PositionBrief Article

The Committee of Permanent Representatives of the Member States to the European Union (COREPER) gave its majority support to the idea of informal and exploratory discussions with the European Parliament, especially if this consultation also involves the Court of Auditors. Only Spain, the United Kingdom and Greece have given their backing to the project taken up by the European Commission. Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Belgium considered that the European Parliament was in fact trying to assume a kind of right to co-decision over a document that it has hitherto only been able to consult. All the different delegations are, however, pleased with the opportunity of introducing an amended proposal next Autumn. Finance Ministers should be grappling with this question on June 5 during the EcoFin Council.The multitude of Parliamentary amendments proposed by the Committee on Budgetary Control (Cocobu) stem from the Assembly's previous positions on this sensitive dossier and recommendations from both the Court of Auditors and the Committee of Independent Experts, whose damning report led in March 1999 to the resignation of the previous European Commission under Jacques Santer. Questions raised in the Gianfranco Dell'Alba report include: the relationship between the financial regulation and implementation procedures. In the interests of simplification, the amended financial regulation is likely to retain only general principles, according to Cocobu. It should outline the rules applicable to sector-specific regulations (CAP, external relations, research, etc).Amendments also address issues linked to key budgetary principles such as budgetary unity. Parliament argues that all EU activities should appear in the budget (e.g. the European Development Fund, the EIB and the ECB, etc). Issues relating...

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