Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Previous programme


Successor programme


Programme funding

EUR 400 million

Official Journal Reference

L206 of 1992-07-22

Legislative Reference

1973/92/CEE of 1992-05-21
To contribute to the development and implementation of Community environmental policy and legislation by financing priority environmental actions in the Community, technical assistance actions with third countries from the Mediterranean region or bordering on the Baltic Sea and, in exceptional circumstances, actions concerning regional or global environmental problems provided for in international agreements.


The Treaty establishing the European Economic Community provides for the development and implementation of a Community environment policy and sets out the objectives and principles which should guide that policy. Action by the Community relating to the environment aims, in particular, to preserve, protect and improve the quality of the environment. The unified financial instrument for the environment, LIFE, has been established to provide for the granting of support for preparatory measures, demonstration schemes, awareness campaigns and actions providing incentives or technical assistance in the field of protection of the environment. LIFE supports eligible areas of action while complying with the 'polluter pays' and subsidiarity principles. Included are the measures necessary for the conservation of natural habitats and of wild flora and fauna set forth in Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992.

This regulation repeals Regulation (EEC) No 563/91 (MEDSPA), Regulation (EEC) No 3907/91 (ACNAT) and Regulation (EEC) No 3908/91 (NORSPA).



- Promotion of sustainable development and the quality of the environment:
. Establish and develop new techniques and methods of measuring and monitoring the quality of the environment;
. Establish and develop new clean technologies which create little or no pollution and make fewer demands on resources;
. Establish and develop techniques for the collection, storage, recycling and disposal of waste, particularly toxic and dangerous waste and waste water;
. Establish and develop techniques for locating and restoring sites contaminated by hazardous waste and/or hazardous substances;
. Establish and develop models to integrate environmental actors into land use planning and management and socio-economic activities;
. Reduce the discharge into the aquatic environment of nutritive substances and potentially bio-accumulative toxic, persistent pollutants;
. Improve the quality of the urban environment both in central and peripheral areas;

- Protection of habitats and of nature:
. Pursuant to Directive 79/409/EEC, maintain or re-establish biotopes which are the habitat of endangered species or seriously threatened habitats which are of particular importance to the Community, or implement measures to conserve or re-establish endangered species;
. Maintain or re-establish types of natural habitats of Community interest and the animal and plant species of Community interest pursuant to Directive 92/43/EEC;
. Protect soil threatened or damaged by fire, desertification, coastal erosion or the disappearance of the dune belt;
. Promote the conservation of marine life;
. Protect and conserve areas of fresh ground water and fresh surface water;

- Administrative structures and environment services:
. Foster greater cooperation between the authorities of the Member States particularly with regard to the control of transboundary and global environmental problems;
. Equip, modernize or develop monitoring networks in the context of a strengthening of environmental legislation;

- Education, training and information:
. Promote environmental training in administrative and professional circles;
. Promote environmental education, in particular through the provision of information, exchanges of experience, training and educational research;
. Foster better understanding of problems and hence encourage behaviour models consistent with environmental objectives;
. Disseminate knowledge concerning sound management of the environment;

. Promote the establishment of the necessary administrative structures in the environmental field;
. Provide the technical assistance needed for the establishment of environment policies and action programmes;
. Promote the transfer of appropriate environment friendly technologies and foster sustainable development;
. Provide assistance for third countries faced with ecological emergencies.


The Commission is responsible for implementing the financial instument assisted by a committee composed of the representatives of the Member States and chaired by the representative of the Commission.

Community financial assistance may be provided for actions which are of Community interest, contribute significantly to the implementation of Community environmental policy and meet the conditions for implementing the 'polluter pays' principle. The Commission establishes the priority actions to be implemented and the corresponding allocation of resources by 30 September each year and specifies the additional criteria to be used for selecting the actions to be financed.

Financial assistance is provided as co-financing of actions or interest rebates depending on the nature of the operations to be carried out. The rate of Community assistance is subject to the following ceilings:
- 30% of the cost in the case of actions involving the financing of income generating investments (the operator's contribution to the financing must be at least as much as the Community assistance);
- 100% of the cost of measures designed to provide the information necessary for the execution of an action and of technical assistance measures implemented on the Commission's initiative;
- 50% of the cost of other actions.

The rate of Community assistance for actions concerning the conservation of priority biotopes or habitats of Community interest are:
- normally, a maximum of 50% of the cost of the actions;
- by way of exception, a maximum of 75% of the cost provided the actions concern biotopes or habitats hosting species in danger of extinction in the Community or habitats at risk of disappearing from the Community or populations of species in danger of extinction in the Community.

Proposals for actions to be financed are submitted to the Commission by the Member States. The Commission may ask any legal or natural persons established in the Community to submit applications for assistance in respect of measures of particular interest to the Community by means of a notice published in the Official Journal of the European Communities. The amount of financial assistance, financial procedures and controls, as well as all the technical conditions necessary for giving the assistance are determined on the basis of the nature and form of the approved action and are laid down either in the Commission decision or in the contract or agreement concluded with the beneficiaries.

Actions receiving aid provided for under the structural funds or other Community budget instruments are not eligible for financial assistance under LIFE and the Commission ensures that actions undertaken in the framework of LIFE are consistent with them.

The Commission takes the necessary measures to verify that actions financed by the Community have been carried out properly, to prevent and take action against irregularities and to recover sums improperly received owing to abuse or negligence. The Commission ensures effective monitoring of the implementation of Community financed actions on the basis of reports drawn up using the procedures agreed by the Commission and the beneficiary and by sample checks. For each multiannual action the beneficiary submits progress reports to the Commission within six months of the end of each full year of implementation. Within six months of the completion of the action a final report is also forwarded to the Commission. For each action lasting less than two years the beneficiary submits a report to the Commission within six months of completion of the action. The Commission determines the form and content of these reports. On the basis of the monitoring procedures and reports the Commission adjusts, if necessary, the scale or the conditions of allocation of the financial assistance originally approved and the timetable of payments. A list of actions financed by LIFE is published each year in the Official Journal of the European Communities. Every two years, after consulting the Committee, the Commission submits a progress report to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of LIFE and on the use of appropriations.

LIFE will be implemented in phases and the Council, acting by a qualified majority on a proposal from the Commission, will decide on the implementation of the second phase as from 1 January 1996. The Commission will submit a report to the Council and the European Parliament on the implementation of LIFE no later than 31 December 1994 and make proposals for any adjustment to be made with a view to continuing the action beyond the first phase.
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