Following European Parliament’s adoption of its position on the EU’s long-term 2021-2027 budget, MEPs voted in favour on December 11 of doubling funding for the LIFE programme, the EU’s only funding instrument for climate change, environment and nature conservation, compared to the last 7-year period.
Setting out their position on the scope and the priorities for investing in areas which are crucial for future growth, MEPs approved by 580 votes to 41 against, and 45 abstentions the proposal for the LIFE programme for 2021-2027 financing of environmental and climate objectives.
MEPs propose to double funding for the LIFE programme compared to the last 7-year period. The total financial envelope foreseen is €6.44 billion in 2018 prices (€7.27 billion in current prices compared to the Commission’s proposal of €5.45 billion).
The EU programme for the environment and climate action will contribute to mainstreaming climate action and to reaching an overall target of at least 25% of the EU’s budget expenditure supporting climate objectives over the 2021-2027 period, the European Parliament said in a press release.
The European Parliament is now ready to start negotiations with EU member states, the press release read. MEPs want a swift agreement on MFF-related files before the European elections, in order to avoid any serious setbacks in launching the new programmes due to late adoption, as experienced in the past.
Environmental organisations hailed the move. WWF noted that the European Parliament voted in favour of increasing the allocation for LIFE from 0.3% to 0.6% of the EU budget. This is higher than the European Commission’s proposal to increase the allocation to 0.4%. Parliament also voted to dedicate 45% of the fund to nature and biodiversity projects, 5% higher than the recommendation from the European Commission.
“It’s commendable that the European Parliament has gone slightly above the European Commission’s recommendations, but even with the proposed increase, the LIFE budget remains minuscule. This clearly shows that policymakers continue ignoring the real value of our planet and the biodiversity it hosts, and fail to understand that funding nature conservation is not a cost, but an investment in our future,” said Andreas Baumueller, Head of Natural Resources, WWF European Policy Office.
An increase to 1% would further enable the LIFE Programme to fulfil its aim to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU biodiversity, environment and climate policies, WWF said, adding that the environmental group urges the Environment Council to send a strong message in support of increasing LIFE funding at its meeting on December 20.