MEPs approve deal to invest €5.4 billion in climate and environmental projects 

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  • LIFE is most ambitious EU climate and environmental programme ever 
  • Projects with highest potential for being successfully replicated to be prioritised 
  • Improving biodiversity a key objective; funding to be tracked 
  • Programme helps achieve a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy 

The 2021-2027 programme for Environment and Climate Action (LIFE) will become the EU’s most ambitious climate and environmental programme.

On Thursday the European Parliament officially approved the deal with member states on LIFE, the only programme at EU-level solely dedicated to the environment and climate. It will enter into force retroactively from 1 January 2021.


The EU programme will contribute to making the necessary shift towards a clean, circular, energy-efficient, low-carbon and climate-resilient economy, to protect and improve the quality of the environment, and to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.


The total budget allocated for LIFE in the compromise on the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework is EUR 5.4 billion (current prices), of which EUR 3.5 billion will go to environmental activities and EUR 1.9 billion to climate action.


When making decisions on what to fund, the Commission should prioritise projects that among other issues, have a clear cross border European interest, the highest potential for replicability and for being taken up by the public or private sector, or for mobilising the largest investments. LIFE will also promote the use of green public procurement.


Boosting climate and biodiversity action


The programme will contribute to making climate actions a key aspect of all EU policies and to achieving the overall target of spending at least 30 % of the EU’s budget on climate objectives. LIFE will also support many biodiversity projects and contribute to spending 7.5% of the annual EU budget on biodiversity objectives from 2024 and 10% in 2026 and 2027.


The Commission will regularly monitor and report on mainstreaming of climate and biodiversity objectives, including tracking expenditure.


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The rapporteur Nils Torvalds (Renew Europe, FI) said: “When we look at what has been achieved by LIFE so far, it is clear that a bigger budget can help us achieve even more in the future. Although I would have preferred an even larger budget for LIFE, I am very pleased that we have reached a new level of commitment towards nature and climate, so the programme can continue to test ideas and showcase future green solutions. LIFE can now also mobilise additional funding for actions on nature, climate and energy much better.”

You can watch a video of the plenary debate here.


Background


The LIFE programme was launched in 1992 and is the only EU programme dedicated specifically to environmental and climate action. It therefore plays a crucial role in supporting the implementation of EU legislation and policies in those areas by co-financing projects with European added value.