A delegation from FIEC (the European Construction Industry Federation) has met with Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport, to address concerns over a perceived lack of investment in Europe’s transport infrastructure.
FIEC said that the issue of finance for maintaining existing infrastructure remained a “major problem” for most EU Member States, and that this required greater political emphasis.
However, FIEC reaffirmed its approval of the fact that infrastructure maintenance projects were now eligible for funding under the new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).
FIEC vice president Jean-Louis Marchand, who led the delegation, said the construction sector was “very supportive” of key issues being prioritised by the Commissioner – including plans for harmonisation of electronic road tolling systems on a distance-based approach.
Marchand said FIEC would support a European road transport policy framework planned for next year. This would re-invest revenues gained from road tolls for sustainable transport infrastructure.
This proposed transport legislation is linked to the EU’s wider Investment Plan – which aims to unlock at least €315 billion in public and private investment in Europe between 2015 and 2017. Funds from the plan would be used to support economies across Europe.
Marchand said FIEC wanted to help European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s Investment Plan to be a success, as “this is a very good opportunity for EU competitiveness”.
Marchand added, “We welcome the fact that this investment plan focuses on the right priorities for EU growth and jobs. In particular, the EU needs investment in the maintenance of existing infrastructure.”
Ulrich Paetzold, FIEC’s director general, discussed potential contract options for attracting private investment with the Commissioner for Transport. Paetzold said that any policy on this issue should be developed with contract conditions and project management that were fair and balanced to ensure the success of projects for investors, clients and contractors.