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NÁVRH NARIADENIA O PROGRAME NA OCHRANU ŽIVOTNÉHO PROSTREDIA A KLÍMY (LIFE)

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Opinion Number: CDR 86/2012
Rapporteur: TWITCHEN Kay
Commission: ENVE
Status: Adopted
Date: 19/07/2012
 
a substantially greater increase in the programme's budget, whilst recognising that the exact figure cannot be agreed until the Multi-annual Financial Framework negotiations are concluded;
support for the new approach of "Integrated Projects", however with more accessibility and involvement of stakeholders; addition of marine environment, soil and noise as priority as further primarily relevant areas; appropriate coordination mechanisms of LIFE with other EU funds in the Common Strategic Framework and with Prioritised Action Frameworks (PAFs) for financing Natura 2000;
accept VAT as eligible costs if the beneficiaries can prove that VAT cannot be recovered
the cost of permanent staff should remain eligible, under specific conditions;
the upper rate co-financing rate should be extended to 85% in less developed regions (as defined in the Structural Funds Regulations) and in the outermost regions;
the programme shall also be open to Overseas Countries and Territories of the EU
The new LIFE programme reflects some key recommendations and amendments proposed by the CoR, such as:
• it includes the new category of integrated projects;
• a reinforcement of the involvement of stakeholders integrated projects in Article 2 (d);
• the opening of the LIFE Programme in Article 6 to Overseas Countries and Territories;
• the provisions in Article 17 to ensure that at least 81 % of the LIFE budget shall be allocated to innovative financial instruments and projects supported by means of action grants, and a maximum of 30% of the budget allocated to actions grants for integrated projects;
• explicit reference in Art 19 (3) that the Projects financed by the LIFE Programme under one priority area (e.g. climate change) shall avoid undermining environmental or climate objectives in another priority area and, where possible, promote synergies between different objectives;
• the introduction of an additional category of capacity building projects aimed at financially supporting, for a maximum duration of two years and not more than once per Member State per programming period, the national or regional contact point of LIFE – this reflects the CoR’s call for better training of national contact points;
• VAT and staff costs are in general accepted as eligible cost, following the provisions of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2013 (Article 20);

However, the LIFE regulation foresees a slightly lower budget for the progamme then initially proposed by the European Commission (the CoR even called for an increase), and a lower co-financing rates than recommended by the CoR.
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS



- given the substantial challenges that exist in this field, would welcome a substantially greater increase in the programme's budget, whilst recognising that the exact figure cannot be agreed until the Multi-annual Financial Framework negotiations are concluded;

- supports the new approach of "Integrated Projects", however requests that accessibility and involvement of stakeholders in integrated projects should be more encouraged; that marine environment, soil and noise as priority should be added as further primarily relevant areas of integrated projects; and that appropriate coordination mechanisms of LIFE with other EU funds in the Common Strategic Framework and with Prioritised Action Frameworks (PAFs) for financing Natura 2000 are put in place;

- believes that the removal of VAT as eligible expenditure is liable to deter many potential applicants from developing a proposal and suggests that VAT is accepted as eligible costs if the beneficiaries can prove that VAT cannot be recovered;

- recommends that the cost of permanent staff remain eligible, with the condition that it is proven and documented that the staff in question are formally seconded to the activities of the project, on a full- or part-time basis;

- proposes that the upper rate co-financing rate should be extended to 85% in less developed regions (as defined in the Structural Funds Regulations) and in the outermost regions;

- requests that the LIFE programme shall also be open to Overseas Countries and Territories of the EU which are party to the "Overseas Association Decision" (Council Decision 2001/822/EC), which are responsible for much of the EU’s biodiversity.
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