More than €100 million in new LIFE projects announced

The creation of climate risk standards and “other environmental metrics” to inform investment decisions is among the latest projects approved for support under the LIFE programme, the EU’s only mechanism dedicated to the environment.

The latest batch of projects, announced on Monday by the European Commission, is set to receive €101.2m from LIFE and mobilise over €6.5bn in complementary funds, the EU executive said. The funding concerns 10 “integrated projects” which span member states.

“LIFE integrated projects enable member states’ authorities to make a real difference to the environment and people’s lives,” said environment commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius in a statement.

The climate risk project aims to “bring green financial products into the mainstream” and ensure that, in five years, all French banks and insurers will have conducted climate-stress tests.

Meanwhile, Estonia, Ireland and Cyprus will focus on the management of EU Natura 2000 protected areas. Estonia, in particular, will draw up action plans for pollinators and restore 5,000 hectares of forest habitats, grasslands and coastal areas.

Ireland and Latvia’s projects will also address water quality in rivers and lakes, with Latvia aiming to increase the proportion of those with ‘good' status as defined by the Water Framework Directive. 

A project in Greece, where almost 80% of municipal waste was sent to landfill in 2017, will promote waste prevention and reuse through a ‘pay-as-you-throw' system, a platform linking food waste donors to charities and a repair-and-reuse park. 

Slovakia will aim to reduce households’ emissions of fine particles by 25% using less polluting forms of transport and replacing inefficient boilers, benefiting also neighbouring Czechia.

Other projects concern climate change adaptation in Spain’s Basque Country and in France.

Started in 1992, LIFE projects “have a big impact on the ground,” said commission vice-president Frans Timmermans.

The programme had a budget of €3.4bn over the 2014/2020 budgetary period. For the next long-term EU budget, the commission had proposed to increase the envelope to €5.4bn, an amount still considered insufficient by environmental campaigners. Under the European Council president proposal presented on Friday ahead of a special summit this week, the total was limited to €4.8bn.

Follow-up: Description of the latest LIFE projects

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