EU LIFE program needs budget increase in line with new Natura 2000 responsibilities
The EU's Natura 2000 network is one additional tool for protecting Europe's greatest natural treasures, but it unfortunately does not offer a silver bullet that can prevent major problems with illegal construction and illegal logging in many protected areas of Bulgaria and Romania, such as this area in northern Romania.
Brussels, Belgium (19th September). Today, the European Parliament Environment (ENVI) Committee voted to expand the role of the LIFE program so that it covers 10% of the Natura 2000 costs. LIFE is a fitting home for Natura 2000 as it is the only EU program that exclusively looks after the environment. Given its profile LIFE should be given a bigger role and fund at least 20% of Natura 2000. Today’s vote can only be welcomed as a first step if LIFE receives the funding it needs.
Currently LIFE support for nature conservation and fighting global warming accounts for only 0.2% of the entire EU budget per annum which is equal to the cost of one Airbus A-380-800. For LIFE to take on these new responsibilities its share would need to increase to at least 1% of the total EU budget
Quotes: Andreas Baumueller, Head, Natural Resources & Land Use WWF European Policy Office
“LIFE is one of the EU’s best environmental achievements and yet the EU is starving it of resources. The program is developing best practice environmental projects throughout Europe and this needs support. So far providing only 0.2% of the total EU Budget to LIFE can be regarded as nothing more than a rounding error. If LIFE is to be responsible for the funding elements of Natura 2000, the vast network of nature protection areas, it is going to need real budgetary support.
“When MEPs and the Council are carving out the next seven year EU budget they need to make sure that LIFE is adequately funded. This will require a budget of at least €1.7billion per year if it is to finance its various projects and Natura 2000 – a true EU success story, protecting nearly 20% of land in the EU. The annual budget of LIFE is presently only equal to the cost of one Airbus 380 and this is just inadequate.”
Notes for the Editor
It is estimated that Natura 2000 vast network of nature protection areas provides EUR 200 – 300 billion per year of services to the European economy in areas such as water and land management, and the provision of other natural resources.
Contact: Philippe Carr, WWF European Policy Office,
Media & Communications,
WWF European Policy Office,
Tel: +32 476 25 68 79