Members of the European Parliament on April 29 officially approved the deal with member states on LIFE, the only programme at EU-level solely dedicated to the environment and climate. It will enter into force retroactively from January 1, 2021.
According to the Parliament, the EU programme will contribute to making the necessary shift towards a clean, circular, energy-efficient, low-carbon and climate-resilient economy, to protect and improve the quality of the environment, and to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.
“When we look at what has been achieved by LIFE so far, it is clear that a bigger budget can help us achieve even more in the future, the rapporteur, Finnish MEP Nils Torvalds said. “Although I would have preferred an even larger budget for LIFE, I am very pleased that we have reached a new level of commitment towards nature and climate, so the programme can continue to test ideas and showcase future green solutions,” he said, adding that LIFE can now also mobilise additional funding for actions on nature, climate and energy much better.
The total budget allocated for LIFE in the compromise on the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework is €5.4 billion (current prices), of which €3.5 billion will go to environmental activities and €1.9 billion to climate action.
When making decisions on what to fund, the Commission should prioritise projects that among other issues, have a clear cross border European interest, the highest potential for replicability and for being taken up by the public or private sector, or for mobilising the largest investments, the EU Parliament said in a press release, adding that LIFE will also promote the use of green public procurement.
The programme will contribute to making climate actions a key aspect of all EU policies and to achieving the overall target of spending at least 30% of the EU’s budget on climate objectives, the press release read. LIFE will also support many biodiversity projects and contribute to spending 7.5% of the annual EU budget on biodiversity objectives from 2024 and 10% in 2026 and 2027.
According to the Parliament, the Commission will regularly monitor and report on mainstreaming of climate and biodiversity objectives, including tracking expenditure.