Will France miss out on EU funds for the Turin-Lyon railway?

Will France miss out on EU funds for the Turin-Lyon railway?

The project for the Turin-Lyon railway continues to create controversies in France. The country is running the serious risk of missing out on key EU funds from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The Lyon-Turin Transalpine Committee pointed out that the French government has until 30 January to apply for the co-financing of the Final Preliminary Project studies of the French section. However, the absence of a Minister of Transport, remains a challenge, as they are the ones tasked to apply for the funds.

The situation escalated after French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne resigned on 8 January 2024, which consequently led to the departure of Minister of Transport Clément Beaune. Borne has been replaced as the new PM by Gabriel Attal, but the Transalpine Committee highlighted that Beaune’s replacement will not be known earlier than next week.

This would leave just a few days for his successor to apply for the CEF funds for the Turin-Lyon project. “If France does not apply for the co-financing of the Final Preliminary Project studies of the French section of the Lyon-Turin, it will no longer be able to count on European credits before 2029”, the Committee specified on LinkedIn.

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How does the CEF funding procedure work?

As they explained, the current CEF call for projects was launched in September 2023, with seven billion euros made available. Through these funds, projects can be co-financed up to 50 per cent of their total costs. After an application is submitted, independent expert consultants from the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) will review it.

This process, according to the La Transalpine Committee, should take five or six months from the application date. “After years of procrastination, not getting on board with this latest round of funding would mean a lasting blockage, if not a scuttling, of the French access to the Lyon-Turin route”, they concluded.

This article first appeared in our sister publication RailFreight.com

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