Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2002-03-12-Speech-2-042"

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"Mr President, I add my congratulations to the rapporteurs on the work that has been done but have one criticism to make on the guidelines in general, which is not necessarily the fault of the rapporteurs, but of the committee and the other committees. Guidelines should be just that and they should be concise. They should not form a volume on the scale of which is what they invariably turn out to be. There are 41 paragraphs in Mr Färm's report, 34 paragraphs in Mr Stenmarck's report and another 38 amendments to vote on later on. That is my gripe. I would like to make a couple of points on each report. The first is on the Färm report. The problems highlighted concern categories 4 and 5 and I would like to bring to Members' and Parliament's attention the fact that these issues were raised with the Spanish presidency at the trialogue meeting to try and find some sort of solution. On category 4 the Commission has made proposals for a new flexibility instrument for humanitarian aid. I said then, and I say again now, that as far as the Council is concerned hell will freeze over before it agrees to a new flexibility instrument. What we did propose – and what may be negotiated with the Council – was to use existing humanitarian aid reserves and to find wording, without changing the legislation, to make sure we can use them for the problems we find ourselves with in category 4. Regarding category 5: how do we fit everything into the existing ceilings? With great difficulty, unless we make some radical changes. The one thing we have asked the Council to do is to try and find an agreement on these two items during the July conciliation procedure. Rather than drag them out until the conciliation procedure in November or our second reading in December, it would be beneficial to everyone if we could resolve those two issues, in principle, in July. I now turn to Mr Stenmarck's report. One part relates to category 5, where the Committee on Budgets has created a working group to look at administration expenditure in all the institutions. The reason for doing this was to get some political commitment from the Council to do exactly the same thing or to do it with us. That has not yet been forthcoming, but we live in hope. For those Members who have seen the comments in our working documents, do not be too fearful of them. We are trying to look at things that people would not normally touch, but to at least stimulate some debate. Finally, the Stenmarck report touches on what Mr Elles has just mentioned, that is the reference in paragraph 15 to a politically balanced Administration in Parliament. Sometimes we vote on things which on reflection we regret. To have a comment asking for our Administration to be politically balanced would not give the right signals to the outside world. The term 'politically neutral' would be far more acceptable. I am one of those people who think that civil servants should be politically neutral. They should not wear political colours. I also believe that people in the civil service should win promotion because of their ability, not because of their political allegiance. A split vote has been asked for on that matter and I would ask all groups to consider carefully how they will vote."@en1
"Great Expectations"1

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