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17. 3.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 82/21

(98/C 82/28) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1928/97


by Salvador Garriga Polledo (PPE) to the Council
(5 June 1997)

Subject: Enlargement of the European Union

Is it consistent with the Treaty on European Union signed by the 15 Member States to put the objective of
enlargement of the European Union ahead of the goal of achieving economic and social cohesion in the European
Union?

Answer
(17 October 1997)

The Copenhagen European Council in June 1993 confirmed that the countries of central and eastern Europe
could become members of the European Union. No order of priority was established in that context between the
goal of enlargement and that of achieving economic and social cohesion in the European Union.

The Amsterdam European Council on 16 and 17 June 1997 noted that, with the successful conclusion of the
Intergovernmental Conference, the way was open for launching the enlargement process in accordance with the
conclusions of the Madrid European Council.

On 16 July 1997 the Commission presented its opinions on the accession applications as well as a comprehensive
communication (“Agenda 2000”) covering the development of the Community, including the main conclusions
and recommendations deriving from the opinions.

The Council (General Affairs) will examine the Commission’s opinions and Agenda 2000 in depth and will
present a comprehensive report to the December meeting of the European Council in Luxembourg, which will
take the necessary decisions on the overall enlargement process.

(98/C 82/29) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1955/97


by Leonie van Bladel (UPE) to the Council
(5 June 1997)

Subject: Visit to the EU by Yugoslav opposition leader Zoran Djindjic

In the past the European Union has said that it would support the development of democracy in the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia
1. Can the Presidency explain why on 22 April an important opposition leader such as Zoran Djindjic, the
present Mayor of Belgrade, was not given a top-level reception by the Netherlands when he stopped off on
the way from Sweden?
2. Can the Presidency say why this opportunity was not seized to find out about the latest political and
democratic developments in Belgrade?
3. Can the Presidency say why it passed over this opportunity to discuss effective support for the democratic
process with one of the main leaders of the Yugoslav opposition?
4. Can the Presidency say why the opposition leader did not receive appropriate diplomatic support during his
brief stay in the Netherlands, despite the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was aware of his visit, and
why there was no official welcome on his arrival at Schiphol airport where a NOS camera team eventually
offered him transport and booked a hotel room for him?
5. Does the Presidency feel that this attitude accords with the line to be pursued by the European Union, given
the fact that other European Member States such as Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Austria,
Sweden and Denmark, as well as the United States, have received Zoran Djindjic at the appropriate level?
C 82/22 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 17. 3. 98

Answer
(16 October 1997)

As the Honourable Member knows, on numerous occasions the European Union has expressed its support for the
process of democratisation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and for the democratic opposition in that
country.

With the respect to the visit of Mr Djindjic, the Presidency was notified only 12 days in advance that Mr Djindjic
was planning to make a stopover in Amsterdam on 2 April 1997 on his way to the United States. And only 7 days
in advance, the Presidency was informed that Mr Djindjic would arrive in the early evening of 2 April and leave
in the early morning of 3 April.

As the Minister, the Political Director, his deputy and the coordinator for Yugoslavia were all out of the country
on 2 Arpil for obligations related to the Presidency, Mr Djindjic was informed on 27 March that it would not be
possible to arrange for a meeting as he had requested.

The Presidency would have been happy to receive Mr Djindjic at the appropriate level, if a meeting had been
suitably arranged in advanced in mutual consultation.

(98/C 82/30) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1984/97


by Esko Seppänen (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(9 June 1997)

Subject: Member States’ level of debt in terms of pension liabilities and meeting obligations in respect of
pension liabilities under the conditions imposed by the single currency

The EU Member States are different, and they have different socio-economic structures. Different countries have
different pension systems and there are many places where the public authorities have not provided cover for
future pension outgoings.

That being so has the Commission ascertained the level of debt in terms of pension liabilities in the various
Member States, and how will it guarantee that each country will be able to meet its own obligations in respect of
pension liabilities under the conditions imposed by the single currency?

Answer given by Mr de Silguy on behalf of the Commission


(4 September 1997)

Social security systems providing for retirement differ between Member States in many respects, including
coverage, eligibility, level of contributions and benefits. Moreover, in most Member States there is typically
more than one scheme established for different occupational categories (blue and white collar workers, civil
servants). Nonetheless, a common feature of public retirement schemes is that most of them operate on a
‘pay-as-you go’ basis, under which current benefit entitlements of pensioners are financed out of current
revenues collected from the working population. There is thus no ‘coverage’ of future pension liabilities in the
form of a capital stock, and the viability of the system rests on inter-generational solidarity − the willingness of
each generation of working age to support the previous generation.

The Commission has not itself carried out any estimates of pension liabilities in Member States, but a number of
studies have done so in recent years. Typically, the present value of pensions to be paid in the future on the basis
of accrued rights exceeds a country’s current annual gross domestic product (GDP). However, such calculations
are highly sensitive to changes in the underlying assumptions (life expectancy, employment rate, price and wage
trends) and have to be interpreted with caution. A high ratio of liabilities to GDP does not necessarily imply an
imbalance in pay-as-you-go pension schemes. Any judgement on the sustainability of a scheme depends on the
projected resources available to pay for the accrued pensions, and future developments in employment and per
capita income (1).