The European Parliament will spend €45 million (£31m) over the next five years tackling child porn on the Internet, if new measures are adopted later today.

MEPs will decide whether to approve funding for a program designed to promote safer Internet use. The funding will extend an existing program that runs out at the end of this year that tackles child pornography and other illegal material on the Internet through a range of measures including national hotlines.

The Safer Internet Action Plan also raises awareness about the risks of unsuitable material on the Web, and is developing a voluntary code of conduct for ISPs.

Edith Mastenbroek, the Dutch Socialist MEP who drafted a report on the plan up for approval, said the program will help tackle the "biggest problem of safer Internet use for children: the lack of awareness of risks." ISPs say they back the plan, for the most part.

By providing continuing funding until 2009, the network of hotlines can expand, according to Richard Nash, secretary-general of the European Association of Internet Service Providers, EuroISPA. He praised the plan for closely cooperating with industry, and pointed out that ISPs run many of the hotlines.

However, he disagrees with Mastenbroek over one aspect of the plan. Mastenbroek wants to reduce the money available for developing end-user filters and redirect funding toward assessing the effectiveness of different technologies. "The EU should focus the limited amount of money available to filling the gaps the market doesn't fill," she said. Empowering citizens means providing objective filter information, Mastenbroek added.

However, Nash said his organisation believes that filters are a "valuable part of a range of tools" for users to tailor their Internet usage.