Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Previous programme


Successor programme


Programme funding

EUR 450 million

Official Journal Reference

L 181 of 1996-07-20

Legislative Reference

1973/92 of 1996-07-15
To contribute to the development and, where appropriate, the implementation of Community policy and legislation in the environmental domain.


The purpose this Regulation is to extend, for the period 1996-1999, the LIFE financial instrument for the environment. Amending Council Regulation (EEC) No 1973/92 which established the first phase of LIFE (1992-1995), the new Regulation takes account of the experience gained in the first three years of the instrument's implementation. It also contains provisions aimed at improving the efficiency of the instrument by taking into consideration its specific nature and the principle of subsidiarity and by providing for better visibility of the eligible areas, greater transparency of procedures, simplified operating expenses and better utilization of the results obtained.

For the period 1996-1999, support under the financial instrument is targeted on:

- Nature protection (implementation of the Natura 2000 network);

- Implementation of other Community environmental policies through preparatory, demonstration, technical assistance and incentive schemes aimed at:
. Strengthening the link and complementarity between environmental regulations and structural financial assistance, in particular in the from Community funds and financial instruments for the environment;
. Helping local authorities to incorporate environmental considerations into regional planning;
. Promoting sustainable development and the integration of the environment into industrial activities;

- Helping certain Mediterranean and Baltic third countries, (other than the associated CEECs) to set up environmental administrative structures, to establish environmental policies and action programmes and to take measures which promote sustainable development;

- Promoting the know-how and experience gained.


Eligible actions in the Community:

- Nature conservation actions:
Actions as defined in Article 1 (a) of Council Directive 92/43/EEC concerning the conservation of natural habitats; actions with regard to the wild fauna and flora needed to implement Council Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds and the above-mentioned Directive 92/43/EEC and, in particular, the Natura 2000 European Network;

- Other actions designed to implement Community environment policy and legislation:
. Innovative and demonstration actions designed to promote sustainable development in industrial activities;
. Demonstration, promotion and technical assistance actions for local authorities in order to encourage the integration of environmental consideration in land use development and planning with a view to promoting sustainable development;
. Various preparatory actions designed to contribute to implementing Community environment policy and legislation, particularly: protection and rational management of coastal areas, of rivers which flow into coastal areas, their possible wetlands and the sustainable management of those areas and rivers, reduction of waste, in particular toxic and hazardous waste; protection of water resources and water management, including waste or contaminated water treatment; and air pollution, acidification, tropospheric ozone.

Eligible measures for countries outside the Community:

The following measures apply to third countries bordering on the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea other than those Central and East European countries which have signed association agreements with the Community:

- Technical assistance in the establishment of the administrative structures needed in the environmental sector and in the development of environmental policy and action programmes;

- Conservation or restoration, from the point of view of nature protection, of significant habitats of threatened species of flora and fauna;

- Demonstration actions to promote sustainable development.

Accompanying measures:

Accompanying measures are aimed at monitoring, evaluating or promoting the actions carried out under the programme and dissemination of information on the experience and the results obtained from such actions.


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

Support under the LIFE financial instrument may be provided to EU Member States, the associated Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) and other third countries (bordering on the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea). The participation of the CEECs is to be carried out in accordance with the provisions in the additional protocols to their respective Association Agreements (either concluded or to be concluded) covering participation in Community programmes.

Proposals for actions to be funded under LIFE are submitted to the Commission by the Member States. Where actions involve more than one Member State, proposals are to be submitted by the Member State in which the coordinating authority or body is based. Applications for funding from third countries are to be submitted to the Commission by the relevant national authorities in these countries. All applications for funding must be submitted to the Commission before 31 January each year; the Commission selects proposals for funding before 31 July.

In addition to proposals submitted by the Member States and third countries, the Commission may ask any legal or natural persons established in the Community to submit applications for assistance for measures of particular interest to the Community. This process will be carried out by means of notices published in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

A budget of ECU 450 million has been established to fund actions under for the period 1996-1999. The Regulation sets out the proportion of this budget to be allocated to each of the eligible actions under LIFE (see the "Subdivisions" section of this record), as well as the general selection criteria and maximum levels of Community funding for each of these actions. The amount of financial assistance (within the established financial ceilings for each action), financial procedures and controls, as well as all the technical conditions necessary for granting assistance are determined on the basis of the nature and form of the approved action.

The Commission is required to submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the Regulation and on the use of funds under it before 31 December 1998. The report will also include proposals for any adjustment to be made with a view to continuing the action beyond this second phase. The Council is to decide on the implementation of a third phase of LIFE before 1 January 2000.
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