The European Commission has approved an investment package of €222.7m from the EU budget to support Europe’s transition to a circular economy.
The EU funding will spur additional investments leading to a total of €398.6m to be invested into 144 new projects in 23 Member States.
The support comes from the LIFE programme for the Environment and Climate Action. €323.5m will go to projects in the field of environment and resource efficiency, nature and biodiversity and environmental governance and information.
Circular Economy Package
The projects are a part of the Commission’s ongoing commitment to its circular economy package. A significant number of awards are granted to help Member States best make the transition to a more circular economy. Examples of recognised projects in 2016 include the new energy-saving hydrogen-electric garbage trucks in Belgium, technologies for reducing the health risks of sludge in wastewater pioneered in Italy and a project to help Greek municipalities, such as Olympia, increase recycling rates.
In the field of climate action, the investment will support climate change adaptation, climate change mitigation and climate governance and information projects totalling €75.1m. Selected projects support the EU’s target to reduce GHG emissions by at least 40% by 2030, contributing to the shift towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy. Some examples of 2015 projects include restoration and carbon storage in peatlands in five EU countries (Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland), demonstration of the production of low-emission cement and concrete products in France, enhancing the climate resilience of vineyards in Germany and implementing adaptation measures in urban areas in Cyprus.
- The 39 LIFE Nature & Biodiversity projects support the implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives and the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. They have a total budget of €158.1m, of which the EU will contribute €95.6m.
- The 15 LIFE Environmental Governance and Information projects will raise awareness on environmental matters. They have a total budget of €23.2m, of which the EU will contribute €13.8m.
- The 16 LIFE Climate Change Adaptation projects will mobilise €32.9m, of which the EU will provide €19.4m. These action grants are awarded to projects in five thematic areas: agriculture/forestry/tourism, adaptation in mountain/island areas, urban adaptation/planning, vulnerability assessments/adaptation strategies, and water.
- The 12 LIFE Climate Change Mitigation projects have a total budget of €35.3m, of which the EU will contribute €18.0m. These action grants are awarded to best practice, pilot and demonstration projects in three thematic areas: energy, industry and land use/forestry/agriculture.
- The 6 LIFE Climate Governance and Information projects will improve governance and raise awareness of climate change. They have a total budget of €6.9 million, of which the EU will contribute €4.1m.
The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. It has been running since 1992 and has co-financed more than 4 300 projects across the EU and in third countries, mobilising €8.8bn and contributing €3.9bn to the protection of the environment and climate. At any given moment some 1100 projects are ongoing. The budget for the LIFE Programme for 2014–2020 is set at €3.4bn in current prices, and has a sub-programme for environment and a sub-programme for climate action.