The European Commission has announced its LIFE programme will invest €116.1 million in environmental and climate projects.
The funding, which will support 12 large scale projects across 10 Member States – Austria, Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal and Slovenia – is anticipated to unlock a further €3.2 billion in additional investment. The projects, designed to facilitate the implementation of environmental legislation, will aim to help Member States observe EU rules governing climate change, nature preservation and air and water quality. In total they will be working with an initial budget of €215.5 million, of which €116.1 million will be provided by the LIFE programme. Project coordinators will also be able to mobilise other sources of EU funding such as agricultural and structural funds, regional schemes and Horizon 2020 investment; as well as national funding sources and private backing.
Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: “LIFE Integrated Projects are a perfect example of EU funds making a real difference on the ground, improving the quality of life of millions of European citizens. The new investment will help Member States to tap into resources to respond to citizens’ concerns on air and water quality and halt the loss of biodiversity.”
The projects set to receive funding include:
- Integrated projects in Bulgaria and Hungary aimed at improving air quality through investment in public transport infrastructure, promoting cycling and replacing home heating systems which produce polluting emissions;
- Conservation projects spanning Czechia, Hungary, Portugal and Slovenia, supporting the implementation of the EU’s biodiversity policies;
- Environmental projects in Austria and Estonia aimed at boosting the capacity of large bodies of water to sustain biodiversity by implementing flood risk management and nature preservation policies;
- A project supporting national and regional delivery of climate change mitigation targets in Greece; and
- Projects in Finland, Italy and Slovenia aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions through infrastructure adaptation, carbon sequestration and promoting zero-emissions road transport.
Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, said: “The Commission proposed to build on the positive experience with climate mainstreaming and further strengthen climate action in the next EU long-term budget. This increase in ambition will strengthen climate action in key areas, such as agriculture and rural development and external action, and increase dedicated funding for climate action under the LIFE programme.”