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11. 3.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 76/51

(98/C 76/133) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1753/97

by José Valverde López (PPE) to the Commission

(27 May 1997)

Subject: Commission suspension of EAGGF payments to Italy, Spain and Greece

The Commission has suspended payment of CAP management to Spain, Italy and Greece as a result of
non-payment of fines owing by producers who exceeded milk quotas during the 1995-1996 farming year.

In the case of Spain CAP funds total 3.5 billion pesetas per month.

What is the legtal basis on which the Commission took this decision? Does the Commission think that it is
reasonable to penalize farmers who do meet their obligations because of the supposed failure of others to do so?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(18 June 1997)

To curb milk production and prevent rapid erosion of producers’ income owing to the fall in prices that would
have been the inevitable consequence of imbalance between increasing production and more or less static and
only slightly elastic demand, the Council in 1984 adopted rules involving allocation of quotas to producers. The
basic provisions were added as Article 5c to Council Regulation (EEC) No 804/68 of 27 June 1968 on the
common organization of the market in milk and milk products (1), as last amended by Regulation (EC)
No 1538/95 (2).

Penalties are an integral part of these rules. An additional levy of 115% of the milk target price is intended to
dissuade each producer from exceeding his milk quota for the year (Council Regulation (EEC) No 3950/92 (3)
establishing an additional levy in the milk and milk products sector, as last amended by Regulation (EEC)
No 1552/952.

By not collecting the entire amount of levy due for the 1995/96 milk year certain Member States failed to comply
with Article 5(2) of Commission Regulation (EEC) No 536/93 (4) of 9 March 1993 setting detailed rules of
application, last amended by Regulation (EC) No 470/94 (5). The regulatory date for payment of the amounts
inquestion was 31 August 1996 but in view of various administrative difficulties in these Member States the
Commission granted an extension to 31 January 1997.

By that date Greece, Spain and Italy had still not credited the total amounts due and the Commission was
consequently obliged under Article 4(1) of Commission Regulation (EC) No 296/96 (6)to reduce by an equivalent
amount the monthly advances against booking of expenditure by the Member States to the Guarantee Section of
the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund.

In order however to avoid a substantial impact on the cash position of Spain and Italy, given the amounts in
question, the Commission made the advance reductions in two (Spain) and three (Italy) instalments, so avoiding
any penalization of farmers who had met their obligations.

The Member States in question were warned of the reductions and had the opportunity to express their point of

The Commission would draw the Honourable Member’s attention to the importance of respect for final payment
dates by national administrations. These are set both to ensure equality of treatment of interested parties in all
Member States and to prevent payment delays from adversely affecting the anticipated economic impact of the
C 76/52 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 11. 3. 98

provisions in question. Moreover freedom of payment to suit the administrative convenience of paying agencies
would clash with the rules of budgetary discipline set by the Council for agricultural expenditure (Council
Decision 94/729/EC of 31 October 1994 on budgetary discipline (7)).

(1) OJ L 148, 28.6.1968.

(2) OJ L 148, 30.6.1995.
(3) OJ L 405, 31.12. 1992.
(4) OJ L 57, 10.3.1993.
(5) OJ L 59, 3.3.1994.
(6) OJ L 39, 17.2.1996.
(7) OJ L 293, 12.11. 1994.

(98/C 76/134) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1758/97

by José Valverde López (PPE) to the Commission
(27 May 1997)

Subject: Inspectorate of the markets in fruit and vegetables

The COM in fruit and vegetables provides for the establishment of an inspectorate of the markets in fruit and
vegetables. What will the status of these inspectors be? How many of them will there be? What will their duties

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(17 July 1997)

Article 40 of Council Regulation (EC) No 2200/96 (1) requires the Commission to establish a special corps of
inspectors consisting of Commission officials and possibly of staff appointed at the latter's request by Member
States to take part in specific enquiries.

Article 40 states that the corps will participate in checks carried out by the Member States' competent authorities
and at the Commission's initiative carry out checks under Article 39 of the Regulation.

When the Regulation was proposed to the Council the Commission notified its intention of assigning 5 posts to
the corps. So far only 2 have been assigned but on 3 March 1997 the Commission adopted a decision to assign a
further 3 posts to give the number originally scheduled and so enable the corps to discharge the tasks charged to it
by the Regulation. This decision awaits implementation.

The status of the inspectors would as initially planned be that of officials and other servants of the European

The participation of staff appointed by Member States (albeit in specific enquiries only) will substantially boost
the special corps. The Commission has already written to each Member State asking for a list of national officials
available to participate in inspection work. They would keep their national status. At least two persons per
Member State are required.

(1) OJ L 297, 21.11.1996.