Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2002-11-06-Speech-3-200"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen and rapporteur, I want to thank you for a sound report and an interesting debate. As the last person to speak, I can say that. Regional policy is extremely important for today’s EU, but also in terms of solidarity in the EU of the future. The closer we get to 2007, the more intensive are the discussions in our regions of what the future will entail. I can confirm that there is a lot of concern in the regions about what will happen regarding future structural policy. As the Commission’s reports show, we still have problems, for example with unemployment and wider gulfs between city areas and other regions that are lagging behind. We must make effective use of currently available resources, something which also applies to future structural fund budgets. That is why it is important to have partnerships, substantial regional influence on how the money is used and a simplification of administrative methods so that red tape does not prevent the regions from making good use of the money. One of the excellent things about the report is the emphasis it places upon the fact that geographically disadvantaged regions must be given priority in the structural funds of the future. We know that a very great many regions are very far away from the large markets and have to live with that geographical fact. I also think that Amendment No 10 from my own group, the Group of the Party of European Socialists, is extremely important, pointing out as it does that indicators other than GDP must govern the use of the structural funds. Finally, I want to emphasise how important it is for the policy areas to promote regional development. If they do not do so, regional policy will be ineffectual. Agricultural policy, especially transport policy, must promote regional equality."@en1

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