Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-09-05-Speech-3-268"

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". Mr President, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, Commissioner, in the months between now and December, we have a great deal of work to do in order to reach the necessary agreement on the next budget. The positions of the European institutions are currently quite far removed from one another on very important issues. As far as the European Parliament is concerned, there are prior conditions that must be met: the first is to ensure rigour and transparency in the budget and in its implementation; secondly, to only adopt a position if and provided that the necessary information is available to us. In this context, I must once again make my continuing objections perfectly clear. Where agriculture is concerned, we need information on the results that have already been achieved by the last reform of the common agricultural policy; with regard to the medium-term budgetary impact of the BSE and foot-and-mouth crises and also with regard to the obstacles holding up the rapid establishment of the new food safety authority and even with regard to the prospects for the short and medium-term development of these issues. As for the structural funds, we want to be sure that the budget will have the necessary means to undertake speedy payment of the commitments it has taken on. Under the terms of the proposals that have been tabled, just over 1% of the commitments taken on in 2002 will be paid within the same year. In the field of internal policy – category 3 – we can see that new expenditure on new actions and bodies is increasing yet the overall sum remains the same. The margin is, of course, decreasing. With regard to the European Union’s external action – category 4 – new needs are clear and cannot be met by previous reductions in commitments, either through cuts in appropriations committed or through delaying payments, as is happening now. Nevertheless, appropriations have been earmarked for the fisheries agreement with Morocco, which we all know will not be concluded, in an attempt to thereby freeze EUR 125 million in a category that is clearly experiencing difficulties. Since this is non-mandatory expenditure, I feel sure that Parliament will also shoulder its responsibilities in this area. In category 5, administrative expenditure, on the one hand the content and pace of the Commission reform is limited and on the other, expenditure is duplicated in the field of security and defence and there is an attempt to confront enlargement without spending additional appropriations, the opposite of what the interinstitutional agreement lays down. With regard to pre-accession expenditure, payments are being delayed and it is hard to see how this proposal can improve the situation. The implementation of previous budgets does not give any grounds for being sanguine about the future. Given the well-documented difficulties in meeting certain longstanding and more recent commitments, how can we accept the fact that in 2001, Member States have been given back almost EUR 10 billion, which remain unused? On the one hand, there are discussions about whether the euro is a good or a bad thing and on the other, 12% of the 2000 budget remains unused, which alone indicates how important it is for Parliament to take increasingly effective control of the budget’s implementation. We will only take decisions on agricultural issues if we have a full understanding of the present situation and an idea of how things are going to change. We cannot accept the level of payments that has been proposed, all the more so because we want to make good past delays without undermining the current situation. We want a clear and objective definition of priorities and targets for the entire budget. We do not agree with the earmarking of appropriations which we know from the outset will not be used. Specifically, we need to identify current expenditure resulting from enlargement. We are hoping to see a real reform of the Commission and a corresponding increase in efficiency. To sum up, we want to fully shoulder the responsibilities we have as a budgetary authority which stem from our very which is to represent those who elect us. This is what we shall do, whilst stating once more our complete willingness to cooperate in finding the best solutions for outstanding issues."@en1

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