Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-10-24-Speech-2-223"
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"Mr President, the European Union is the most ambitious endeavour in history. Yet we are funding this endeavour with a minimum 1% of GDP. It is not only that we are giving so little; it is that the Commission and the Council do not even want the minimum amounts committed to be taken up. The Commission made provision in the preliminary draft for just 1%. The Council reduced it still further to 0.98% and we increased it to 1.04%. The Council is doing its best to reduce funding for the Union, the Commission is not doing its best to defend it and thus this role falls to the European Parliament alone. Many also proposed that we should put spending on agriculture in reserve. We rejected that proposal. The destruction of European farmers is not a development policy or a unification policy of Europe; it is – quite simply – a disastrous policy. Now to a sensitive political issue: we reinstated the amendment for the restoration of Christian churches in northern Cyprus. A vote in favour of this amendment will demonstrate Europe's respect for its cultural heritage and will strengthen the application of European principles for peaceful coexistence between different religious and ethnic groups. Lastly, so far we have been informed after the event about the Council's decisions on the CFSP. This cannot continue. We need to debate in advance with the Council all the basic options, before the decisions are taken which we are then called on to fund. In order to send our message to the Council, we reduced spending on the CFSP in 2007 by 50%. I should like at this point to say, while agreeing that Mr Elles was obviously right, that the Minister will be making a mistake if he truly believes that what we did was what she herself called 'tactical words'. I hope that the Council will now rethink its stand to date."@en1
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