Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2003-03-11-Speech-2-050"

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"Madam President, the Committee on Budgets decided that it would be wise to draw up a report on this subject. As a consensus could not be reached on the person to draft it, it decided that the Chairman of the committee should also be the rapporteur and I was left with the wonderful task of putting this report together. Because of that, I am wearing three hats at the same time – if that is possible. I wear one hat as the rapporteur and reflect the wishes of the committee in the way it has voted and amended the original draft. I wear another hat as the Chairman of the committee, thereby keeping an eye on the rapporteur. I wear my third hat as a British Labour Member who is at odds with a number of amendments from his own political family, the PSE. It has not been easy trying to put those three together. It is fair to say that the only change I attempted to make to this report was to try to merge Paragraphs 6 and 8 to make it more coherent. However, I failed to achieve a consensus amongst the political groups and, therefore, the report stands as it is. If I could change those hats – which I cannot because I am wearing my hat as the rapporteur – and if I were speaking as a British Labour Member, then I would approve Mrs Buitenweg's text as it reads well, it is simple, concise and, in particular, it does not make any big deal about own-resources! However, I would run a mile – well perhaps I could manage half a mile – from the amendments by the PSE Group! Let me make it absolutely clear that I am not speaking as a British Labour Member and, therefore, I cannot say those things. I have to wear my hat as the rapporteur and speak as the rapporteur, knowing full well that the Chairman is keeping a watchful eye on what I say. In fairness, the report is acceptable to all the political groups. The vote was almost unanimous in committee, but there are one or two small points of disagreement on own-resources. That is why the PSE Group has tabled two amendments. What we are all agreed upon is that the budget procedure needs to be simplified. That is quite clear. The own-resources system in this age of transparency is completely opaque and no one outside the Committee on Budgets or the Budget Directorate-General understands what it is about and how it is made up. Codecision is needed and, therefore, compulsory and non-compulsory expenditure need to be eradicated. This is stated quite simply in the first three paragraphs of Mrs Buitenweg's report. We need to reform, update and simplify our procedures. There is a need for the budgetary system to be more transparent, comprehensive and democratic, and the codecision procedure should apply to all legislation, including the Financial Regulation and the budgetary procedure. Under those conditions, compulsory and non-compulsory expenditure would disappear. I hope when we vote on this – I am sure the vote will be successful – that we can send this along to the members of the Convention and that our Parliament representatives on the Convention can present this as Parliament's position for the future."@en1

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