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17. 3.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 82/3

However, in the case of the competition for Spanish-speaking secretaries, candidates up to 50 years of age were
admitted.

This constitutes scandalous preferential treatment of Spanish-speaking candidates and is a departure from
normal practice.

Will the Council explain the reasons for this announcement in respect of Spanish-speaking secretaries?

Does it intend to reannounce the competitions in question, applying the same conditions to all citizens of the
European Union?

Answer
(16 October 1997)

The Honourable Member’s attention is drawn first of all to the provisions in Annex III to the Staff Regulations on
procedures for competitions, which clearly leave to the discretion of the appointing authority any question
relating to the age limit for the recruitment of officials, and to established case law on the subject, according to
which “the Appointing Authority has a broad discretion in drawing up the requirements of the competition.” (1)

Hence, in the case of the competition for the recruitment of Spanish-speaking secretaries to which the
Honourable Member refers in his question, the Appointing Authority considered it appropriate, after consulting
the relevant joint bodies, to set the age limit at 50.

The Council points out that, following requests from the Budget Authority, particularly during trialogue
discussions (1995), a report drawn up by the Group on the Rationalization of Administrative Expenditure
recommended that competitions be organized on an interinstitutional basis. Acting on that recommendation, the
General Secretariat of the Council and the other institutions put into effects arrangements for the joint
organization of competitions and harmonized access thereto, which included setting an age limit of 35 for access
to competitions for posts at starting grades (D4, D3, C5, B5, A8 and A7).

For access to intermediate grades (D1, C3, C1, B3, B1 and A5), the general age limit is 50.

In exceptional cases, however, each institution may vary the age limit in order to meet specific recruitment needs
or take account of the labour market in certain fields.

(1) See paragraph No 24 of the grounds of the judgment of 28.11.1991 in Case T-158/89, van Hecken v. ESC [1991] ECR II-1354.

(98/C 82/03) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0520/97


by Graham Watson (ELDR) to the Council
(19 February 1997)

Subject: Heroin trafficking from Turkey

Will the Council ask the police in Lower Saxony to publish the evidence referred to by Judge Rolf Schwalbe,
suggesting that two families in Istanbul control heroin smuggling to Germany and Belgium, under the protection
of the Turkish Foreign Minister Mrs Tansu Ciller? Does the Council have any other information about the alleged
links between the Turkish mafia and politicians which have been highlighted in the Turkish media?
C 82/4 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 17. 3. 98

Answer
(28 October 1997)

The matter raised by the Honourable Member is for the authorities of the Member State concerned and not one on
which the Council itself has any locus to intervene in the way proposed.

Measures to be taken against illicit drug trafficking organizations active on the Balkan route are being studied in
detail within the Council’s bodies on the basis of an EDU report.

(98/C 82/04) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0952/97


by Peter Truscott (PSE) to the Council
(10 March 1997)

Subject: Restriction of freedom of movement by the Belgian authorities

Following recent rulings against the Belgian Government by the European Court of Justice regarding illegal
restrictions on the freedom of movement of EU citizens, the Belgian authorities now appear to be placing
unacceptable restrictions on the travel of third-country nationals.

Will the Council investigate and comment on reports that the Belgian Embassy in London is refusing to issue
visas to third-country tourists and business people using the UK as a base?

Could the Council further condemn what appears to be the increasing intolerance and racism of the Belgian
authorities responsible for issuing travel and work permits for EU citizens and third-country nationals?

Answer
(16 October 1997)

The Honourable Member is referred to the reply to his Oral Question No H-0355/97 of 14 May 1997.

(98/C 82/05) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1009/97


by Cristiana Muscardini (NI) to the Council
(24 March 1997)

Subject: Conflict in Rwanda/Zaire

The full-scale war which had been feared in the region of the African Great Lakes has unfortunately become a
reality, with its harrowing trail of slaughters, racial hatred and tragic suffering for the helpless populations, old
people, women and children.

The European Union has been unable to prevent full-scale war from breaking out, and has thus once again shown
its incapacity to take a united stance on international political events.

Will the Council


1. call on those Member States with the greatest influence in that part of Africa to use this influence to convene
a peace conference with a view to resolving the conflict?
2. make use of the power of such States within the United Nations to ensure that the conference takes the
necessary steps to achieve a global political settlement in the region of the Great Lakes?