The European Commission will provide a total of 116.1 million euros for twelve major environmental and climate projects in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Slovenia, as well as Austria, Finland, Greece, Italy and Portugal.
“LIFE Integrated Projects are a perfect example of EU funds making a real difference on the ground, improving the quality of life of millions of European citizens, said the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella. “The new investment will help member states tap in to resources to respond to citizens’ concerns on air and water quality and halt the loss of biodiversity.”
The project covers three areas: air quality, nature and water. The first is one of the major environmental concerns of EU citizens. This is reflected in the substantial support provided to Bulgarian and Hungarian cities to tackle air pollution, through actions such as the replacement of polluting household heating systems or developing sustainable public transport and infrastructure for cycling and electric vehicles. Then, integrated projects in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Portugal and Slovenia will help conserve Europe’s nature, supporting effective implementation of biodiversity policy and improving the management of the EU Natura 2000 network of protected areas. Finally, LIFE funding will also help Austria and Estonia to combine effective river basin management with flood risk management and nature conservation, so that their water bodies can sustain biodiversity and people alike.
Slovenia will receive the largest amount of funds, 44.3 million euros, plus 27.3 million for projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, Slovenia is considered to have one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the EU with 38 per cent of the country included in the Natura 2000 network of protected areas.