17 December 14

Euro-Mediterranean and international stakeholders give impetus to new funding strategy for transport projects in the Mediterranean

The UfM High-Level Conference on the Financing of the Future Trans-Mediterranean Transport Network (TMN-T) last week gathered over 120 participants in an event attended by Jordanian Transport Minister Lina Shbeeb, in her capacity as Co-Chair of the UfM, as well as by the main European and international financial institutions, donors and private companies.
The Conference, co-organised by the UfM Secretariat and the UfM Co-Presidency (namely, the European Commission and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan) and hosted by the Italian government in the framework of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU on 9 and 10 December 2014 in Civitavecchia Port (Rome), was a follow-up to the Declaration adopted in November 2013 at the UfM Ministerial Conference on Transport.

The event provided an opportunity for dialogue among project promoters, donors and beneficiaries to discuss how to mobilise and coordinate all potential partners towards the effective implementation of the TMN-T Network and its priority projects within the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). Moreover, about 30 speakers participating in the conference proposed innovative instruments and alternative ways of funding with an emphasis on the role of the private sector.

The instruments available to facilitate the financial engineering of TMN-T projects through Technical Assistance, PPPs and other tools were analysed, and emphasis was placed on the need to promote coordination among the different actors. The UfM Secretariat presented the current means of collaboration with IFIs to promote regional projects related to the future TMN-T.

UfM Secretary General Fathallah Sijilmassi reminded participants that “regional integration should be the underlying objective on any endeavour in the region, not only as a driver for economic growth, but also as the best guarantee for political stability. In this regard, the establishment of a Trans-Mediterranean Transport Network is key to achieve a uniform, harmonised Mediterranean transport system based on multimodality and elimination of regulatory impediments.”

The Secretary General then announced the launch of a consultative platform to coordinate the European and international financial institutions building the construction of the financial framework of the flagship regional transport projects. This support would reinforce efforts by the Secretariat to improve the instruments for project assessment and implementation.

“Specifically in the sector of transport, a closer coordination of the project-financing framework is needed,” Sijilmassi said. “The UfM Secretariat is increasingly working as a catalyser of funding. In this regard, we are working on a permanent consultative platform gathering IFIs and all relevant stakeholders, through which a comprehensive and transparent discussion could be ensured, thus maximising benefits from existing financial instruments, including PPPs, funding mechanisms and instruments to reduce the financial risks”. (EU Neighbourhood Info)