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European Commission

Memo

Brussels, 18 July 2013

Commissioners Potočnik and Hedegaard welcome EU agreement to boost funding for the environment to €3.45 billion from 2014

The Council's Committee of Permanent Representatives has endorsed the agreement reached between the institutions on 26 June on a new LIFE Regulation. This paves the way for formal adoption of the new funding instrument for the environment by the Council and the Parliament later in the year.

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.”

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 to climate change action, over the next 7 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 organisations established in the EU 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.

Background

LIFE+, the current European Union financial instrument for the environment, has a total budget of EUR 2 143 billion for the period 2007-2013. The Commission launches one call for LIFE+ project proposals per year.

Further information

For information on the future LIFE Programme see:

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

It is also possible to contact the relevant national authorities:

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

Contacts :

Joe Hennon (+32 2 295 35 93)

Monica Westeren (+32 2 299 18 30)


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