19 the future of ten t in europe and beyond front so

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|19The Future of TEN-T in Europe and Beyondfront so as to speed up the bank's due diligence, and minimise the administrative burden for applicants in closing the financial package. By “optimal”, it is meant the level which is just sufficient to make the project attractive enough for banks and institutional investors (i.e. to properly mitigate the risk and increase the financial viability), but not more, in order to maximise the number of projects that can be supported. Along with it, the Commission presented in June 2018 its proposal for a CEF II Regulation, which is currently under negotiation with both the Council and the European Parliament. The CEF II Regulation foresees three possibilities: to blend grants with InvestEU financing, to scale up the blending facilities, and to continue blending calls. Moreover, there is a positive evolution of the regulatory context of EU financing. For example, in May 2018, the European Commission came forward with a proposal for a new Cohesion Policy under the next MFF 2021-2027. With regard to ex-ante conditions, it proposes to replace them with so-called “enabling condi-tions”. The key differences are fewer conditions (from 35 to 20), clearer conditions, and a tighter link to policy. Such conditions are strongly appreciated as long as they will not be a step backwards to less stable plan-ning. Indeed, stable planning is extremely important to lower the political and regulatory risks for private investors. Certainly positive in this regard is the fact that the conditions are proposed to be followed up throughout the implementation of the project and not only at the beginning.FROM EFSI TO INVESTEUIn December 2017, the Council and the European Parliament adopted Regulation (EU) 2017/2396 extending the life of the EFSI (European Fund for Strategic Investments, initially the “Juncker Plan”) programme until end-2020, while introducing provisions to improve its additionality and transparency. At the same time, the Europe-an Commission published a call for the provision of technical assistance to strengthen the EFSI Advisory Hub. In June 2018, the European Commission also presented its draft InvestEU Regulation with InvestEU to repla-ce EFSI over the next financial programming period 2021-2027. InvestEU represents a positive development of EFSI: it will be policy-, rather than demand-driven, it will integrate under one roof all EU financial instru-ments and advisory services, and dedicate specific emphasis to sustainable infrastructure. More importantly, it will aim to open up the guarantee mechanism to national promotional and commercial banks on top of the EIB, which was one of the concerns expressed by many stakeholders.While EFSI has been demonstrating positive results overall, it has shown rather low support of transport infrastructure projects. This is partly explained by the fact that many transport activities show low levels of rentability because it is difficult to apply the “user pays” (and the “polluter pays”) principle. The transport
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