Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2002-09-24-Speech-2-147"

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"Mr President, we have never done anything like this before and I welcome the opportunity to open this debate. In normal, run-of-the-mill circumstances when we have the budget debate, we have already voted on first readings in committee, we come to the Chamber and most of us make a three-minute speech if we are lucky or, if not, a one and a half minute speech. What is more, they are statements and nothing is really gained because the work has already been done. What we are trying to gain from this session is a real dialogue, mainly with the Commission, but also with the Council, to seek guidance on how we should vote next week and to ask questions concerning events since the preliminary draft budget (PDB) was first presented. Since the PDB several things have happened, including the Council's vote on its draft budget which is what we vote upon. Our committees have been working with the rapporteurs to ensure that we can bring forward sensible amendments. As always, the amendments in front of us always exceed the amount of money that is available. It is the job of both our rapporteurs to assess those amendments. No doubt during the debate you will be asked questions concerning what you think of some of those amendments. We also have the situation of a more precise legislative programme since the PDB and we need to assess the changes. We have had external events such as the floods and we want to know how these will affect next year's budget. From our own perspective there are areas where we are unclear on how things will be funded. For instance, we still have no agreement with the Council or the Commission on how the EUR 27 million in Category 2 for the fisheries reconstruction programme will be found. Maybe someone will ask about that and if there are any ideas we will be grateful to hear them. A prime objective of the Development Committee is to ensure that the Global Health Fund has a significant amount of money. One of the reasons for this is that if we do not put in significant amounts the European Union may not have a seat at the table – a seat on the board. Is that true? What amounts do we need? I would hope that this issue will also be raised with the Commission so we can have guidance on it. With those few opening remarks, let me thank not only the Commission in general but also the individual Commissioners who are going to contribute to this debate. I would also like to thank the President-in-Office for being here. I hope the debate will be useful, fruitful and influence our votes next week in committee, because if it does not we will all have wasted four hours of our time."@en1

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