Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-12-14-Speech-4-113"

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"Mr President, the support funds allocated by the European Union within the framework of its regional policy are not alms from the rich to help the poor. Nor must they become a permanent financial crutch. They are actually intended to help the poor regions to help themselves; investment in a better future is the name of the game. It is therefore gratifying that the communication from the Commission on the regions in the new economy pursues this very aim and does so more effectively than many of the traditional mainstream Objective 1 to 3 programmes. It is a matter of increasing the competitiveness of the European economy and, as has already been emphasised several times today, of ensuring in particular that appropriate initial support is given to those parts of our regions which do not enjoy the same starting conditions as the metropolitan areas and large conurbations. What is rather less encouraging is the fact that the amount of money to be injected into these measures is very modest indeed. The Markov report rightly calls for an increase in this allocation. By earmarking EUR 400 million for this important purpose we are sending out a very weak signal. I also find it less than satisfactory that there is no provision for direct project funding and that programme-based funding has again emerged as the preferred option. The reason for my disapproval is that it removes yet another link that might enable the people of Europe to identify in some way with Brussels. There is also a danger that politicians will engage once more in the traditional game we call in Austria – you may know it as in which local, regional and national politicians try to claim credit for all the good things and to pass the buck to Brussels whenever something goes wrong. In organisational terms, I believe that it makes good sense to focus special support on a small number of aims. I also believe, however, that the division into three priority areas envisaged in the Commission report is somewhat artificial; like the rapporteur, I am inclined to think that we should include more innovative measures in the domains of energy efficiency, propagation of renewable forms of energy and practical implementation of climate protection measures in our catalogue of eligible activities. I consider it especially important that schools and other educational establishments should be involved with these new forms of technology, and I hope they will find a suitable way to make their voices heard here. On this basis it is generally gratifying that we shall be able to continue good pilot projects. I am pleased to report that we in Styria have already gathered very worthwhile experience in the last couple of years with an information offensive launched by the new provincial government. One especially good feature of this initiative is that it has enabled women in particular to familiarise themselves with new information technology and its applications. I do not know whether it is a direct consequence of this initiative that three ladies signed the European budget today, but I should be delighted if this Christmas present on which we are deciding today could also continue to benefit women in the future."@en1
"Old Maid"1

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