts et Consignation and Insurance Europe on various issues related to infrastructure financing
07/02/2019FIEC voting recommendations on Cohesion policy
20/03/2019 – Political agreement on the Invest EU programme in trilogue

Since early 2018, FIEC has focused on the crucial issue of the maintenance of transport infrastructure. Indeed, in all EU countries, we can observe that post-war transport infrastructure (and typically concrete bridges) are in bad shape, but very little is done at national level to preserve these key assets for EU’s competitiveness and EU’s citizens safety.

Why FIEC is dealing with this issue/topic and their objective(s)
FIEC advocates that part of the EU financing dedicated to transport infrastructure should also cover the needs for maintenance, renovation and upgrade of these infrastructure (i.e. in the framework of the Connecting Europe Facility, the InvestEU programme, etc.). However, this is not only a question of financing. The maintenance issue is very much under the competence and responsibility of Member States. In these circumstances, FIEC’s priority is to raise awareness at the highest possible political level on this issue and help collect information on the state of the road network (i.e. bridges) in order to assess the real needs and eventually the actions which would be required.

Actions and key dates

23/04/2018 – FIEC meeting on infrastructure maintenance
12/06/2018 – Meeting with DG MOVE
25/09/2018 – Event on infrastructure maintenance within the European Parliament’s intergroup on long-term investment, co-organised by FIEC

26/03/2019 – FIEC meeting on infrastructure maintenance
29/03/2019 – Meetings with DG MOVE and DG GROW

In a context where the European public procurement market is very open to the rest of the world, whereas in contrast, European enterprises face various barriers in many third countries, in January 2016, the European Commission presented a proposal to discourage discrimination against EU companies by providing price penalties for tenders originating in countries with restrictive or discriminatory measures or practices against EU operators.

Why FIEC is dealing with this issue/topic and their objective(s)
However, this proposal gives the European Commission exclusive and discretionary powers to start investigations and take action in this field.

Restrictive measures concerning abnormally low tenders are also ruled out from this mechanism.

Consequently, FIEC and EIC advocated for the withdrawal of this legislative proposal.

Actions and key dates

January 2016 – European Commission’s (amended) proposal
February 2016 – FIEC / EIC joint position paper
June 2018FIEC / EIC / EuDA joint voting recommendations to the European Parliament (INTA)

The current legislative framework setting the rules for public procurement are the 3 directives adopted in 2014 (2014/23/EU on concessions, 2014/24/EU on “classical” procurement and 2014/25/EU on “utilities” procurement). These rules aim at ensuring that public procurement procedures are transparent and fair.

As the 2014 directives include provisions on the development of electronic procurement, the European Commission has set up an Experts group on Electronic Procurement (EXEP), in order to help the implementation of these rules at national level.

In October 2017, the European Commission also published a package of mostly soft law measures aimed at helping with the implementation of the directives. It namely promoted the “strategic use” of public procurement, as well as the professionalisation of public procurers.

Why FIEC is dealing with this issue/topic and their objective(s)
Historically, FIEC has always been very much mobilised on this issue which is crucial for construction companies in terms of business opportunities.

Since its creation, FIEC actively participates in the EXEP. As regards to the 2017 package, FIEC broadly welcomed these measures, especially the professionalisation of public buyers, but was more sceptical about the strong promotion of “strategic procurement” (i.e including innovative, green and social/societal criteria). These latter criterias are not clearly defined and sometimes diverge significantly from the traditional principle of purchasing for the best value for money.

Actions and key dates

2014 – Adoption of the public procurement Directives
2014 – Setup of the European Commission Experts group on Electronic Procurement(EXEP)
October 2017 – European Commission‘s package on public procurement
04/05/2018FIEC position paper on the 2017 package
October 2018 – EXEP meeting, Lisboa
03/10/2019 – European Parliament resolution on 2017 package (Plenary)

The Road Infrastruture Safety Management Directive (2008/96/EC) sets a frame for the structured and regular assessment by Member States of the safety of the transport infrastructure belonging to the trans-European transport network (TEN-T).

In May 2018, the European Commission proposed to revise the Directive in order to strengthen it and enlarge its scope.

The reform will extend the scope of the current rules to motorways and other primary roads beyond the TEN-T. The Directive will also cover roads outside urban areas that are built using EU funding.

Why FIEC is dealing with this issue/topic and their objective(s)
FIEC advocated for the integration of bridges and tunnels into the scope of the revised Directive, as well as the concept of structural performance of the road infrastructure. Following the political agreement between Council and European Parliament, FIEC welcomed the extension of the scope of Directive, which will allow that infrastructure safety will be assessed more systematically and more proactively for more roads in the EU, helping to target investment. Transparency and follow-up will be improved, and the same advanced safety procedures will apply on roads linking major cities and regions as on the EU’s strategic road network (TEN-T).

However, FIEC regretted that bridges and tunnels are only refered to in a recital (4a). Moreover, the annexes of the text, which mention the elements subject to evaluation and safety inspection will not be mandatory, but indicative only.

Actions and key dates

May 2018 – European Commission‘s proposal
13/11/2018 - FIEC position paper (voting recommendations)
03/12/2018 – Council general approach
10/01/2019 – European Parliament report (TRAN)
27/02/2019 – Political agreement in trilogue

In May 2017, as part of the 1st mobility package, the European Commission proposed to revise the rules on certain social aspects in road transport (i.e. driving times and rests), linked to the use of (digital) tachographs on board.

In principle, such burdensome and costly rules do not apply to construction companies’ drivers and light trucks.

However, in some countries, the legislation is applied more extensively and includes “construction drivers”, as though they belong to the transport industry.

Why FIEC is dealing with this issue/topic and their objective(s)
FIEC, in cooperation with EBC (European Builders Confederation), advocated for the extension of the existing exemptions, because construction companies are small mobile factories covering a limited perimeter, rather than road transport companies. In specific cases, they also transport perishable goods (i.e. ready-mixed concrete), which are clearly not to be treated as “normal” merchandise.

The Council included a derogation for vehicles transporting ready-mixed concrete in its position and the European Parliament extended the existing exemption, as well as included a new possible derogation for heavier construction vehicles.

Question is what will come out of the trilogue negotiations.

Actions and key dates

May 2017 – European Commission’s proposal
Autumn 2017 to Spring 2019Numerous FIEC lobbying actions towards theEuropean Parliament (meetings, position papers, voting recommendations, press releases), in cooperation with EBC (European Builders Confederation)
03/12/2018 – Council general approach
04/04/2019 – European Parliament resolution (Plenary)