The Council's Committee of Permanent Representatives has endorsed an agreement reached between the institutions last month on a new LIFE funding programme for the environment and climate action. This paves the way for formal adoption of the new LIFE Regulation by the Council and the European Parliament later in the year.
Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: “I am happy to see that the new LIFE programme will triple the amount spent on climate action. From 2014 to 2020, the new LIFE foresees over 860 million Euros dedicated to climate action. This means that an ever rising share of LIFE projects is going to contribute to tackle climate change. This will help Europe in the transition towards a competitive, low-carbon economy.''
The new LIFE programme will provide EUR 3,456 million, including EUR 2,592 million for environment and EUR 864 million specifically for climate action, over the next seven years.
While some of the simplification measures that were originally proposed are not included in the agreed text, the Commission is confident that the new Regulation will clearly improve the quality of the projects supported by LIFE. The higher rate of EU co-financing will be especially welcomed by organisations that struggled in the past to find the necessary funds to cover their own part of project budgets.
The biggest part of the new LIFE instrument will provide funding, mainly through grants for projects, to EU organisations pursuing environment and climate action objectives in the Member States.
One innovation is that funding can now also be channelled through financial institutions to provide loans or guarantees for banks lending directly to projects. Another innovation is the possibility to provide capacity building to national and regional contact points to improve Member States performance in the Programme. A small part of the instrument will provide operational grants to NGOs active in the fields of environment and climate change.