Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-05-16-Speech-2-041"

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". Mr President, Mr Vice-President of the Commission, ladies and gentlemen, not even the Committee on Transport and Tourism thinks it makes sense to reinvent the wheel, and that is why we welcome the Commission’s action in consciously flagging up its intention to follow up the success of the Marco Polo I programme by attempting, with this proposal, to continue the approaches that made Marco Polo I successful, and to do so with seamless continuity, which, among other things, means, in particular, ensuring that we will, in time – that is to say, on 1 January of the coming year – be in a position to launch Marco Polo II. Vice-President Barrot has already described in detail what Marco Polo II is intended to achieve, and so I can, quite deliberately, keep this brief. In essence, the object is to continue the old programme, but with added value in two respects, in that a great deal more money will be available for Marco Polo II than was for Marco Polo I, and so we will have the chance of even greater success than before in moving traffic onto environmentally safer modes of transport. Although we have not managed to get the 47 million on which we originally set our sights, I do believe that the compromise – which had to be reached within the limits of the general financial perspective – does show that the Commission, like the other two institutions, the Council and Parliament, regards Marco Polo as an important programme. Another ‘plus’ is that we have taken quite deliberate account in the programme of the expansion of Marco Polo I in response to new and changing circumstances. We are working on the assumption that all the EU’s neighbours to the East, as well as those around the Mediterranean, are meant to enjoy the benefits of Marco Polo II, since it makes sense to intercept traffic, and transfer it to environmentally safer modes of transport, as near as possible to the point from which it started out. If I may keep to the analogy with the wheel, we have also given the actions a slight ‘spin’ by adding two new ones – the motorways of the sea, about which the Commissioner has already spoken in detail, and traffic avoidance, although it has to be said that we have had very intensive discussions among ourselves about how this issue might be better addressed. The Vice-President has already pointed out that the object cannot be to use European funds to move jobs around within the EU or out of it, and quite possibly in large numbers; the measures we are proposing must not have that effect and are not meant to. The Marco Polo II programme has, then, in essence had an advance green light from all three institutions, and that has prompted us to make the attempt to complete this legislative project as early as first reading and have it ready for use, and it is thanks to a great deal of willingness on the part of the Commission in particular, but also of the Council of Transport Ministers, that we have succeeded in this. In the ordinary way of things, the Transport Committee does not regard the Council as a partner with whom it has had a long and affectionate relationship, but we have, in this specific instance, managed to work together very constructively. This House regarded the Marco Polo II draft as already satisfactory and saw little need to make any fundamental alteration to it. We in this House saw it as important that we should ensure better opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises, too, or at least opportunities equal to those that Marco Polo projects gave them. We have put forward a number of what I hope are sensible proposals, which have to do, in particular, with reductions in the threshold values applicable to the original Marco Polo I objectives. It is now for all of us to give what we have worked on tangible form, to foster greater efficiency and cut down on red tape. With this project we are sending out a proper and vital message, and I would like, in conclusion to thank all involved – the Commission, the Council and my fellow-Members of this House – for their constructive cooperation. Finally, there is something technical to be considered: because we wanted to wrap this up at first reading, we had to ensure that the two documents – from the Council and from Parliament – were technically compatible. There is still work for the lawyer-linguists in both services to do on this, and for that I ask the House’s indulgence."@en1

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