More EU funds for green groups

Commission accepts Parliament amendments on funding of environmental groups

The European Commission has paved the way for more EU funding of environmental groups by accepting key European Parliament amendments to its action programme on the promotion of environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

If the Commission's amended proposal is agreed by environment ministers, green NGOs will be able to receive up to 60% of their funding from the Commission. The current maximum is 40%. The subsidy will last for four, rather than three years.

At present, the Commission gives European environmental NGOs a total of Ecu2.5 million a year. The aim of the Commission's 1995 proposal is to control the process better by laying down guidelines for the allocation of funding.

Environmental groups felt, however, that the Commission's original proposal was too restrictive and lobbied members of the European Parliament for amendments. The Parliament adopted several of these in its November sitting and the Commission has accepted them in its amended proposal.

Brussels-based environmental NGOs have broadly welcomed the revised proposal. The European Environmental Bureau, which receives Ecu500,000 a year from the Commission, said that the amended proposal "was definitely an improvement" on the original.

The amended proposal now goes to EU environment ministers, for discussion at their Council meeting in March.

Follow Up:
UNECE, e-mail: info.ece@unece.org; EEB, e-mail: foeeire@iol.ie.

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