President Papadopoulos says EU budget agreement improved for Cyprus
by Maria Myles
Brussels, Dec 17 (CNA) - European Union leaders agreed here this morning, after hard and intense negotiations, on the financial perspective of the Union for the period 2007-2013.
Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said that the agreement clinched includes ''clearly improved provisions for Cyprus in relation to the initial proposals of the European Commission.''
Speaking to the press at the end of the two-day summit, which ran into the early hours of Saturday, he said that these provisions maintain important benefits achieved during the Luxembourg presidency.
The total package of aid in the framework of the cohesion policy (structural funds and cohesion fund) will reach 580 million euro for the period 2007-2013.
''In other words, there was an improvement in the region of 340 million euro in relation to previous proposals by the Commission which restricted the package for Cyprus to 230 million euro,'' the President pointed out.
He explained that this translates into an increase in the range of per capita annual contribution from 47 euro to 110 euro.
Replying to questions, he said that there were other provisions in the agreed text on the financial perspective which are helpful for Cyprus.
On what Cyprus has achieved, he said the fundamental objective Nicosia had set out was to see to it that there is no reduction in the significant improvement allocated to Cyprus by the previous EU presidency, Luxembourg.
He also said, responding to other questions, that Cyprus remains ''a small contributor, not an important one, and the difference between our contribution and the revenue we shall get is about 36 million for seven years.''
The final comprehensive proposal from the British presidency on the financial perspective for 2007-2013, agreed here this morning, provides for 862,363 million in appropriations for commitments as the maximum total figure for expenditure for EU 27 (current 25 members plus Romania and Bulgaria).
Paragraph 47 of part 1 of the proposal, dealing with expenditure, recognises that on the basis of revised figures for the period 1997-1999 Cyprus should have been eligible for Objective 1 in 2004-2006.
''Cyprus will benefit in 2007-2013 from the transitional arrangements applicable to the regions defined in paragraph 38 (b), its starting point in 2007 being established in accordance with paragraph 45,'' it adds.
Paragraph 45 stipulates that the starting point in 2007 for those regions which were not eligible for Objective 1 status in the 2000-2006 period or whose eligibility started in 2004, will be 90% of their theoretical 2006 per capita aid intensity level calculated on the basis of the 1999 Berlin allocation method with their regional per capital GDP level being assimilated to 75% of the EU 15 average.
On the review clause, the final proposal says that the Council agrees that the EU should carry out a comprehensive reassessment of the financial framework, covering both revenue and expenditure, to sustain modernisation and to enhance it, on an ongoing basis.
The Council invites the Commission to undertake a full, wide ranging review covering all aspects of EU spending, including CAP, and of resources, including the UK rebate to report in 2008/9.
''On the basis of such a review, the European Council can take decisions on all the subjects covered by the review. The review will also be taken into account in the preparatory work on the following Financial Perspective,'' it says.