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European Parliament discusses reform of structural funds

Discussions on the reform of the structural funds in Parliament, during its sitting of 12-16 July, outlined the points of accord with the Council. These covered partnership, the environment, equality and transparency. Parliament would continue to be involved in the programmes ...
Discussions on the reform of the structural funds in Parliament, during its sitting of 12-16 July, outlined the points of accord with the Council. These covered partnership, the environment, equality and transparency. Parliament would continue to be involved in the programmes and the Council has accepted that 9% should go on EC initiative compared to the 10% sought by Parliament.

Some dissatisfaction was expressed at the creation of administrative committees to manage the funds. Equally, concern was expressed about the vague nature of the Council's statement with regard to the guidance funds. The agreement on assistance for restructuring the fisheries industry was welcomed as was the agreement concerning the regional fund itself as regards partnership, additionality and the need to take on cross-border cooperation.

Although welcoming the emphasis to be placed on combating long term unemployment in the Social Fund, its extension to the self-employed was stressed as was the point that its purpose is for training or retraining.

Speaking for the Commission, Commissioner Bruce Millan confirmed that, on the budget front, there was agreement that the inclusion of figures in the Regulation did not prejudice Parliament's budgetary role in any way. As far as cross-border cooperation with countries in Eastern Europe was concerned, he said that the Commission was prepared to propose a specific budget line separate from the structural funds for projects in this area. He also confirmed the signing of a code of conduct between Parliament and the Commission to guarantee Parliament's role in monitoring the implementation of the Regulations.
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