Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-01-17-Speech-1-075"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, I would like to thank Mrs Schroedter for an excellent report. She has gone into the issue in some depth and in the committee debate she took account of many of the amendments that have been tabled regarding this report. The rapporteur has also quite rightly stated that Parliament was not heard in time regarding the guidelines. We are badly behind now in this matter. Hopefully, the stands Parliament has taken will help, however, in the mid-term appraisal of the programmes and in their practical implementation. For the time, the report grew too large when it was being debated. It contained details and issues that had already been raised in previous reports. At this stage it is more important to concentrate on assessing how we can use this process to steer Union regional policy, bearing in mind that the aim is to reduce regional inequality. Our Group emphasises the importance of the principle of subsidiarity, the responsibility of Member States and the role of local players in drafting and implementing programmes. It is especially important to get SMEs involved in the planning and implementation of programmes. Our Group also considers it important to take greater account of remote and peripheral areas and wishes to increase interaction between towns and rural areas. We oppose the excessive control the central administration of the Union and its Member States exercises and we are calling for a reduction in the bureaucracy that has taken root in the drafting and implementation of programmes. Projects implemented with support from the Union have had their effect watered down all too often by slow decision making and complicated administrative processes. Funds have often been granted for projects which have had no lasting benefit for the area concerned. Projects have to be carried out more efficiently, more flexibly and they have to be made more productive. While the report was being prepared, it was interesting to discuss the Union’s regional policy in general. For us new members, it was the first time, and this was a very interesting process. This report is very good and our Group supports it."@en1

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