The next LIFE programme - the EU's financial instrument supporting environmental and climate action projects carried out by public or private bodies in 2014-2020 – was approved by Parliament on Thursday. As agreed with EU ministers, its budget will increase to €3.1 billion at 2011 prices (from €2.2 billion currently) to tackle new tasks and challenges, mainly in the climate action and resource efficiency fields.
"LIFE is a small but extremely successful and popular EU funding instrument. For over 20 years it has been leveraging investment in environment and climate projects, including funds for Natura 2000, the EU-wide network of nature protection areas. We therefore voted to continue and strengthen this programme" said rapporteur Jutta Haug (S&D, DE).
Parliament voted by 568 votes to 20, with 21 abstentions, to approve the agreement negotiated with EU ministers.
A 3.1 billion euro budget
"This is less than Parliament requested, but still a clear increase over the current budget of €2.2 billion", said Ms Haug. "And it comes with new tasks and challenges: a separate sub-programme for climate action, the new jointly-funded 'integrated projects' and growing challenges in the field of resource efficiency”, she added.
In its negotiations with ministers, Parliament also secured an increased allocation for nature and biodiversity.
Projects to be selected on demonstration potential
In the second half of the next LIFE programme, projects will be selected for funding solely on the basis of their quality and demonstration potential - a more transparent method than the current national allocations whereby a share of funds is indicatively attributed to each member state. Instead, capacity-building measures have been introduced to help countries and regions with a low selection rate of projects to achieve higher project quality.
MEPs also negotiated and voted in favour of “integrated projects”, which will allow various EU funds to be invested jointly to tackle the key challenges of applying legislation in water, waste, air quality and nature protection fields. These projects offer an opportunity to build environment and climate policy concerns and solutions into other policies. “I now encourage countries and regions to make use of this opportunity – specific funds will be available to help with the preparation and setting up of an integrated project”, said Ms Haug.
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure) 1st reading