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C 284/54 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 14.9.

98

Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on the ‘Proposal for a Council Regulation
(EC, ECSC, Euratom) amending the Financial Regulation of 21 December 1977 applicable to
the general budget of the European Communities’ (1)

(98/C 284/10)

On 26 May 1998, the Council decided to consult the Economic and Social Committee, under
Article 198 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, on the above-mentioned
proposal.

The Section for Economic, Financial and Monetary Questions, which was responsible for the
preparatory work, adopted its Opinion on 9 June 1998. The rapporteur working without a
study group was Mr Donovan.

At its 356th plenary session on 1 and 2 July 1998 (meeting of 1 July) the Economic and Social
Committee adopted the following Opinion by 139 votes for, none against and with
6 abstentions.

1. The basis for the proposal for specific revisions to 3. ESC comments
the Financial Regulation is the following:
3.1. The ESC is pleased by the fact that the euro will
— first, the start of the third phase of economic and be different from the ecu in that it is not only a simple
monetary union and the introduction of the euro, description in the sense of a basket of currencies but
replacing both the ecu and national currencies of the also a currency in its own right. The proposal of the
11 participating Member States as the common Commission for specific amendments is a necessary
currency of these countries; technical adaptation of the Union’s Financial Regulation
to stage three of the economic and monetary union.
— second, the Treaty of Amsterdam repealed Protocol
No 16 of the Maastricht Treaty on the Economic 3.2. The Commission’s proposals also take into
and Social Committee and the Committee of the account the specific problems related to the fact that
Regions, which provides for a common organi- not all Member States will participate in the euro from
zational structure for both of the two bodies. the start. A new Article 35 requires the Commission
every three months to send each Member State which
has not adopted the euro a statement indicating the
transfers effected in that Member State’s national
2. The Commission’s proposals currency into another currency and vice versa.

3.3. The proposed amendments related to deposits
2.1. The Commission proposes to replace any refer- and fines as provided for in the ‘stability and growth’
ence to the ecu in the Financial Regulation by a reference pact will ensure the necessary transparency in the
to the euro and to provide for the rights and obligations financial management of the European Union. The
of the Union to be expressed and executed in euros and amounts involved in a deposit or fine will only be taken
to adapt all references to national currencies as those of into account when there is no further possibility of
the Member States which are not participating in the appeal and when the deposit or fine becomes definitive.
euro. Since certain measures (the non-interest-bearing
deposit, fine) foreseen under the ‘stability and growth
pact’ will have to pass through the budget, the Com- 3.4. The decision of the Council to abolish Protocol 16
mission proposes an amendment to describe an exact of the Maastricht Treaty which stipulated that ‘the
technique of accounting for these sums. Economic and Social Committee and the Committee
of the Regions shall have a common organisational
structure’ leads obviously to the liquidation of Section
VI, Part C and the redistribution of the budgetary means
2.2. In regard to the repeal of the Protocol No 16 of presented until now under the heading of this part over
the Treaty of Maastricht the Commission proposes to the specific budgets for ESC and COR. Since the budget
delete all references to the common organisational already identifies the origins of the posts of the joint
structure of the Economic an Social Committee and the organisational structure (2) the division of posts is
Committee of Regions and to create a budget section
for each of these two bodies.
(2) OJ L 44, 16.2.1998, p. 158, establishment plan, Section VI
Part C: joint organisational structure footnote 4: ‘Of which
408 permanent posts belong to the Economic and Social
(1) OJ C 149, 15.5.1998, p. 21. Committee and 108 to the Committee of Regions’.
14.9.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 284/55

relatively simple. The split of appropriations for expen- either committee can define its own priorities and may
diture not related to posts could be based on the results show its autonomous responsibility.
of the analytical bookkeeping system that has been
developed as foreseen by article 22 of the financial 3.6. Given its past experience and in particular the
regulations. economies of scale achieved by the joint organisational
structure, the ESC realises and accepts that from an
3.5. The ESC welcomes the Commission’s proposal economic point it is useful to continue co-operation, on
of creating separate budget sections for both consultative a voluntary basis, on the production chain and, should
bodies. This presentation will create an independent the committees be housed near to each other, on
budgetary framework for each committee within which premises-related functions.

Brussels, 1 July 1998.

The President
of the Economic and Social Committee
Tom JENKINS

Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on:
— the ‘Proposal for a Council Regulation (EC) amending Regulation (EEC) No 1766/92 on
the common organization of the market in cereals and repealing Regulation (EEC)
No 2731/75 fixing standard qualities for common wheat, rye, barley, maize and durum
wheat’, and
— the ‘Proposal for a Council Regulation (EC) establishing a support system for producers
of certain arable crops’ (1)

(98/C 284/11)

On 4 June 1998 the Council decided to consult the Economic and Social Committee, in
accordance with Articles 43 and 198 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, on
the above-mentioned proposals.
The Section for Agriculture and Fisheries, which was responsible for preparing the Committee’s
work on the matter, adopted its opinion on 16 June 1998. The rapporteur was Mr Bastian.
At its 356th plenary session of 1 and 2 July 1998 (meeting of 1 July) the Economic and Social
Committee adopted the following opinion by 98 votes to 33 with 15 abstentions.

1. General comments strategic plan so that it can take advantage of the
opportunities presented by international markets, viz.:
1.1. The Committee would underline the strategic — world population growth,
nature and importance of arable crops (cereals, oilseeds
and protein crops) for the European Union. The figures — an increase in purchasing power (including purchas-
given in Appendix I are a clear illustration of this. ing power in the developing countries),

1.2. The Committee considers that the Union must — an increase in world demand for meat (particularly
press on with efforts to win back its internal market in in south-east Asia), which should trigger a rise in
this sector (particularly for the purposes of animal feed); demand for cereals, oilseeds and protein crops.
it must also build up its food reserves and devise a
1.2.1. The Committee is nevertheless well aware of
the constraints placed upon Europe’s arable crop sector,
(1) OJ C 170, 4.6.1998, p. 1-4. and particularly the Community’s cereal exports, by the