The telecommunications sector is no doubt the big loser of the compromise on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) 2014-2020 endorsed by Europe's leaders on 8 February. "lt is clear that there can be no financial support for broadband with a pot of only 1 billion," regretted Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

The 27 amputated by 86% the initial budget of 9.2 billion proposed by the European Commission for this sector in the framework of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). "So this funding will be exclusively for digital services," added Kroes.

With their cuts for this sector, the heads of state and government confirm that the development of a digital Europe' is not their priority.

The Commission proposed to boost the development of new digital public service infrastructure and the roll-out of fast and ultra-fast broadband services through lending under the future CEF. Foreseen in the MFF, this facility will co-finance network infrastructures in the fields of transport, energy and telecommunications.

Of the 50 billion proposed for the CEF, the EU executive planned to allocate 9.2 billion to the telecommunications sector. These 9.2 billion would have made it possible to attract investments of 50 billion or even 100 billion, according to the Commission. But the 27 made deep cuts, allocating 29.30 billion to the CEF as a whole. The telecoms sector is the hardest hit (cut from 9.2 billion to 1 billion). "Such a large cut to the digital part of the Connecting Europe Facility is a missed opportunity," commented Kroes. But "1 billion allows for stable funding of some of the necessary digital service infrastructure...

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