The European Commission welcomes the provisional agreement reached by the European Parliament and Council on the LIFE programme for the Environment and Climate Action, as part of the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027.
The funding will focus on protecting the environment and mitigating climate change, supporting a clean energy transition with increased energy efficiency and a higher share of renewables in the energy mix. This will be one of the tools enabling the EU to meet its climate goals and seek to become climate-neutral by 2050.
In order to provide a better quality of life for Europeans and invest in a more sustainable future, the Juncker Commission is making an unprecedented effort to protect the environment and climate, notably by increasing the LIFE programme funding, and integrating climate action into all major EU spending programmes. This will help Europe to deliver on its commitments under the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, addressing some of the most important challenges of this century. The agreement reached yesterday is subject to the formal approval by the European Parliament and Council.
Congratulating the agreement Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: “Every day we see hundreds of thousands of young Europeans marching for the future of our planet and demanding that we do more. With more funding, we can better address these concerns, speed up the transition to a circular economy and reduce our footprint on nature and biodiversity.”
Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete added: “A stronger LIFE programme will play an important role in expanding investments in climate action and sustainable energy across Europe. By continuing to support climate change mitigation and adaptation, LIFE will also continue to help the EU deliver on its climate goals and commitments under the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
The LIFE programme is among the EU funding programmes for which the Commission has proposed the largest proportional increase for the period 2021-2027. Raising the level of ambition for climate financing, the Commission has also proposed that at least 25% of EU expenditure across all EU programmes should contribute to climate objectives.
In addition to its own direct achievements, the LIFE programme will act as a catalyst for other funds.
The main elements of the new LIFE programme (2021-2027) include:
- Continued support for the transition to a circular economy and enhanced climate change mitigation: this includes funding for delivering on milestone policy objectives in line with EU’s strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy by 2050. Actions will support the full transition to a circular economy, protecting and improving the quality of the EU’s air and water, implementing EU’s 2030 energy and climate policy framework and meeting the Union’s commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change;
- An increased focus on supporting the clean energy transition: a new specific sub-programme will stimulate investment and support activities focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy, especially towards sectors and European regions lagging behind in the transition towards clean energy;
- An increased focus on nature and biodiversity: a traditional strand of the LIFE programme, the new, dedicated ‘Strategic Nature Projects’ for all Member States will help mainstream nature and biodiversity policy objectives into other policies and financing programmes, such as agriculture and rural development, ensuring a more coherent approach across sectors;
- A simple and flexible approach, with focus on developing and implementing innovative ways to respond to environment and climate challenges.
Next Steps of the European Commission
The provisional agreement is now subject to formal approval by the European Parliament and the Council. The budgetary aspects and related horizontal provisions of the future LIFE programme are subject to the overall agreement on the EU’s next long-term budget, proposed by the Commission in May 2018.
Launched in 1992, the LIFE programme for the Environment and Climate Action is one of the spearheads of EU environmental and climate funding. It has financed over 4,600 projects across the EU and in third countries, mobilising nearly €10 billion and contributing over €4.3 billion to environment protection and climate action. The present LIFE programme started in 2014 and runs until 2020, with a budget of €3.4 billion.
LIFE has played a significant role in the implementation of major EU environmental legislation including the Habitats and Birds Directives. The proposal for the new programme for 2021-2027 builds upon the results of the mid-term evaluation of the present programme as well as an impact assessment.