Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-01-17-Speech-1-074"

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"Mr President, it is incumbent upon me to remind my colleague, Mr Evans, of why Wales actually achieved Objective 1 status. It was because of the discredited policies of his own Conservative Party. Let me also remind him that when his party leader, Mr Hague, was Secretary of State for Wales, he broke every rule in the book on additionality which led to a stern letter from Commissioner Wulf-Mathies regarding regulatory requirements. I can tell you that the British Government is aware of its regulatory requirements on Objective 1 additionality. I suggest Mr Evans goes back and reads the regulation. My Group has made extensive amendments to both reports up for debate today. I want to focus our minds on the essential role of the guidelines. The objective is to provide a framework and tool to support and enhance economic regeneration, to get the most effective use of resources in the widest partnership and to put these regions back on the road to recovery and sustainable development so that eventually they come off the regional life-support machine. It is important to identify the skills and potential of our regions in the hi-tech sector. It is particularly important in the light of reports in the media that Europe is rapidly losing ground to the US in the hi-tech growth industries of the future. The operation of the previous round of programmes is also very instructive in telling us what guidelines should not be about. They should not be about creating additional layers of bureaucracy and red tape. They should not be about shifting priorities and policies halfway through project development, resulting in inevitable delays and underspends, particularly in the light of the new budgetary requirement. The implementation and operation of the guidelines cannot be left to the personal interpretation of one or other desk officer, either in the Commission or in the civil service. There must be an internal coherence in the Commission directorate, while respecting the specific local and regional aspects of Commission programmes. The conclusion is that we must make the case for guidelines to be broad, indicative and flexible to assist our programme managers and fund-users and to get the maximum potential out of our new fields of regeneration. If we can inject a spirit of entrepreneurial activity into our poor and structurally weak regions we will eventually get them back onto the road of attracting substantial investor confidence, which will be the key to future success. This is how we are going to judge the success of these guidelines: whether EU regional policy with a good, solid, enabling guideline, can open up new opportunities and allow our poor and structurally weak regions to play their full part in contributing to the growth and prosperity of the EU."@en1
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