Failure to consult Parliament in connection with the TEN Quick Start projects
Mr President, I have a lot of trust in the Council, especially in Mr Roche, and understood his speech to mean that he is in favour of Parliament being fully entitled to take decisions in all the areas to which we have referred. Judging by what I hear my fellow-MEPs saying, they are less trusting. I would ask the President-in-Office of the Council – and this is my first point – to say, here and now, loud and clear, whether he acknowledges Parliament´s full decision-making rights in all these matters, be they the `Quick Start´ list or any other list.
My second point is that the committee, when it was under Mr Costa´s chairmanship, agreed that this House is not so irresponsible that anyone can, by hook or by crook, add on his or her pet projects; on the contrary, the Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism added a limited number of projects for which there was a rational justification. If I may mention just two of them, out of – I think – about six, which enhance Europe´s cohesion and unity, not only in and around the new Member States, but also in and around the future accession countries in the Balkans, we were talking in terms of lines running across Austria from Prague via Linz, and another running from the North via Vienna to Graz and then on to Croatia – in other words, lines that make a great deal of sense. I really do think that this House has, over the past months, shown itself to be responsible, in that not even in the run-up to an election does it add on one project after another indiscriminately. Parliament´s right to share in decisions must, however, be guaranteed in full. It would be a good thing if the President-in-Office´s ambivalent answer today could become a clear and unequivocal statement to the effect that the Council does indeed acknowledge Parliament´s power of codecision, because this House demonstrates a high degree of responsibility and comes up with a few extra ideas for these important investment projects. After all, the Council and its Presidency ought to have an interest in getting a few more good ideas, and you will get them from this House´s Committee on Transport.