Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-07-04-Speech-2-163"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, the discussion on the 2001 budget is progressing. We are gradually gaining an understanding of the positions being adopted by the Commission, particularly with regard to the preliminary draft budget, and the Council will soon state its position. I believe that in the course of this complex process, whilst Parliament is working towards consensus on its views amongst Members so that it can advocate these views as vigorously as possible, it must demand complete clarification of the Commission’s proposals, as well as objectivity in the Council’s position. Parliament must then move forward, as a whole, with its own position. So we have reached a stage in the clarification process when “wait and see” stance is appropriate. It seems pointless at this juncture to make threats, to proclaim Parliament’s power or to put forward all of our views at once. Everyone realises, or will realise, the importance of the European Parliament in the budgetary process and how important it is to achieve consensus in this process. I have two final observations. Taking the appropriations for payment as a point of reference, in 2000 these totalled 1.11% of the gross national product of the Member States, but a lower amount is being proposed for 2001, corresponding to 1.0%. Does it make sense to try to deepen the European project and at the same time to reduce the relative value of the European Union budget year on year? And, bearing in mind the figures that I have just mentioned, does it make sense to discuss the financing of new priorities and to actually question some of the priorities already established, while at the same time returning considerable unutilised sums to the Member States? I congratulate Mrs Haug on her fine work. In the meantime, we need to know more about certain fundamental issues, such as: implementation of the 2000 budget, especially both parts 1-A and 1-B of heading 1, “Agriculture”; evaluating the reductions proposed by the Commission in internal policy sectors – heading 3 – particularly bearing in mind the justification for these reductions and their effects on the policies that have been targeted; promoting an in-depth analysis of the proposals for reforming the Commission, including the staffing needs of the directorates-general and its policy on externalisation; identifying the priorities of the Council and the Commission with regard to external actions – heading 4 – and clarifying the relationship between commitments and payments under this heading, by investigating the reasons for the worrying delay in the implementation of commitments and by ascertaining the quality of the expenditure; gaining full information on what is being proposed in the new programme for the Western Balkans, including Serbia and Kosovo, particularly with regard to its financing; information on how it is intended to finance the common security and defence policy. As you will see just from these examples, what we need to know goes well beyond the discussion on financing the Western Balkans. In fact, it would be a mistake for the European Parliament to reduce the discussion of the 2001 budget to this one issue."@en1

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