Summary: Achieved during the November 17 EU Council session in Brussels, the Ministerial compromise on the Culture 2000 programme*, is now null and void, according to a Community source. In a letter sent to the President-in-Office of the Council, Peter Wittmann of Austria, the Dutch State Secretary for Education and Culture. Mr Van der Ploeg, says his Government cannot subscribe to the agreement "ad referendum".

The sole objection put forward by the Dutch Government focuses on the programme budget. Under the November 17 compromise, it was agreed that the European Commission's budget proposal of ECU 167 million (2000-2004) should be accepted. This sum was judged too high by the Dutch delegation, which in spite of misgivings, approved its partners' position. Nonetheless, the Government said its agreement would be confirmed by December 11 at the latest. In his letter, Mr Van der Ploeg says his Government "wants a stabilisation in real terms of...

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