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The next 2014 - 2020 LIFE programme - the EU's financial instrument supporting environmental and climate action - was subject of a deal between MEPs and Council negotiators on Wednesday evening. EP rapporteur Jutta Haug (S&D, DE) and Environment committee chairman Matthias Groote (S&D, DE) welcomed the agreement.

"LIFE is a small but extremely successful and popular EU funding instrument. Since more than 20 years it leverages investments for environment and climate, including funds for Natura 2000, the EU-wide network of nature protection areas. It is only consequent that we agreed to continue and strengthen this programme" said EP rapporteur Jutta Haug on Thursday.

A budget around 3.1 billion euro

"This is less than the Parliament requested, but still a clear increase compared to the current budget of 2.2 billion euro" Jutta Haug said. "And it comes with new tasks and challenges: a separate sub-programme for climate action, the new 'integrated projects' and growing challenges in the field of resource efficiency. Parliament secured an increased allocation for nature and biodiversity during the negotiations" she added.

Project selection on demonstration potential

Environment committee chair Matthias Groote also welcomed the agreement. "Our rapporteur has achieved great results. Only quality and demonstration potential will determine project selection in the second half of the programme, which will be more transparent than national allocations" he said.

Integrated projects

"In contrast to Member states, Parliament strongly supported integrated projects, which will allow different EU funds to be jointly invested to address major implementation challenges of legislation in the fields of water, waste, air quality and nature protection, under the lead of LIFE. These projects provide a concrete opportunity for the mainstreaming of environment and climate policy into other policies" he added.

Next steps

The agreement has to be formally confirmed by EP plenary and Council. The full House will vote on the text in a future plenary session.