LIFE is the European financial instrument for the environment. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental policy and legislation by co-financing pilot or demonstration projects with European added value.
LIFE began in 1992 and to date there have been four complete phases of the programme (LIFE I: 1992-1995, LIFE II: 1996-1999 and LIFE III: 2000-2006 and LIFE+: 2007-2013). During this period, LIFE has co-financed some 3.954 projects across the EU, contributing approximately €3.1 billion to the protection of the environment.
The current phase of the programme, LIFE 2014-2020, was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 20 December 2013.
The HEO project was amongst the the winner of LIFE + (2007-2013). LIFE+ runned from 2007-2013 and had a budget of €2.143 billion. The legal basis for LIFE+ was the Regulation (EC) No 614/2007. LIFE+ covered both the operational expenditure of DG Environment and the co-financing of projects.
During the period 2007-2013, the European Commission had launch one call for LIFE+ project proposals per year. The amount available for co-financing projects under the 2012 LIFE+ call for proposals has been set at €276 million. Proposals were eligible under one of the programme’s three components:
- LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity
- LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance
- LIFE+ Information and Communication
LIFE+ was opened to public or private bodies, actors or institutions registered in the European Union. Project proposals could be either submitted by a single beneficiary or by a partnership which included a coordinating beneficiary and one or several associated beneficiaries. They could be either national or transnational, but the actions had to take place within the territory of the 27 Member States of the European Union.
The maximum EU co-financing rate for LIFE+ projects was 50 percent of the total eligible project costs. By way of exception, a co-financing rate of up to 75 percent of the total eligible costs could be granted to LIFE+ Nature proposals that focus on concrete conservation actions for priority species.