Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-01-17-Speech-1-077"

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"Mr President, we should not forget that the main, strategic objective of the Structural and Cohesion Funds and of their coordination is to achieve economic and social cohesion. We are obliged to participate in drafting directives and also in assessing their results. We are obliged to do so because we are the representatives of the citizens in a Europe of Citizens and not just in a Europe of States and of Regions. We feel that the Funds are a necessary but insufficient condition for achieving economic and social cohesion. We might be mistaken in using the gross domestic product per inhabitant as the sole indicator. Some speakers have already mentioned unemployment and the fall in population. We will have to study several indicators, which will enable us to see the current state of regional societies that are in a worse situation than others, and how they are evolving. It is clear from some of the reports that have been presented to Parliament’s plenary sitting today that Europe’s 25 most prosperous regions enjoy a level of unemployment which is five times lower than in the 25 least prosperous regions. This fact means that the European Parliament, the Commissioner and the Commission must act decisively and strategically. I agree that the European Parliament did not have the opportunity – or that it was not given the opportunity, as we had reached the end of the parliamentary term – to discuss the directives. I do not think, however, that this report has come too late. We need to consider it together, so that the new Objective 1 programmes and the plans for regional development, which have been drafted before the directives come into force, can be submitted for revision and proper assessment. We all agree that we should ask that, halfway through these programmes, when the assessment of the directives is made, Parliament should be given an equally influential role on the grounds that we are the citizens’ representatives. Our citizens cannot accept that the European Union takes decisions in a way that is, at least on the face of it, bureaucratic. They need to see the political dimension working, to see that officials accept their responsibilities and that there is communication with the citizens. This is what we are today asking the Commissioner for. I would like to think that, given his previous experience as a regional President, he will agree to propose indicators, and a strategy, which will favour economic and social cohesion and not just productivity."@en1

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