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C 219 E/132 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 1.8.

2000

(2000/C 219 E/164) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2264/99

by José Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(24 November 1999)

Subject: Letter of amendment to the Latin American and Asian items in the 2000 Budget

On 3 November, the Commission adopted a letter of amendment to the preliminary draft budget for 2000
whereby, inter alia, the commitment appropriations for the items concerning financial and technical
cooperation with developing countries in Latin America (B7-310) and Asia (B7-300) were cut by 16,5 and
27,5 million euros respectively against the previous preliminary draft. This means that funding for these
items is now markedly below what it was in the budgets adopted not only for 1999, but also for 1998.

Were these cuts in the preliminary draft budget made on the initiative of the Commissioners responsible
for foreign affairs and for development and humanitarian aid?

Given the new priorities which this European Union has taken on with regard to the countries of Latin
America in the wake of the First Summit meeting of European, Latin American and Caribbean heads of
states last June, and bearing in mind the negotiations currently underway with Mexico on the Agreement
on economic association, political dialogue and cooperation, and the imminent opening of negotiations
with Mercosur and Chile, does the Commission really believe that it is politically acceptable to tackle new
priorities with less funding?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(16 December 1999)

The letter of amendment adopted by the Commission on 3 November 1999 deals mainly with Community
aid for the reconstruction of Kosovo. Given the amount of money required, and the limitations imposed
by the ceiling on Heading 4 of the budget for external actions, a combination of measures was needed.
Among these, redeployment within Heading 4 is complementary and necessary (the other measures being
the use of the flexibility instrument and an increase in the ceiling on Heading 4, with a corresponding cut
in the ceiling on Heading 1). Given these limitations, we selected the budget headings on which to carry
out redeployment in consultation with the relevant services, using objective criteria such as priorities,
estimated need and urgency.

Latin America’s allocation, together with those for Asia, the Mediterranean non-member countries and the
New Independent States and the funds for certain horizontal aid actions were affected by cuts. The areas
identified take into consideration priority actions in regions other than Kosovo, such as aid to Turkey and
East Timor.

While budget heading B7-310 (financial and technical cooperation) has been markedly reduced following
the letter of amendment, Latin America’s general aid package now stands at EUR 301 million, as opposed
to the EUR 313,1 million in the 1999 budget and the EUR 274 million in 1998. This reflects the priority
given to rehabilitation and reconstruction in Central America following Hurricane Mitch (EUR 50 million
in 2000).

In conclusion, the Commission does not feel the decrease in financial resources allocated to Latin America
for 2000 will effect the priorities mentioned by the Honourable Member. These will be implemented using
funds currently at our disposal, and in any case do not necessarily involve action in the form of projects to
be financed under the financial and technical cooperation heading.