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3. 4.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 102/91

(98/C 102/131) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2686/97

by Luigi Moretti (NI) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Delays in payments

In 1995 the Commission adopted a recommendation to the Member States on measures to reduce payment
periods (No 95/198/EC) (1). The Member States’ failure to take the steps suggested in the recommendation has
prompted the Commission recently to draw up and approve a communication on payment delays on commercial
transactions and to provide for the drafting of a proposal for a directive to be submitted by the end of the year.

Given that recipients of funds from Community programmes and initiatives are increasingly complaining about
unjustified delays in the payment of such funds by Community institutions, will the Commission explain what
measures it is taking to ensure that time limits are respected in effecting payments under Community

(1) OJ L 127, 10.6.1995, p. 19.

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission

(16 October 1997)

Firstly, the Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its recent answers to written questions
E-3101/96 by Mr Mather (1) and E-1568/97 by Mr Novo (2). In these answers to questions similar to the one now
put by the Honourable Member, the Commission informed Parliament of the changes made in recent years to its
payment procedures, which have generally been speeded up and made more reliable.

The Commission regularly monitors the period taken to apply procedures. In 1996, it was found that with regard
to all Commission budgetary payments, the average period between receipt of the invoice and the effective date
on which the Commission's financial account was debited was 52 days. It was also found that, in 1996, 78% of
payments were made in 60 days or less, 12% between 60 and 80 days and 10% over 90 days.

While these results can be further improved on and steps should be taken to ensure that 95% of payment orders
are carried out within 60 calendar days, the Commission very recently approved a communication on payment
periods (3) acknowledging the principle that default interest should be paid where certain categories of payments
are made after the deadline. The practical arrangements for implementing that measure, one of which will be the
insertion of a clause in all Commission contracts, have already been adopted and have been updated since
1 October 1997.

(1) OJ C 105,3.4.1997.
(2) OJ C 60, 25.2.1998, p. 27.
(3) SEC(97) 1205.

(98/C 102/132) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2690/97

by Eryl McNally (PSE) to the Council
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Rational Planning Techniques in the Electricity and Gas Distribution Sectors

What has happened to the Rational Planning Techniques Directive?