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Concerning EU funding sources targeting the WFD, it is worth noting that the WFD does not have its own specific EU funding for implementation, but it is integrated into the budget of the EU LIFE financing instrument for environment and climate (Carvalho et al., 2019). LIFE funding amounts to €3.4 billion for the period 2014–2020. As a result of this vast difference in EU funds, the implementation success of EU water policy is highly dependent on using financial instruments in other sectoral policies, or “water-mainstreaming”, as well as on national funding. A common approach to water-mainstreaming has been to establish standards and certification schemes to promote best practice technologies or best management practices (e.g. Industrial Emissions Directive). Recently, environmental safeguards and economic incentives were introduced in EU Structural and Investment Funds, including the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), the Cohesion Fund and the Regional Development Fund, in a drive to reduce the environmental impact of economic development (Carvalho et al., 2019).

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