Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-10-24-Speech-2-353"

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"Mr President, not more than half a year ago, I was here speaking on the same programme, asking for a quick agreement. At that time the proposal had a different title: ‘Citizens for Europe’. Now, after half a year we are here, very close to the final decisions with the new title, ‘Europe for Citizens’, coming from your input; but I think this was a remarkable shift, both in consensus but also in the readiness top progress towards finalisation. This programme is very important for citizens and civic society organisations. I am very satisfied with the quality and intensity of negotiations between institutions that have taken place on the programme. I would like especially and sincerely to thank the Committee on Culture for its efforts to accelerate the procedure, and the rapporteur, Mr Takkula, for his excellent work and cooperation. Those steps in the interinstitutional procedures were accompanied by informal trilateral meetings. They resulted in a compromise acceptable to all three institutions in the form of four amendments on which you will vote on tomorrow. Concerning the budget, we agreed to allocate an amount of EUR 190 million at 2004 prices, which means EUR 215 million at current prices. This is less than the Commission’s original proposal but it still enables us to retain the structure of the programme, only reducing the number of outputs. I would like once more to express my regrets about the introduction by the Council of a supplementary step to the comitology procedure. This will slow down the selection procedure for certain categories of projects. However, with a view to reaching a quick agreement, the Commission accepted the position taken by the Council and supported by you. Today you are envisaging adopting four amendments: two of them concern the budget breakdown between different actions; one is technical and will accelerate the entry into force of the programme; and the last one adds the promotion of tolerance to the objectives of the programme. That is fully in line with the programme’s philosophy. Let me repeat that the Commission fully supports the agreed compromise and therefore encourages Parliament to adopt those four amendments. If you adopt them, the Council has committed itself rapidly to adopt the whole agreed text and the programme should then be able to enter into force by 1 January 2007. I can assure you that once the programme is adopted the Commission will take all necessary steps to implement it as efficiently and as effectively as possible. Indeed, my services are already actively preparing its entry into force. We will work in close cooperation with the Programme Committee and in close dialogue with the organisations involved in this programme. I would like to finish by repeating what Mr Takkula said, i.e. that culture forms the basis for our societies, which is why we defined the legal base for this programme in combination with the culture-related Article 151 of the Treaty. It was the subject of many discussions, but I believe it is the right proposal and the right line to take, for future culture and citizenship to go hand in hand towards responsibility on all levels of our public and private engagement in our lives, as well as in the spheres of enlargement and the future of our Union."@en1

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