The Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) was established in 2014, as the successor of the TEN-T Executive Agency, for the development of the Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T). INEA supports the Commission, the project promoters and the Member States by providing high quality programme management to infrastructure projects. INEA manages the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which is the EU programme dedicated to co-financing infrastructure projects in the fields of Transport, Energy and Telecommunications.
With a budget of €22.4 bln INEA currently manages a portfolio of 756 Actions under CEF Transport, involving hundreds of beneficiaries from all Member States. The Actions aim to facilitate the development of transport infrastructure, by offering financial support for studies, works or both. They cover all modes of transport (aviation, rail, road, maritime and inland waterways) and they are located along an agreed and defined transport network that covers the entire EU.
For each of the Actions INEA and the concerned beneficiaries sign a Grant Agreement, which describes in detail all the elements of the Action. While the Commission (defines the policy, strategy, objectives and priorities, INEA is responsible for managing the projects throughout the entire grant management cycle – from publishing the calls for proposals to the ex-post audits. In this process, INEA makes sure that the EU budget is well spent and supports the Commission and the beneficiaries so that the projects bring added-value to citizens and society.
A key objective of the Agency is to guarantee that the projects supported by the programme deliver the expected results. To this end, the people of INEA systematically support the beneficiaries by guiding them on the applicable rules and helping them to take the right decisions concerning the management of their Actions. Project promoters and stakeholders receive specialised knowledge and expertise on EU rules.
The support to the selected beneficiaries starts from the Grant Agreement preparation stage, where the project managers of INEA explain all the relevant issues and agree with the beneficiaries the exact terms and conditions, taking into account possible remarks from the evaluation of the proposal or any other relevant development.
The interaction with the beneficiaries continues throughout the Action life cycle. The CEF Transport programme supports large infrastructure projects, which are usually long-term and comprise a series of procedures governed at national level, while respecting the applicable EU rules. These procedures (public procurement, land acquisition, authorisations and permits, including environmental ones) are lengthy and may create delays, which, together with cost overruns, may result in serious deviations from the original planning.
A main aspect is the establishment of a trust-based relationship with the beneficiary, allowing a continuous and close monitoring of the Action. Moreover, INEA systematically collects information on the progress of the Actions and monitors their advancement. Apart from the systematic, direct contact with the beneficiaries, a basic tool in this process is the yearly report that all Actions have to submit, where they describe in detail their financial and technical progress. In addition to that, INEA organises on-site technical visits in cooperation with the beneficiaries as well as portfolio review meetings with the Member States.
Furthermore, INEA provides valuable support and feedback from the implementation of the projects to the Commission. This reinforces the policy-making capacity of the Commission and increases the relevance of its policies through informed decisions.
Equally important is to communicate the Agency’s activities to the public, in order to ensure transparency and to raise visibility of the projects’ results. Every Action managed by INEA has a dedicated fiche, easily accessible to any interested party at INEA’s website. The reader can also consult INEA’s publications and news/events.
By closely monitoring technical and financial progress and assisting, where necessary, the projects in overcoming difficulties, INEA is a catalyst in project implementation at EU level. This is an added-value service for all stakeholders. The beneficiaries receive assistance in practical terms, helping them to complete their projects or to take the right decisions about them, when they are not progressing according to the initial plan. The Commission and the Member States obtain valuable information, which they can use for their policy-making and future planning. INEA will continue this approach with the aim to maximise the efficiency of the EU funds entrusted to its management.