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C 304/110 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10.

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2. This initiative was previously supported by DG III, and has been subsidized since 1995. Does the
Directorate-General which is now responsible also intend to continue to support and subsidize this private-sector
initiative?

3. Would the Commission regard it as a good idea for the initiative to be extended to all the other Member
States?

Answer given by Mrs Bonino on behalf of the Commission
(30 March 1998)

1. The Commission is aware of the existence of the private organisation in question and of the subsidies it has
received.

2. The Commission published an invitation for the submission of projects for the protection of consumer
interests in 1998.

The ‘Europäische Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Lebensmittelkontrolle und des Verbraucherschutzes’ is one of the
associations that presented such a project. The selection process has not yet been concluded and bidders will be
duly informed when the selection has been finalised.

3. The Commission approves of initiatives designed to ensure effective controls in the interest of food safety
and consumer protection in Europe and welcomes the extension of this initiative to the other Member States.

(98/C 304/165) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0462/98
by Mark Watts (PSE) to the Council
(27 February 1998)

Subject: Aircraft safety in the year 2000

Pilots have threatened a world-wide boycott in the year 2000, fearing that the ‘Millennium Bug’ will disrupt the
computer systems that keep planes in the air and prevent collisions.

Given the extensive, costly and time-consuming computer modifications and replacements required, can the
Council please outline measures proposed to coordinate and encourage efforts to respond to these fears and make
sure our skies are safe?

Answer
(28 May 1998)

As far as air safety is concerned, the Council has not received any proposal from the Commission regarding the
so-called ‘Millennium Bug’. However, according to information available, the Commission is at the moment
carrying out a survey in order to understand the level of awareness, preparation and reaction of air transport
stakeholders with regard to this subject matter.

It should be recalled that the industry itself does not consider this to be an insurmountable problem. The
operators of the GPS (Global Positioning System) satellites and their ground control stations are improving
software that controls the system on the ground to correct its alleged inability to deal with the change to a new
millennium. These improvements and corrections would be completed by the end of 1998. The private
manufacturers have also taken the necessary remedial action and GPS receivers bought in the past two to three
years will be ‘millennium compliant’.

The Honourable Member can rest assured that the Council attaches the utmost importance to the matters
regarding air safety. In this regard, it is examining the possibility of establishing a European Aviation Safety
Authority (EASA).