Natural and rural areas
EU instruments for 2014-2020
Among the eleven thematic objectives, thematic objective 6 “Preserving and protecting the environment and promoting resource efficiency” opens the possibility for protected areas and nature parks to benefit from the 2014-2020 Cohesion Policy fund and Interreg. Furthermore, the cohesion policy regulations offer some interesting tools: the territorial development instruments, Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI) and Community-Led Local Development (CLLD), are explicitly mentioned in the regulation on European Territorial Cooperation, which allows for the implementation of such projects by EGTCs or equivalent structures.
Meanwhile, a number of EU instruments allow the financing of projects for protected natural areas in cross-border territories. Within the framework of the [Green Infrastructure] strategy, which is not unlike the Trame Verte et Bleue initiative in France, the European Union offers several possibilities for financing these types of infrastructure and thus projects that seek to preserve the connectivity of rural areas: as well as the structural funds, these include the FEADER, the LIFE+ fund, the Horizon 2020 programme, as well as a European Investment Bank financial instrument created in 2014, the “Natural Capital Financing Facility” (NCFF).