Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-07-04-Speech-3-326"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, we are now completing another phase in the process of attempting to adopt, hopefully in December, the budget for 2002. This is a lengthy and complex process which, on the basis of the proposals made by the European Commission, seeks to achieve agreement between the Council and the European Parliament, the two branches of the budgetary authority. Such agreement will require respect for the regulatory framework, for the existing agreements and between the institutions concerned, taking account of the representativeness of each one and the priorities that they legitimately define. We must, therefore, work on the essence of the positions held by each of the parties involved, otherwise we will not be able to reach any kind of agreement. I must emphasise that the report we are now discussing is a basis for negotiating with other institutions, which has been defined in accordance with the guidelines that we adopted in April; it is not the European Parliament’s final position on the 2002 budget. As the basis for negotiations, it must not address issues on which Parliament has the final say. It must lead to a discussion of aspects on which more positions held from more of a remove are required on issues on which the Council has the final say. This applies to agricultural spending, security policy and international fisheries agreements. It is the most basic common sense also to address other key issues, such as the level of payments for next year and the pace of the Commission reform. We are therefore, I repeat, in a negotiating phase. I must emphasise the essence of Parliament’s positions, with which you are, of course, all familiar. In December 2000, the Council agreed that, by 30 June of this year, the Commission would present a progress report on a raft of matters, with a view to increasing the levels and the quality of budgetary implementation, improving coordination between legislative and budgetary procedures, and ensuring the success of the Commission reform. This means that one of Parliament’s priorities is to consider issues of the budget’s quality, and their impact, and to assess and take account of the budget’s implementation. The progress report has already been presented by the Commission, which is cause for satisfaction, and we are sure that it will seen as the crucial instrument that it is and which we are already beginning to study. Furthermore, in April of this year, the European Parliament adopted guidelines that suggest the perennial matters in the progress report that I have just mentioned as political priorities, as well as food safety and consumer confidence, together with sustainable agriculture, the definition of priorities and, more generally, better implementation of the budget, including very specific aspects such as learning, a key aspect of the priority that is always given to issues of employment and social inclusion, and policy development in the field of asylum and immigration. In this context, it is understandable that there should be concern at the speed at which commitments are met by making payments in due time and, at the same time, effectively reducing the amount of delayed payments and reducing the amount of RAL (amounts outstanding). We feel, therefore, that we must take maximum advantage of the payment possibilities laid down in the financial perspective and we want to respect the financial perspective for 2002 to a value of 1.14% of the combined GNP of the Member States. I must also highlight the following: the need for a precise, rigorous and up-to-date assessment of the implementation of the common agricultural policy reform, specifically taking account of the consequences of the BSE and foot-and-mouth crises. We also need a timetabled approach to the future, which involves respecting the commitments given by the European Union at successive European Councils, particularly the Lisbon Council on employment and competitiveness, the Tampere Council on asylum and immigration and the Nice Council on the consequences of failing to conclude fisheries agreements with Morocco; the clarification of costs for external policy and common security, particularly with regard to the division of responsibilities between the Council and the Commission, respect for the financial perspective’s ceilings in category 4 too, in which attention must be paid to the traditional priorities of the European Parliament, which are well-known; the precise identification of real expenditure resulting from the enlargement process, with particular emphasis on administrative expenditure in category 5 and lastly, real consideration of the proposals previously made by Parliament, especially those relating to preparatory action and pilot projects. I shall end here, in the hope that on 20 July – the date scheduled for the conciliation meeting – the positive and constructive spirit that I personally feel, will spread to all of those present."@en1

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