Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-01-17-Speech-1-078"

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"Mr President, I support the main proposals of the report concerning the administration of the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund for the period 2000-2006 and the main recommendations of the report which include the following: there must always be an integrated approach to the spending of EU Structural and Cohesion Funds. This means that there must be a comprehensive partnership between local authorities and national governments with regard to how these funds are to be spent. Member States are urged to attach greater importance to integrated strategies for revitalising relations between towns and rural areas. This latter point is of particular importance. While urban renewal in our cities is very important we must always strike a balance in our policies between promoting rural development and improving the lives of city dwellers. We do not want to build a Europe of cities alone. The Structural Funds have played a key role in the development both of urban and rural parts of peripheral countries, mainly through the upgrading of roads, water treatment and related transport networks. This process will continue in accordance with the financial spending guidelines laid down by the EU leaders at their Berlin Summit last year, which were supported by Parliament at its last May plenary part-session. Key EU programmes between 1989, 1993, 1994 and 1999 have certainly helped to improve the economic competitiveness of peripheral countries and Objective 1 regions within Europe. The key now is to consolidate and make permanent the progress made to date. This would ensure that the peripheral countries and the ultraperipheral regions, the poorer regions in Europe, are in a position to operate successfully within the new euro currency zone, as well as within an ever-expanding internal market where the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital exist. In conclusion, while key infrastructure projects have been supported by the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund, we should remember that the European Social Fund has played a very important role in helping the less well-off in our society. The Social Fund has certainly improved our third-level institutions, financed our post-leaving certificate programmes and put in place comprehensive schemes to help combat youth and long-term unemployment, assist early school leavers and promote higher standards of adult literacy."@en1

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