CEF 2 Transport call 2023 opens in September for applications

The EU CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) 2 Transport programme will soon be open for applications once again! The CEF 2 Transport grant programme is for projects that improve Europe’s transport infrastructure, including the construction of ‘missing links’ and the removal of ‘bottlenecks’. The CEF grant is especially a grant opportunity for (cross-border) rail projects and the (further) development of sea and inland ports and inland waterways. On 26 September, CEF 2 Transport call 2023 willis open for applications.

What is the CEF 2 Transport programme?

One of the goals of the European Commission (EC) is to further improve the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), and to make it more sustainable. The CEF 2 Transport work programme published in August 2021 – with priorities for the period 2021 to 2023 – provides insight into how the CEF 2 Transport programme supports projects with grants.

What projects are eligible for CEF 2 Transport?

Based on this work programme, you can apply for funding for the following topics / projects:

  • Infrastructure projects located on the TEN-T (Core Network & Comprehensive Network) on rail, sea and inland ports, inland waterways, rail-road terminals and multimodal logistics platforms;
  • Smart applications for transport & transport interoperability;
  • Alternative fuel infrastructure (see below for details);
  • Motorways of the Sea;
  • Multimodal passenger hubs;
  • Reducing noise pollution from railways;
  • Safe and secure parking infrastructure;
  • Improving transport infrastructure resilience (considering climate change and natural disasters);
  • Adapting the transport infrastructure for Union external border checks purposes.

Special grant component within CEF 2 Transport for alternative fuel infrastructure

There is a separate component within the CEF 2 Transport programme, named Alternative Fuels and Infrastructure Facility (AFIF). AFIF supports the roll-out of projects on alternative fuels infrastructure. Funding consists of a combination of a CEF 2 Transport grant contribution and a required loan part. This loan part needs to come from a so-called Implementing Partner (such as the EIB) or a non-Implementing Partner (which could involve a commercial bank).

AFIF is a rolling call with several cut-off dates / intermediate deadlines. The last deadline within the period 2021 to 2023 is 7 November 2023. It is likely that AFIF will be continued in the coming years; decision-making on this is expected in the short-term.

What is the grant contribution of CEF Transport?

Within CEF Transport, a distinction is made between applications for studies and works (or a mix of the two). Studies involve preparation activities / projects, where the grant percentage is a maximum of 50% of the eligible costs. For implementation projects, a works application can be submitted, whereby the standard grant percentage is a maximum of 30%; for cross-border projects, this can go up to 50%. It should be noted that the grant contribution will never exceed the ‘financial gap’ of the project.

AFIF has different grant contribution rates:

  • Infrastructure for hydrogen and electricity: maximum 30%;
  • Infrastructure for LNG: maximum 10%.

Only the best projects make a chance

A CEF Transport grant contribution can be substantial, up to tens of millions of euros. On the other hand, competition is fierce; the available call budget is usually oversubscribed (3-4 times). As a result, only the best project proposals / applications – after thorough evaluation by external experts – are selected.

To be eligible for any CEF Transport grant contribution, projects need be located on the TEN-T. Projects are subsequently assessed according to the following criteria:

  1. Maturity;
  2. Quality;
  3. Impact;
  4. Priority and urgency of the action;
  5. Catalytic effect of Union assistance.

The submission of an application also requires the approval of the EU Member States involved and a works application must be accompanied by an CBA (Cost-Benefit Analysis).

Results of CEF 2 Transport call of 2022

On 21 June, the EC announced the results of the CEF 2 Transport call 2022. The budget of this call was largely over-subscribed. Within Europe, 80 projects were selected, including 8 projects in the Netherlands. Hezelburcht was involved in two successful applications, namely: 1) a studies application for a cross-border rail project of North Sea Port and 2) a works application for a rail project of the Municipality of Venlo.

CEF 2 Transport call 2023 – timeline

The call 2023 will open on 26 September. Interested parties will then have until approximately mid-January 2024 to submit an application. The outcome of this call will be announced in June 2024.

After the opening in September, both EU agency CINEA and RVO (Netherlands Enterprise Agency) will hold an (online) information session on this call; the date for this has not yet been announced.

Drafting and submitting an application

Hezelburcht has extensive experience with the CEF Transport programme; we were involved in several successful applications, including the Wunderline rail project. We are therefore in an excellent position to offer support in drafting and submitting an application. For more information about this call and our services, contact us today!

Plan a meeting with a CEF specialist
Or call directly to: 088 495 20 00


Would you like advice on CEF 2 Transport? We will be happy to talk to you. Contact us for an introduction!

Want to know more?

Contact us!


More information about the CEF programme?

Any questions? Looking for more information? Leave your details and we will contact you within two working days.