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Europe invests in nature and biodiversity
“This is about the health, well-being and welfare of our children and grandchildren.” MEP Mark Demesmaeker reacts with enthusiasm to the new LIFE programme for 2021-2027 that the European Parliament approved today. “Investing in nature and biodiversity must be integral to a smart and sustainable Europe. It is essential to support the member states in the transition to a sustainable, circular and low-carbon society. That is exactly what this programme does,” says Mark Demesmaeker.
European added value
LIFE is the only programme that is specifically targeted at investments in environmental and climate-related initiatives. LIFE projects form a major lever for working on nature recovery and restoration on a large scale, also in Flanders. “This programme works, and it delivers added value at European level. I was able to see this for myself during a working visit a few months ago to the natural area of the Kleine Nete valley in Nijlen. The restoration of the natural environment there was rewarded with a European prize. Other striking examples are the LIFE Belini project that is focusing on nature recovery in the Demer valley, and LIFE Green Valleys, that aims to reinforce and increase the environmental value of the open spaces between Brussels, Mechelen and Leuven,” MEP Mark Demesmaeker explains.
Crucial for nature, people and the economy
Investing via LIFE is crucial for nature, people and the economy, says Mark Demesmaeker: “For this reason, we are supporting an increase in the budget for the LIFE programme. For the N-VA delegation, this increase does however mean that savings will have to be made in other areas so that the total EU budget does not increase,” concludes Mark Demesmaeker, who also advocates more consistency among the various EU funds, in particular between LIFE and the agricultural and cohesion policy.