Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/1999-11-16-Speech-2-024"

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"Mr President, almost thirty years ago it was decided to replace the system of revenues then in force, based on the contribution of the Member States, with a system of own resources. The importance of this decision is obvious. Now that three decades have passed, the weaknesses of the current system are only too well known. It is not adequate and it is not simple, logical, transparent or fair. It is therefore unsustainable. It is the result of successive, confused judgements which have been forced by the needs, pressures and interests of those who, in different contexts and historical periods, have had the ability to protect them. The perverse relationship between the contribution from each Member State and its relative ability to guarantee it is unacceptable. The United Kingdom’s system of positive discrimination, based on the destructive concept of fair return is unjustifiable. The idea of investing the European Union with own resources has, for this reason, remained a good intention. Even now, instead of introducing urgently needed reform, the Berlin Council has limited itself to a new raft of small judgements that have resulted from major commitments. To insist on the current logic of expenditure in which the consequences of the common agricultural policy are increased, which, apart from jeopardising any aim for fairness which has been accepted as a principle of the Treaties, is political in name only. To insist on the system of revenues currently in force, the product of different, contradicting interests, is irreparably incompatible with the desire to develop the project of enlargement of our geographical area. All of this has been studied, known and discussed for far too long. We are not even talking about disproportionate resources. This is a sum that corresponds, in the Council’s proposal for Budget 2000, to only 1.10% of the Community’s GNP and this year could reach 1.27%. This is a fundamental issue. The success of the European Union’s pledge before its citizens and the world depends on our ability to show that we are facing up to the necessary reform. I know that this is a complex issue, as I know what a utopian idea it would be to try to start afresh. The past cannot be erased and has produced many good things. But to continue postponing decisions on this matter is to postpone much more than a difficult decision on the European Union financing system. It would affect a project in which I consciously maintain confidence, as do so many of our fellow citizens, aware as I am of its problems and its potential. Only a new approach to the issue of own resources which does not increase the fiscal burden on taxpayers, one which makes the system more transparent, simpler and more rational can provide the European Union with equitable conditions."@en1

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