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IP/11/647

Brussels, 26 May 2011

Environment: major support for continued specific EU funding tool for the environment and climate action

Close to 85.8% of respondents to a recent public consultation on the future of LIFE+, the European Commission's environmental funding tool, consider that there is a need for a specific EU financial instrument for environment and climate action. A majority of 54.6% also think that the budget for the instrument should be increased. In the run-up to the next multiannual financial framework 2014-2020, the results of this consultation will feed into an evaluation of the need for a specific environmental and climate action programme in the EU's budget. The news was released as a conference on LIFE success stories opens in Brussels.

As part of ongoing reflections on a financial successor for LIFE+, stakeholders have been widely consulted over the past months. Respondents have expressed their views on the need for a specific financial instrument for the environment and climate action, on ways to boost its added value, and on the architecture of such an instrument in the next programming period.

The conclusions show that:

  • An overwhelming majority of stakeholders consider that there is a need for a specific EU financial instrument for the environment and climate action.

  • Limited resources were identified as one of the key factors limiting the effectiveness of LIFE+. 54.6% of respondents called for an increase in the budget.

  • An EU-level programme for the environment is needed in particular to help Member States to effectively implement EU environmental policy.

  • 82.1% of respondents considered that this should be the most important focus of a future LIFE. The programme should also be used to address European and global challenges, contribute to sharing best practices, promote transfers of knowledge and capacity-building, and raise awareness.

  • Stakeholders agreed that the instrument should allow for some activities to be carried out outside the EU provided that they serve specific EU policy objectives.

  • "Integrated Projects", a new feature aimed at improving synergies and facilitating investments in the environmental sector, was perceived as a very useful tool.

  • The development and implementation of environmental policies is highly affected by Member States' failures to implement environmental legislation, the lack of integration of environment into other policy areas, and difficulties in using EU funding instruments to support environmental investments.

These conclusions draw together the results of several consultations carried out by the European Commission. A broad stakeholder consultation on the future of LIFE+ was conducted from November 2010 to February 2011. The consultation received 912 contributions, from citizens, national authorities, social partners, businesses and NGOs, across the EU and from some non-EU countries.

This on-line consultation was complemented with a specific survey of 147 LIFE project managers. An expert workshop was held on 28 January 2011, attended by approximately 100 stakeholders including LIFE+ National Contact Points, NGOs, and economic and social partners. In parallel, the Committee of the Regions conducted a consultation on the territorial impacts of the successor to LIFE+ and received 40 contributions.

The results of these consultations will be factored in a combined impact assessment and ex-ante evaluation of a successor for LIFE+. The Commission intends to prepare a proposal for a future financial instrument for the environment and climate action by the end of 2011.

Conference LIFE for our environment: success stories and future challenges

The conclusions of these consultations and the future of LIFE+ will be discussed in a Conference organised by the European Commission on LIFE success stories and future challenges on 25-26 May in Brussels.

The Conference will take stock of the contribution of LIFE to environmental protection, its main achievements, and propose ideas on the design and development of the future programme, particularly in the context of the next financial perspective 2014-2020. The conference also provides an opportunity for stakeholders to exchange views and share their experience in the context of the implementation of the LIFE programme.

Background:

Launched in 1992, the LIFE Programme is the only EU financial instrument solely dedicated to the environment and thus with resources earmarked for environmental protection. The programme has an annual budget of €380 million and mostly follows a bottom-up approach for action grants (78% of the LIFE+ budget).

For more information on LIFE+:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/index.htm

For more information on the future of LIFE+:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/about/beyond2013.htm

For more information on the Conference LIFE for our environment: success stories and future challenges:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/news/events/lifeconf_env/index.html


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