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186 million euros – 143 new LIFE+ projects

Brussels, 27 October 2008

The European Commission approved the support of 143 new projects as a result of the first call for applications which had been released within the frames of the LIFE+ Programme (2007-2013), the environmental financial instrument of the European Union. Projects from all the member states of the European Union were sent in. They are aimed at actions related to nature conservation, environmental policy as well as informatics and communication. The European Union finances 186 million euros from the total investment amounting to 367 million euros.

The great variety and high level of proposals we received this year made a deep impression on me, said Mr Stavros Dimas, Commissioner for Environment. In addition to their appreciably positive effect on the environment, the projects selected will also be models to be followed in terms of their technical properties, he added.

More than 700 proposals were received by the Commission from public or private organizations of 27 EU member states in answer to the first call for applications within the scope of the LIFE+ Programme. Of them, 143 projects were selected for co-financing by the European Community. They receive grants through the three components of the new programme, i.e. the components called LIFE+ Nature & Biodiversity, LIFE+ Environment Policy & Governance, and LIFE+ Information & Communication.

LIFE+ Nature & Biodiversity: Projects belonging to this component are aimed at the improvement of the protection of endangered species and habitats. The Commission chose 58 projects from 264 proposals. These 58 projects were submitted by partnerships set up by environmental organizations, government organs, and other associations. The European Union provides more than 94 million euros for financing projects of 165 million euros total investment, covering 21 member states. The great majority of the projects (54) are nature conservation projects which contribute to the implementation of the Birds and/or Habitats Protection Directive/s and the maintenance of the Natura 2000 Network. The remaining four projects are related to biodiversity. This is a new category of LIFE+ experimental projects, dealing with a wide range of matters in connection with biodiversity.

LIFE+ Environment Policy & Governance: Experimental projects contributing to the improvement of innovative special policy ideas, technologies, methods and instruments belong to this category. The Commission decided to support 74 projects of the 325 proposals which had been submitted by organizations in the public and private sectors. The European Union provides 84 million euros for financing projects of 185 million euros total investment, covering 21 member states. The most considerable part of the EU funds (some 26 million euros) was allotted to projects being connected with wastes and natural resources. The second most important field is climatic change, covering 22 projects (and approximately 24 million euros EU grants). Another 24 projects deal with diversified matters as – among others – water, urban environment, soil, noise level, forests, chemicals, air, environment, and health.

LIFE+ Information & Communication: It covers educational and interest-arousing projects related to environmental matters as well as projects aimed at trainings for forest fire prevention and interest-arousing actions. Of 118 proposals, the Commission provides grants for 11 projects it received from nature conservation and/or environmental organizations in the public and private sectors. Implementation of the projects selected takes place in Spain, France, Finland, Italy, Malta, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The European Union provides 8 million euros for financing the investment totalling up to 16 million euros.

The LIFE+ Programme

LIFE+ Programme is a new financial instrument of the European Union for financing environmental projects. The total estimate of the programme amounts to 2,143 billion euros, i.e. two billion hundred forty three million euros, for the period 2007-2013. The Commission releases a call for applications aimed at the presentation of LIFE+ project proposals once a year during the above period.

All information about LIFE+ Programme is available online at: http://ec.europa.eu/life

(Source: European Commission)