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The LIFE programme (French: L’Instrument Financier pour l’Environement) is the European Union’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation by co-financing projects with European added value.

LIFE began in 1992 and to date there have been five phases of the programme. During this period, LIFE has co-financed some 4600 projects across the EU, with a total contribution of approximately 6.5 billion Euros to the protection of the environment and of climate.


Projects LIFE has co-financed

0 Billion

Total contribution

LIFE Regulation 2021-2027

The new LIFE Regulation 2021-2027 Regulation (EU) 2021/783 entered into force on 17 May 2021 and applies retrospectively from 1 January 2021. The financial envelope for the programme under the new regulation is €5.432 billion, which represents a significant increase compared to the €3.46 billion available to the programme under the previous regulation.

Any legal persons registered in the EU are eligible to apply, and applications are encouraged from public and private organisations seeking co-funding for projects. Large and small companies, local government and other public authorities, NGOs, Higher Education Institutes and community groups can participate. Every year a call for proposals is launched, and following competitive selection, awards are made that are typically in the range of €1 million to €5 million for projects with durations of three to five years.

Maximum EU co-financing rates for projects are 60%, 75% and 95%, depending on the project type and topic. The Multiannual Work Programme (MAWP) 2021-2024 and the 2021 Call Documentation are useful sources of information on project topics and policy areas. The eligibility criteria for the different project types are detailed in the MAWP 2021-2024 and the application guidelines published alongside each call.

EU LIFE Integrated Projects

EU LIFE Integrated Projects such as the waters of Life, support authorities in EU Member States to implement environmental and climate plans, programmes and strategies developed at regional, multi-regional or national level. They help Member States to comply with key EU legislation in six areas: Nature, Waters, Air, Waste, Climate Change Mitigation, Climate Change Adaptation.