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3. 4.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 102/87

The leak from the Commission caused needless speculation, as well as raising doubts about the Commission’s
ability to carry out its information policy in the previously agreed manner and along predictable lines. The
debacle with the publication of the assessment placed both the European Parliament as an institution and its
individual members in an awkward position, as it was not possible to comment properly on the issue or to discuss
it on the basis of advance information.

What will the Commission do to ascertain how and why detailed information about the opinions on the countries
was leaked to the public prematurely, and how will the Commission in future prevent leaks from occurring on
this scale?

Answer given by Mr Van den Broek on behalf of the Commission

(1 October 1997)

The Commission was careful to present the Agenda 2000 programme (1) to the Parliament as soon as possible
after adoption by the college in its meeting of 15 July 1997. Accordingly President Santer and Commissioner
Van den Broek made detailed presentations in plenary session on 16 July 1997 and Parliament held a three hour

The Honourable Member will appreciate that the volume and importance of the Commission's communications
were unprecedented, and set important material challenges to the institution. The Commission was however able
to distribute on 16 July 1997 to MEPs, other institutions, Member States, candidate countries and the press the
documents ‘Agenda 2000 volume I, for a wider stronger Union’ (91 pages), ‘Agenda 2000, volume II’ (62 pages),
the opinions on the applications for membership of the Union (some 1000 pages) as well as executive summaries
and conclusions. Special arrangements had to be made for translating and printing night and day in Strasbourg,
and special transport had to be organised between Brussels and Strasbourg.

While the Commission notes that some problems arose in the Agenda 2000 operation, it considers that on the
whole it was brought to a successful conclusion. The Agenda 2000 communications were certainly given a
favourable reception by the Parliament at its session on 16 July 1997.

(1) COM(97) 2000.

(98/C 102/126) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2671/97

by Jessica Larive (ELDR) and Jan Wiebenga (ELDR) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Choice of language by the Dutch Commissioner for an important statement

The Dutch Commissioner, Hans van den Broek, made an important statement in English on Agenda 2000 before
the European Parliament’s plenary assembly in Strasbourg on 16 July 1997.

The Netherlands has always urged, during the Dutch Presidency as at other times, that the 11 official languages
be used. Language is an expression of a country’s culture and identity. When the Treaty of Amsterdam was being
drawn up, the Netherlands also rightly urged that each Member State should retain its own Commissioner.
Although the Commission is a collective body, this is important for the identification of Dutch citizens with
distant Brussels.

Why did Commissioner van den Broek not make his statement in his native language?

Answer given by Mr Van den Broek on behalf of the Commission

(14 October 1997)

The Commission fully shares the view expressed by the Honourable Members that language is an expression of a
country’s culture and identity. The Commission also attaches importance to clear communication of its work to
the citizens of Europe.
C 102/88 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 3. 4. 98

The Commission would however remind the Honourable Member that, when its Members address another
Community institution, their only obligation is to use one of the official languages of the Community.

(98/C 102/127) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2673/97

by Leonie van Bladel (UPE) to the Council
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Free trade in burglars’ tools

On Saturday, 12 July 1997, the Dutch daily newspaper ‘De Telegraaf’ ran an article on the firm of Adalbert
Wendt in Bergheim (Germany), which is selling anyone interested the latest equipment needed for burglaries and
robberies. The article referred, for example, to instruction videos on breaking into cars and safe-cracking, for
which the necessary equipment was also on offer. The equipment includes the most advanced technical devices
that can currently be supplied to the underworld − thermal lances, electronic safe-cracking equipment,
Auto-Killer cases, etc., etc. and also instruction books and videos.

Is the Council aware of this and, given this shocking information, is its President considering proposing in the
near future ways of controlling and monitoring this trade within the European Union?

(7 November 1997)

The Council has no knowledge of the information quoted by the Honourable Member. In any event, the Council
does not comment on articles in the press.

(98/C 102/128) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2675/97

by Joaquim Miranda (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Data relating to Portugal in the Commission’s ‘First Report on Economic and Social Cohesion − 1996’

In a recent report of the Portuguese Economic and Social Council on ‘Implementation of the Community Support
Framework − 1995’, Prof. Dr José da Silva Lopes, author of the report, expresses doubts regarding certain
figures quoted in the Commission’s ‘First Report on Economic and Social Cohesion − 1996’, in particular the
13% increase in Portugal’s per capita GDP relative to the European average between 1983 and 1993 and
especially the 8.6% increase in the period 1990-1993.

More specifically, the report states the following: ‘The abnormal per capita GDP percentage increase relative to
the EU average is most probably due to the changes introduced by Eurostat in 1990 in methods for calculating
PPP (purchasing power parity).’

In view of the importance of this matter, which is not merely statistical, will the Commission clear the doubts
raised in the report of the Portuguese Economic and Social Council and, in particular, provide figures concerning
the actual trend in Portuguese per capita GDP in the aforementioned periods, should it be confirmed that the
published figures are the result of changes in calculation methods?