Brussels, 10 Dec 2003
No. prev. doc.: 15175/03 ENV 634 FIN 534 CODEC 1658
1. The Commission adopted the above-mentioned proposal in November 2003, at the same time as a mid-term review of Regulation (EC) No 1655/2000 (LIFE) (doc. 14732/03).
2. The key aims of the proposal are:
* to extend the third phase of LIFE until 31 December 2006, to bridge the gap between the expiry of the current regime and the new, post-2006 financial perspectives;
* to make LIFE consistent with the 6th Environmental Action Programme and Regulation (EC) No 1605/2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities; and
* to amend the comitology provisions to substitute the management committee procedure for the regulatory one in the light of European Court of Justice's judgement of 21 January 2003.
The proposal supersedes the proposal that the Commission made in July 2003 (doc. 11336/03 ), which dealt only with the comitology issue.
3. The Working Party on the Environment examined the proposal at its meetings on 20 November and 5 December.
Delegations welcomed the proposal and agreed that early adoption of the Regulation would be desirable. They noted that this would require the Council and the European Parliament to reach agreement during first reading.
The examination of the proposal has brought three key issues to light:
* the proposed budget, which some consider insufficient, particularly in view of enlargement;
* comitology, for which there is a wide preference for retaining the regulatory committee procedure; and
* arrangements from 2007 onwards, where there is concern that the current text does not send any signals about the future funding of environmental policies and some would wish to include deadlines for proposals on, and agreement of, future arrangements.
The representative of the Commission explained that the budget represented an increase of some 15% and was coherent with the current financial perspectives. He clarified that the aim of the report in September 2006 was to make a final assessment of Regulation (EC) No 1655/2000 , as amended. This would be separate from the ongoing development of an approach for the new, post-2006 financial perspectives.