The European Commission Wednesday launched the first call for proposals dedicated to environmental projects, providing 238.86 million euros (325 million U.S. dollars) of funds in 2014, according to a statement on the bloc's website.
The funds, provided by the sub-program of the EU LIFE 2014-2020, will be used to develop and implement innovative ways to respond to environmental challenges across Europe, focusing on the conservation of nature and biodiversity, resource efficiency and environmental governance and information.
The statement said a total of 2.5 billion euros will be provided by the program over the next seven years. It will also support better governance, dissemination of information and awareness-raising on environmental matters.
"Innovative environmental and nature conservation projects around Europe will receive more funds than ever before. This will help achieve sustainable growth through investment in a resource-efficient economy and will help member states and local authorities to implement plans and strategies in key policy areas like nature, waste, air and water." said European Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik.
The European Commission's next call for LIFE proposals will be launched this autumn, targeting operating grants for non-profit organizations active at European level in climate and environmental issues, according to the statement.
LIFE is an EU funding programme that has been running since 1992 and has co-financed more than 4,000 projects.