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Environment Council discusses second phase of the LIFE financial instrument for the environment

The Council of European Environment Ministers, meeting on 6 October 1995, discussed in detail the proposed Regulation aimed at defining the operational guidelines for the second phase of the LIFE financial instrument for the environment (1996-1999). The first phase will come t...
The Council of European Environment Ministers, meeting on 6 October 1995, discussed in detail the proposed Regulation aimed at defining the operational guidelines for the second phase of the LIFE financial instrument for the environment (1996-1999). The first phase will come to an end on 31 December 1995.

LIFE is the Community's only specific financial instrument in the area of the environment. Its objective is to contribute to the development and implementation of the Community's environment policy through the financing of specific actions in this area. Financial support from the Community may be awarded, through LIFE, to pilot projects, demonstration programmes or technical assistance to third countries in the Mediterranean or Baltic Sea regions.

Based on past experience, the present proposal suggests certain modifications to the existing Regulation in order to simplify its implementation. These include:

- A redefinition of eligible activities;
- Separating the decision procedures concerning projects into those relating to nature protection and the rest;
- Defining new criteria for the selection of projects;
- Extending the sphere of activity of LIFE to include the associated countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

The debate in the Council resulted in a favourable opinion on all these proposals. The Council further approved the budget suggested by the Commission (ECU 450 million) but requested that this be re-examined in 1997 in light of financial possibilities and on the basis of the requests submitted.

Also discussed by the Council was a proposal to modify Regulation 259/93 on the transfer of waste with the intention of banning all exports of dangerous waste to non-OECD countries. There was general agreement, within the Council, on this proposal.

The Council further adopted statements concerning forthcoming conferences in the area of the environment. These included:

- The Third pan-European Conference on Environment Ministers, Sofia, 23-25 October 1995;
- The Second Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Djakarta, 6-17 november 1995;
- Preparation of the Euro-Mediterranean Conference, Barcelona, 27-28 November 1995;
- Seventh Conference of Parties to the Montreal Protocole on Substances Damaging the Ozone Layer.

Other issues discussed included:

- The evaluation of the impact of certain public and private projects on the environment (Proposal for amendment of Directive 84/337);
- The European Environmental Agency;
- The harmonization of legislation on measures against polluting gases and particles from diesel motors (Proposal for amendment of Directive 88/77).
DE

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