2009. 12. 17.
Many of the participants in this debate have spoken about specific issues affecting the budget and these are of great importance. For my part, I would like to look at the big picture.
In a democracy, every institution has to account for its spending to those who provide the resources. And this budget is freighted with the extra responsibility of being the budget of an institution particularly committed to transparency and accountability. Not least, this commitment enhances good governance which - in an ideal world - will increase trust between those who spend and those who provide the resources, between Parliament and the citizens.
The particular significance of this transparency is that it can help to overcome the remoteness that exists in all modern democracies between the individual citizen and the institutions of power.
There are difficult times ahead for Europe. The world financial crisis is far from over; climate change, migration and demography are high on the agenda; there is the rise of non-European powers without Europe's commitment to democratic values; they all add to a general sense of insecurity in Europe.
What we can do is to discuss these and related matters openly, in order to illuminate them, to cast light on them, in order to promote discussion and debate. Debate, including disagreement, is the most effective means of dispelling the insecurity that is born of confusion and complexity.
From this perspective it is vital - indeed, essential - to communicate what we do, what Parliament stands for, what values it places in the foreground. In a democratic order, effective communication can have far-reaching results.
We, as Parliament, should be as active as possible in promoting Europe's system of values to the citizens and this can and should mean a positive role for all the institutions of Europe within the member states, to communicate the message effectively. This is the significance of the budget and why it is a vital step in the direction of easing insecurity.