The European Union has set up the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA), which is responsible for implementing several funding programmes with a budget of more than €55 billion to be used by 2027. In particular, the LIFE programme, the financial instrument for the environment, is the only EU financial instrument wholly dedicated to environmental issues.

The European Green Deal

The European Green Deal sets out an unprecedented vision for the protection of the environment and the mitigation of climate change in the European Union. The 2050 targets of “climate neutrality” and “zero pollution” represent a decisive change of gear in the “green revolution” that will lead to new models of production and consumption and of interaction with nature.

The European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA)

In order to implement the policies supporting the Green Deal in a coordinated and integrated manner, the European Union has established the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA).

The Agency, which was given a mandate in April 2021, is responsible for implementing various funding programmes promoting environmental sustainability, including large infrastructure networks, energy, the “blue economy”, mobility, the protection of habitats and ecosystems, climate change mitigation and eco-innovation.

The Agency has been allocated more than EUR 55 billion to be used by 2027 in the European programmes Connecting Europe Facility, Horizon Europe, LIFE, the Innovation Fund, the Just Transition Mechanism, the Renewable Energy Financing Mechanism,  and the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund.

READ ALSO: World Environment Day – 5 June 2021: reimagine, recreate and restore our ecosystems

The LIFE programme

In particular, the LIFE programme is the only EU financial instrument wholly dedicated to environmental, climate and clean energy issues. LIFE is therefore a specific EU instrument to implement policies in support of the Green Deal. 

LIFE directly supports projects in the fields of eco-innovation (including sectors relating to waste management, the circular economy, air quality, the protection of water and the marine environment, noise mitigation and the reduction of hazardous chemicals), the protection of natural resources, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation to adverse events induced by climate change and energy sustainability. 

The experience of the LIFE programme, which began in 1992 and has now funded more than 5,000 projects, demonstrates, among other things, the need for Europe’s administrative and entrepreneurial fabric to rethink its products, processes and services in a sustainable way. It is also a reflection of its dynamism, in perceiving opportunities for economic growth in the fields of eco-innovation and helping to improve the social fabric by creating new jobs and improving public health and well-being.

In the 2021-27 period, the LIFE Programme will have a budget of more than EUR 5 billion, even larger than in previous periods, and will extend its scope of action more specifically to the energy sector. Access to LIFE funding is competitive, i.e. obtained by taking part in specific calls for proposals published annually on the CINEA website. The first calls for proposals for 2021-27 was launched on 13 July 2021. 

NextGenerationEU

The EU has put in place even more significant resources with the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-27 and NextGenerationEU, the European plan to recover from the current pandemic crisis with the aim of “emerging stronger than ever”. The EU is providing a total of more than EUR 2 trillion at current prices by 2027, with climate and ecological transition as priorities. Member states receiving these resources must produce National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs), detailing the actions to be implemented in the various sectors.

Like other programmes managed by CINEA, LIFE is complementary to the funding set out in the NRRPs, providing substantial resources for ecological transition, e.g. for research and development, implementation of the “first demonstration”, or the demonstration on a commercial/industrial scale of best practices and techniques. 

With a time horizon to 2050, just over a generation, the European Union is setting itself ambitious and important objectives for our most important goal: our future.

Contribution from Mario LIONETTI, Project Manager European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA), Established by the European Commission