With the European Green Deal, the European Union has the ambition to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Several European funding schemes already exist to support projects contributing to this objective, including Life, the historic European programme to support environmental actions.
Brief reminder of the objectives of the Green Deal
As part of the European Green Deal Ursula Von der Leyen’s Commission intends to invest in environmentally friendly technologies; support innovation in industry; deploy cleaner, more affordable and healthier private and public transport; decarbonise the energy sector; improve the energy efficiency of buildings and work with international partners to improve global environmental standards.
Possible financial support for projects in line with Green Deal priorities
To date, depending on the nature of their operations, project leaders can benefit from certain funding programmes, including the European structural and investment funds with the EAFRD and the regional ERDF, the INTERREG programme, the Horizon 2020 programme or the Life programme.
The latter has been in existence since 1992 and its budget is constantly increasing. Set at 3.4 billion euros for the 2014-2020 programming period, it should, according to the Commission’s proposal, rise to more than 5 billion euros for 2021-2027.
It is made up of two sub-programmes defining the modalities for granting subsidies: the “Environment” sub-programme and the “Climate Action” sub-programme. It finances projects through two financial instruments and action grants (traditional projects and integrated projects). Recently, the European Commission announced an investment of more than 100 million euros for the recently selected integrated projects. Among the ten selected projects, a few examples: three projects, in Estonia, Ireland and Cyprus, aim to improve the management of the EU protected areas of the Natura 2000 network. In Greece, funding is intended to reduce the amount of waste generated and to promote its re-use. As for France and Spain, the LIFE programme will finance their capacity to adapt to climate change.
An interesting scheme but difficult to access!
As previously announced, Life will continue to support projects after 2021. But before that, one last meeting awaits project leaders since the 2020 calls for proposals should be published on 2 April next!
To access this aid, which can be very interesting (the average grant amount would be €1.5M according to the Commission), project leaders must comply with the many requirements of the programme. Life is one of the most well-known and competitive schemes (the number of applications has increased by 25% between 2018 and 2019) and it is not the easiest to access! In addition to perfectly meeting the objectives of the call for proposals, it will be necessary to ensure the replicability of the operation at EU level, demonstrate the technical and financial coherence of the project, … We can only encourage potential project leaders to start preparing their applications as soon as possible!