11 May, 2006
UEF meets Commissioner Jan Figel
On 10 May Jan FIGEL, Commissioner for Education, Training, culture and multilingualism, welcomed a delegation consisting of Henrik KRÖNER (Secretary-General of European Movement International), Hanneli EBDING (Director of the European Secretariat of the UEF) and Friedhelm FRISCHENSCHLAGER (UEF Secretary-General), thus following the kind request of the latter.
During this one hour meeting Commissioner Figel took the time to listen to the UEF’s concerns. Mr. Frischenschlager described the difficulties NGOs have to face because of the Commissions’ lengthy decision procedures concerning the operational grants. Six months after having applied for the operational grant 2006, thus in the middle of the year the grant is needed for, organisations such as the UEF and EMI have not been notified whether their request has been successful or not.

Commissioner Figel expressed his regrets and stated that many stakeholders were involved in the decision process. Furthermore, due to the abolishment of the “earmarking” - by which organisations such as the UEF were granted financial support - more time was needed. Mr. Figel pointed out that the abolishment of the earmarking was implemented at the request of the member states, and not by the Commission.

The Commissioner proposed that the UEF expresses its concerns also to the European Council and the European Parliament. His Directorate General, the DG for Education, Training, Culture and multilingualism, had created platforms for meetings with the beneficiaries to exchange views and ideas. Commissioner Figel invited the UEF to take part in these meetings in the future.

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