This fourth Supplementary and Amending Budget for 1999 reflects current problems the Member States and the European Parliament pinpointed during the July 16 Budget Council. Erkki Liikanen, for whom this was supposed to be the last appearance as Commissioner for the Budget, suggested the creation of a special line, Kosovo reconstruction aid, with the inclusion of the European Reconstruction Agency's activities. Pending the adoption of the proposal for a Council Regulation for amending the OBNOVA Regulation and creating the Agency, a Regulation the Commission unveiled last June 23, it is proposed to budget for Euro 92 million in commitment appropriations and 50 million in payment appropriations. Consulted solely for its Opinion on the amendment of the OBNOVA Regulation, the European Parliament is expected once again, with the anticipated adoption of Lousewies van der Laan's (ELDR, Netherlands) report, to contest the siting of the Agency in Salonika, in favour of Pristina in Kosovo, and champion an amendment to see its period of activity reduced from five to three years.At this stage and in spite of the threats made in July, the European Parliament does not seem to be making its approval of the Agency budget (at least for the current year) conditional upon the Council's acceptance of MEPs' reservations about the way the Agency itself is being put into practice. The supplementing and amending budget features other Category 4-related factors (External Actions). First of all, and still in connection with the repercussions of the Kosovo conflict, it is proposed to pay a first instalment of Euro 15 million worth of micro-financial aid to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The Commission proposed this amount to the Council last July 28. The Supplementing and Amending Budget also recommends a significant increase (350 million) in the level of payment appropriations for several programmes in the category (PHARE, TACIS and reconstruction in the former Yugoslavia) for which payments have been interrupted. Finally...

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