Sorø and Copenhagen, 10th of July 2015
The EU Commission has today decided to support the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link with 589 million EUR so far for the period 2016 to 2019. The funding comes from the Connecting Europe Facility programme and the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link is among the top five of the 276 project to have gained funding.
Competition has been fierce: 735 projects applied, seeking in excess of €36 billion in support - more than three times the amount available under the Connecting Europe Facilities fund.
Today the CEF Commission has decided to allocate 589 million Euro to the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link, an amount equivalent of the maximum financial support of 40% of the construction cost for the tunnel related to railway during the period 2016-2019.
"The financial support from the EU is a very strong signal of the importance of the new infrastructure between Hamburg and Copenhagen and a clear prioritization of rail as the most eco-friendly mode of transport. This is not just a local or regional connection but part of the larger European growth agenda," says STRING Chair Henrik Appel.
"Being more closely connected to the so-called Scandinavian Mediterranean Corridor gives us access to a market of more than 130 million people. The link is vital for growth throughout Scandinavia, which will be brought closer to the central European markets."
The strong support from the EU is the first important milestone towards the final go-ahead for the Fehmarnbelt project in the autumn. The political parties behind the project in the Danish Parliament explained earlier that EU financial support, better prices from the contractors and a sufficient degree of certainty of German project approval were the pre-conditions for allowing the client, the state-owned Femern A/S, to sign the contracts and start construction of this huge project.
Meeting agreed time schedules and progress is a requirement for projects, which the EU Commission highly emphasizes. Therefore, the current CEF funding period has a midway evaluation, which could mean a removal of the funding for projects who do not show the agreed amount of progress - these funds will subsequently be dispersed to the remaining projects. This risk - and opportunity - also applies for the Fehmarnbelt project; if the construction is delayed further, part of the financing can be removed. If the project begins as planned in 2016 after the German authorities' approval, on the other hand, the chances of additional funding will be higher.
As of now, the outlook for the Fehmarnbelt project is a delay until 2024 and thereby the completion of the construction falls into the next period of CEF funding. The Danish Government has expected a total funding of approximately 13 billion DKK, approximately 1.75 billion Euro, for the full project period.
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