sábado, 31 de octubre de 2009

Non Vote in Strasbourg on withholding subvention funds to Spain: 22/10/09

There was a good deal of interest attracted to what should have been avote, on October 22 on a Greens amendment to the EU Budget that, had it succeeded would have moved some 185 million euros into a "reserve" unlessand until Spain and in particular, Valencia had brought its land laws and practices into accord with EU norms as regards, for example the environment, public contracts , etc. That amount was calculated to be the portion ofthe subventions for Spain that would be allocated , by Madrid , to Valencia.Such an amendment had been defeated in the budget committee a few days earlier, but was reintroduced at the level of the plenary. There is no doubt a fuller explanation available, but on Oct 22, PresidentBuzek of the Parliament ruled the amendment to be not eligible to be votedupon. He apparently did this on the basis of advice from his professional staff on procedural grounds that could equally be argued differently. Whether they had in turn been subject to lobbying by, for example SpanishMEPs is not clear. The Greens ( and others) are actively exploring ways by which this issue can be brought to a vote again before the next budget cyclein a year's time. The implementation of the Lisbon Treaty if it is indeed tobe ratified soon , may provide an occasion to try once more, since there are budgetary implicatations that will need to be considered by the Parliament .AUN had, before Oct 22, approached several of our supportive MEPs acrossnational and party lines to press for a yes vote. We believed, on the basis of feedback, that there would have been a good chance of a positive vote onthe amendment, but that must remain speculation for now. Our arguments in support of the concept of this proposal were based on the fact that this amendment would be a confirmation, in practical terms, of the Auken report adopted with a solid majority in Strasbourg on March 26th of this year. It would also have been a way of aquainting newly elected MEPswith the core issues of that report. Another contention is that while this money would be withheld for some time, not withdrawn, Spain itself should not be receiving such funds based on the strength, until recently, of its economy. According to reports at the time it was agreed that Spain would continue to receive stability pact subventions until then, this was only because Spain threatened to block EU expansion. How can Spain in the meantime boast that it is economically better off than Italy, which receives no such subventions and at the same time demand entry into the G20 forexample and still contend that it should receive EU hand outs at least until2013? CVS of AUN