MFF and CEF Sustainable financing


Facts & context

The EU budget is crucial to translating EU Members States’ political priorities into concrete programmes and activities. The European Union usually forecasts its budget for periods of five years under the so-called ‘Multiannual Financial Framework’ (MFF). The Covid-19 crisis made negotiations related to the MFF for 2021-2027 more cumbersome and complex, but they also triggered the EU to design an additional Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) to alleviate the impact of Covid-19 on national economies.

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is part of the MFF and the main funding instrument for rail infrastructure projects in Europe. It provides the financial support for the completion of the TEN-T Network. An agreement on the CEF for 2021-2027 (CEF 2.0) was finally reached in March 2021.

EIM in action

  • EIM advocates increased EU funding for rail infrastructure projects for existing and new rail infrastructure (including renewals [and maintenance]) in order to speed up finalising the TEN-T Network.
  • EIM maintains constructive dialogue with the EU regarding the transport budget in general and the rail infrastructure budget in particular.
  • EIM highlights the importance of financial support for digital rail infrastructure, in particular ERTMS but also 5G and innovation.


  • EIM has actively supported the call for a higher transport budget through its participation in the #morebudgetforEUtransport campaign.
  • EIM has intensively assisted its members in dialogue with their respective ministries regarding potentially eligible projects under the RFF.
  • EIM has followed the discussions regarding CEF in the EU Parliament and has submitted comments and amendments to different reports and initiatives.

Outlook 2021

  • The trialogues on CEF 2.0 between the Council, the EU Parliament and the European Commission were informally finished in March 2021.
  • The negotiations cover MFF but also other programmes such as InvestEU and Horizon Europe (which is relevant for the successor of Shift2Rail). EIM will closely follow the negotiations and advocate the interests of its members. It will also allow its Members to exchange information on the national initiatives under the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

Council Regulation (EU) 2020/2093 on the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027


Regulation (EU) 1316/2013 Connecting Europe Facility (It’s successor, CEF 2.0 is currently pending finalisation of the draft legal act.)


Sustainable financing


Climate change has become a top priority for the EU and its economies and societies. The EU Green Deal of the current EU Commission is designed to make the EU a climate-neutral market by 2050. This requires a reform of the EU financial framework to incentivise green investment, while phasing out other forms of investment. In the future, sustainable financing will help make the EU more resilient to climate change, reduce the impact on the environment and protect healthy ecosystems while making the future 0-emission EU market fully competitive on a global scale.

The EU approach to sustainable finance consists of reforming or developing financial instruments.  Examples of this are the EU Green Taxonomy, a classification system of economic activities to guide investors to make greener choices, or the future European standard for Green Bonds. In line with its ambition to become the first EU climate bank, the lending arm of the EU, the European Investment Bank (EIB), will promote these instruments.

Sustainable financing can be a huge enabler for investments in rail infrastructure. Therefore, EIM and its members closely follow the EU Green Deal and its related initiatives. 

EIM in action

  • EIM is closely involved in the EC activities related to the future “EU Green Taxonomy”;
  • EIM has set up a new working group on the “EU Green Deal” to leverage and share expertise related to the EU activities in this area;
  • EIM advocates the classification of rail infrastructure as an eligible asset to invest in under the EU Green Taxonomy, while pursuing a neutral approach to the goods transported on it.


  • EIM has been actively participating in PRIME’s financing subgroup meetings concerning sustainable financing and EU Taxonomy.
  • EIM has published a position paper in December 2020 with other railway stakeholders on the EU Green Taxonomy to highlight the specific position of rail.

Outlook 2021

  • EIM will continue to closely monitor the topic;
  • An updated version of the Green Taxonomy was published in April 2021.
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Strategic Vision