The €101.2m (£84m) in funding from the Life programme will support 10 environment and climate projects in nine member states. The projects – which include waste management and improvements to rivers and lakes - are located in Cyprus, Estonia, France, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Slovakia, Czechia and Spain. Life investment is set to mobilise over €6.5bn of complementary funds, as member states can also make use of other EU funding sources.
Executive vice-president of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said: “The European Green Deal is about improving the well-being and prosperity of our citizens, while protecting nature and the climate. Life projects have played an important role for many years and have a big impact on the ground. With today's €100 million investment we will help to preserve precious natural habitats, keep the air clean, and cut pollution in many lakes and rivers in Europe.”
Commissioner for the environment, oceans and fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “Life integrated projects enable member states' authorities to make a real difference to the environment and people's lives. the projects will help member States to conserve nature, improve air and water quality, and make the economy greener. This will improve our resilience to the changing climate.”
Integrated projects improve citizens' quality of life by helping Member States comply with EU legislation in six areas: nature, water, air, waste, climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation. They support implementation of environmental and climate legislation in a coordinated manner and on a large territorial scale, leveraging funding from other EU sources, national and regional actors and private investors.
Integrated projects in Estonia, Ireland and Cyprus will help to conserve Europe's nature and improve the management of the EU Natura 2000 network of protected areas.
A project in Greece will promote waste prevention and reuse, reducing the amount of municipal waste going to landfill. New waste indicators and standards will be developed to help build a circular economy.
Life funding will assist Slovakia in complying with EU directives on air quality, reducing the population's exposure to harmful air pollutants. Neighbouring Czechia, affected by similar air quality problems, will also benefit.
Integrated projects working at river basin-scale will protect and improve water quality in Ireland and Latvia's rivers and lakes, enabling the countries to meet their obligations under the EU Water Framework Directive.
Life funding will also support increased resilience to climate change. Projects will integrate climate change adaptation into planning and other policy areas in Spain as well as building adaptation capacity in France using nature-based solutions.
Another project in France will help bridge significant knowledge gaps in this area and bring green financial products into the mainstream.