Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-10-24-Speech-2-188"

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"Mr President, I should like to make three points. Firstly, I should like to thank the rapporteur for increasing payment appropriations for priority programmes linked to the Lisbon Agenda, like the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme and the Seventh Framework Programme for Research. These are key initiatives that not only provide work for Europe’s valuable and highly skilled scientists but also prepare the EU to face future challenges as a global leader. We should not overlook the significant and positive impact that they have on our regions and their populations. Secondly, I commend this report for the concern it expresses for the Galileo Programme, which has been under-funded in the 2007 draft general budget. This showcase EU programme is a major technological, economic and political challenge and we really need to be sure about it. I do not understand why we are prepared to cut funding in this area. It would be an embarrassment for the EU if this project were to stall or fail due to lack of financial backing. Thirdly, since many areas, such as the ones I have just mentioned, require increased funding, I do not understand why, when the ITRE Committee’s request is for a smaller budget, this does not come from the Security and Space Research programme, where we should reduce payments and not increase them. Turning to more general non-ITRE issues, on the structural funds I support the call in this report for an increase in payments. This is the one area where ordinary citizens see the difference EU policies make to their everyday lives. My own region, the West Midlands, is a case in point. EU funds have acted as a catalyst in re-energising the potential and development of local communities. On external affairs, Asia is one of the largest and most populous regions in the world. It contains 60% of the world’s population. So I am amazed that the Commission has cut funding. Last year money for the tsunami disaster was taken from other Asian programmes without any increase and this year, because the tsunami funding has decreased, the Commission has cut the funding again. Has the Commission forgotten that the money is desperately needed by the Asian programmes which were sacrificed, where the EU is committed to meeting Millennium Development Goals? I ask the Commission to justify this. I welcome this report’s call for transparency in the allocation of funding for information and communication. We need full transparency across the board, so EU taxpayers’ money spent on EU policies should be totally traceable and published on the Internet. Then we can see exactly how much money goes to whom. This applies equally to the Members of this House and especially to agriculture. Finally, I should like to congratulate both the rapporteurs, Mr Elles and Mr Grech, on producing excellent reports. I thank them for their hard work."@en1
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