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Commission pans Spanish water transfer plan

The European Commission's environment directorate has recommended provisionally withholding €1.26bn funding requested by Spain for its planned north-south water transfer project, it emerged on Friday. The leaked report rejects government claims that the Ebro river basin can sustain the transfer, expreseses "worries" about "exaggeration of benefits and systematic undervaluing of costs" and criticises the plan's environmental impact assessment. The Commission's competition directorate is understood also to have criticised aspects of the plan. The news comes days before Spanish elections in which the transfer project has become an issue (EED 05/03/04). See European Commission.

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