On 21 June 2023, the European Commission’s CEF Committee voted to allocate €506 million in new funding to continue building the Seine-Scheldt wide-gauge river network. This decision follows the submission in January 2023 of the grant application by the partners of the Seine-Scheldt European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG) under the 2nd call for projects of the CEF2.
“This massive and renewed support from the European Union is recognition of the work already done by the operators on the Seine-Scheldt network, which is progressing day by day. This 4th grant will make it possible to finance, over the period 2023-2027, the continuation of large-scale development operations on the network undertaken in Flanders and Wallonia, and the work on sector 1 (between Compiègne and Passel) of the Seine-Nord Europe Canal, in France,” say the partners of the consortium and its manager Marie-Céline Masson.
Since 2007, the Seine-Scheldt River network has benefited from major financial support from the European Union. Through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) – its programme for financing infrastructure projects in the energy, transport, and telecommunications sectors – Europe has already awarded 3 grants to the project, totalling almost €1 billion: €176 million over the period 2007-2013, €539 million over the period 2014-2020 (CEF 1) and €276 million over the period 2021-2027 (CEF 2).
Next autumn, the Seine-Scheldt EEIG partners will submit a new grant application under the 3rd call for CEF2 projects, covering the period 2024-2027. Continued European financial support is more essential than ever to ensure that all the development work required to bring the Seine-Escaut into service in Belgium and France is completed within the deadlines set by the Implementing Decision adopted by the European Commission in 2019.
Seine-Scheldt, a major network for Europe’s inland waterways
Thanks to the modernisation and regeneration of existing canals and the construction of a new 107 km-long waterway link – the Seine-Nord Europe Canal (CSNE) – between the Seine and Scheldt basins, by 2030, Seine-Scheldt will be Europe’s leading wide-gauge inland waterway transport network, with 1,100 km of navigable waterways suitable for vessels carrying up to 4,400 tonnes of goods (the equivalent of 220 lorries).
A real economic lung and a factor of cohesion between regions, Seine-Scheldt contributes directly to achieving the transport decarbonisation targets set by the European Green Deal. It will link 5 seaports, 60 inland ports, 90 marinas and 360 communities located near the waterway. It will serve an area of 40 million inhabitants, between France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.