Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-10-23-Speech-2-167"

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"Mr President, I do not want to repeat things, so I will stick to just a handful of points – although James Elles has stolen some of the thunder from my speech with his last two points. I congratulate the rapporteurs. Their work is never easy. This year they have done a particularly good job under difficult circumstances. I welcome the President-in-Office's statement that at the next conciliation he hopes we can get an agreement with the Council. I hope so too because on 20 July, at the last conciliation, we agreed virtually nothing. There is no point in having conciliation meetings if that is the level we are going to reach. Hopefully, in November we may get something more positive. As for the situation regarding the margins, which the President-in-Office also mentioned, there will not be much of a margin left by the time we vote on Thursday. One of the reasons for that is because, once again, we could not get into any discussions with the Council; we could not get any agreements with the Council. I made the point on several occasions in July that the three institutions must seriously discuss the problems of trying to finance categories 3, 4 and 5 for the future. The Council cannot ignore these categories as though there were no problems. At times it seems it is like an ostrich with its head stuck in the sand trying to ignore all the problems around it. When the Council takes that attitude, we are left talking to the backside, although sometimes we get more sense out of the backside of an ostrich than out of some of the people that we do have to speak to! That is not a reference to you President-in-Office! There are times when it is so frustrating trying to get the message through that we waste our time having conciliation meetings. Hopefully, in November we will get something a lot more concrete. On the issue of reform, James Elles has just touched on a very significant point. I was going to refer to the concern that we have about the progress that is not being made, but Parliament has not helped itself with that decision last night by the Bureau. One has to hope that can be changed rapidly. Realistically, it is now left with the Council: almost three years have passed since the resignation of the Commission, and we still have not seen the reform that everyone is looking for. The general public, the taxpayers of Europe, are looking for the reform which we promised almost three years ago. Where are we? It is stuck in the Council. President-in-Office, you are aware, because I have discussed this issue with you, that the message must get through that we need a solution to this as quickly as possible. Otherwise the whole process will be bogged down in the mire. Hopefully, Parliament can play its part and unravel last night's decision and continue on the track of getting a speedy process going so we can get the whole issue sorted out, not just for the Commission but for all the institutions. I want to turn to the Global Health Fund which we have a budget line and a relatively small amount of money for next year. As we are all aware, the Commission will be bringing forward proposals to finance that from this year's budget, taking EUR 60 million from the general budget and EUR 60 million from the EDF. I need to ask the Commission a question: on the monies from the EDF, once that budget is agreed, it is agreed with the ACP states, so can we be assured that the ACP states have agreed to the use of EUR 60 million for the Global Health Fund? Several of my colleagues have asked me that question, and quite frankly, I do not know the answer to it. So if Commissioner Schreyer could reply to that, I would be grateful. Let me turn to the contentious issue of the A-30 lines. It seems that whenever we vote on the A-30 lines, we please very few people and displease a lot of people. I would hope that the situation that we found ourselves in this time will give us the courage for next year to make proposals which envisage a more transparent system. We are concerned that if we hand the whole process over to the Commission, it will be no better. The Commission will take the decisions instead of Parliament. I hope we can get some sort of an agreement within Parliament on how we handle A-30 in the future. Finally, I want to make a plea to the Council and to repeat what I said in conciliation and at the recent trialogue. What we need is a working group of the Council and Parliament at a political level to start looking at value for money within the European Union, to look at the institutions, to look at the activities and to make sure that we can persuade the taxpayers that they really are getting value for money. I hope you will take that on board."@en1

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