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". Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, the process that will culminate in the vote on the Culture Framework Programme 2007-2013 at second reading has been complex and slow: slow essentially because of a series of setbacks regarding the financial perspective, as we all recall, and complex due to the nature of the issue and to the varied range of contributions to the debate from all members of the other committees that issued their opinions with the members of the committee directly concerned. This is a third generation programme aimed at going further and being more effective than previous ones. It is a programme that encompasses a broader range of actions and boasts a larger number of interested Member States. It also involves higher management and monitoring costs, and yet the budgetary appropriation falls well short of what it needs to achieve these objectives and well short of what all those responsible – the members of the Commission, the ministers of culture, the cultural agents and operators, and the politicians – feel is absolutely vital. Even so, I feel that we should express the wish that the Culture Programme 2007-2013 is a great success and that it makes an eloquent contribution to the development of the Europe to which we are all committed. What ensued from all of these contributions was rich dialogue on the Culture Framework Programme 2007-2013, which subsequently went from first reading to the current stage of proceedings. This process was marked by formal and informal interventions from both the Commission and the Council, leading to fruitful exchanges of views and consensus positions that can only be viewed as extremely positive. As a result of all of this, most of the amendments adopted by this Chamber at first reading have been enshrined in the common position. Of these amendments, I wish to highlight the explicit reference, in the recitals and in the body of Article 3, to the importance of a common cultural heritage shared by Europeans, an idea that encapsulates the objectives of the programme. We must accordingly monitor, at all times, the implementation of the specific objectives laid down by the programme relating to this enormously extensive heritage, which has for centuries been ingrained in all fields of human activity. Given that these fields relate to our civilisation and culture, they also reflect our identity. It has also been possible to agree on satisfactory arrangements for the duration of the actions, scheduled to take between one and five years; for the intervention of cultural operators, the number of which per country will vary according to the nature of the action; and for the funds from the budget granted to each of the sectors concerned, in particular the granting of additional resources for cooperation measures, that is to say, for smaller projects, as opposed to larger-scale or multiannual cooperation projects. This will make it possible to consider actions by small-scale operators, who tend to be closest to the citizens, without neglecting the larger-scale, more visible actions that involve more countries over a longer period of time. In addition to all of this, I would like to highlight the provision for special actions aimed at raising awareness among Europe’s citizens of cultural diversity in the Member States. Some of these actions are already provided for, such as the European capitals of culture, and support for European bodies operating in the field of culture, which, very importantly, function as ambassadors for European culture, and many of which have received crucial backing from Parliament in the past. If the rules change on account of the financial regulations in force and these bodies thus find themselves having to apply for the aid they need under the Culture Programme 2007-2013, it is vital that they are not overlooked and that they remain able to pursue their actions. The Commission and the Council expect that the multidisciplinary nature of the programme will make it highly flexible and able to support many innovative proposals. In spite of some reservations that I expressed during the debate at first reading, I sincerely hope that they are right. Against this backdrop of the institutions working together and heading in the same direction, there is just one negative point, which is easy to spot. I refer to what can only be described as the very meagre resources granted to the Culture Programme 2007-2013. At first reading, a number of us who contributed to the debate – in other words, not only me, the rapporteur – drew attention to this point."@en1

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