EU agrees €3.45bn fund for environmental projects
The European Commission has agreed on a new LIFE funding programme to finance projects involved in climate action and the environment over the next seven years.
The Commission will provide €3.45bn (£2.97bn) from 2014 to 2020, with €2.59bn dedicated to the environment and €864m specifically for climate action.
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 €860m 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".
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.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "This is an important step forwards. The new Regulation will further increase the policy relevance of a financial instrument which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary, and the new Integrated Projects will considerably increase its leverage, integrating EU spending from different instruments to boost support for environmental projects all over the EU.
"After the recent agreement on the 7th Environment Action Programme, it is especially pleasing to see this powerful funding instrument taking shape, which will help turn words into tangible actions."