Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/1999-09-14-Speech-2-151"

PredicateValue (sorted: default)
dcterms:Is Part Of
lpv:document identification number
lpv:spoken text
". – Mr President, can I just make a point to our colleague at the back who came in on a point of order, which was not actually a point of order but a criticism. On this occasion the Commission is not presenting anything – it is the Council which is presenting its draft budget. And on an occasion like this the Commission is not necessarily the enemy - in fact it is quite a friend. The opposition is these people here! Let us not lose sight of the fact that a budget has been presented to us today. In Category 4, the 10% across the board cut – I am now speaking for Parliament before it has decided this – I would assume is absolutely unacceptable. Yes, Kosovo is a priority; yes, we do want to make sure that funds are available for East Timor and earthquake victims in Turkey. But the way to do that is by a revision of the financial perspective. That will be our position, I am sure. Yes, we want a solution. We do not want confrontation between our two bodies but at the end of the day we want to make sure that development, other sections of Category 4 and external expenditure are not disadvantaged. If money cannot be spent then we will look at those areas where it may have to be reduced. But a 10% across the board cut is not the way to do it. On Category 5, the sad part is that we still see no solutions being proposed by the Council on how to solve the problem of pensions within the institutions. I am sure my colleagues Mr Bourlanges and Mr Virrankoski will add to my comments. We look forward to our first reading next month when the Council will get a pretty good idea of our opinion of its draft budget. That is no condemnation of the President-in-Office, for whom I have great regard. Also Mr President, as you said, this process has gone on for several months. A lot of people have been involved and a lot of hard work has gone into it. I want to name two people who have been very much involved. One is Mr Samland, the previous Chairman of the Committee on Budgets, who left Parliament at the end of the last mandate. He worked tirelessly right up to the end to make sure that we could get the cooperation between the Council and Parliament that we need to get the budget we all want in the year 2000. The other person I want to thank is Mr Liikanen. As Commissioner - or Commissioner-designate - this is probably the last time you will sit here on a budgets issue. We have not clashed over the last few years but have had opportunities to try and solve a lot of problems. You deserve the praise of this Parliament for the work you have done in the budgetary areas and especially in some of the areas where you have tried to change things within the Commission. I should like to wish you well for the future. Mr President, that has got the nice bits out of the way. Let us now get down to the budget. Let us not get this debate mixed up with tomorrow’s debate on the supplementary and amending budgets 1, 3 and 4 for 1999 because, when the President-in-Office says that this spirit of cooperation is based on mutual trust (that is what I wrote down) between the institutions, I only have to remind the Council of what it did with supplementary and amending budgets 1 and 3 and our reaction to it. That had nothing to do with a spirit of cooperation and it certainly did not breed mutual trust. I am reminded of a story I once told Mr Liikanen. Mrs Dührkop, when she was the rapporteur, likened the harmonious relationships to a symphony being played on a grand piano. It reminded me of a famous comedy duo in the UK – Morecombe and Wise – where Eric Morecombe was playing a grand piano and making an awful noise and André Previn said to him “You’re playing all the wrong notes”, to which he replied “I’m playing all the right notes, not necessarily in the right order”. We have to get the right notes between the Council and the Parliament playing in the right order if we are to have this harmonious relationship. Madam President-in-Office, you reminded us of those areas where we did get agreement in the trialogues, about the letters of amendment in the autumn, about the commitment appropriations in the Structural Funds and about what our clear priorities should be. You also said that the budget should have the same discipline as national budgets. We have always considered that this Parliament’s Committee on Budgets and Parliament itself are extremely prudent. They do not go out of their way to make problems in the budget or to waste taxpayers’ money. Our problems are caused in the main in Member States, where 85% of EU money is actually administered and 85% of our problems occur. If we had more cooperation with the Member States we would not have as many problems. Also, there are many Member States’ national budgets which are running deficits. That is one thing we cannot do. On the different categories, on Category 1 I would agree with the President-in-Office when she said that agricultural expenditure should be based on up-to-date facts. That is why we agreed on an ad hoc procedure; that is why we agreed on the letter of amendment in the autumn. But for the life of me I cannot see why you have actually made cuts in Category 1. If we are waiting to find out what the latest situation is, why have we made reductions in Category 1 already? It just seems to be an exercise of taking money out of the system because that is the thing to do to please the Member States. As for Category 2, we may have the commitment on commitment appropriations but we certainly do not have the same understanding when it comes to payments. Taking EUR 1billion from payments, once again, is just a burden for the future. The Member States have to pay some time. It is no use trying to dodge the fact or hide it away. It will not go away. That money has to be paid for sometime. We would argue that now is the right time and that decision should not be delayed. Looking at the reductions made in Category 3, there are many areas where we will disagree and agree to disagree."@en1

Named graphs describing this resource:


The resource appears as object in 2 triples

Context graph