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9. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/11

(98/C 310/11) WRITTEN QUESTION E-4068/97


by Daniela Raschhofer (NI) to the Commission
(14 January 1998)

Subject: Report of the Court of Auditors

The Annual Report of the Court of Auditors concerning the financial year 1996, volume I, contains a statement,
on page 351, second column, that there are doubts as to compliance with the rules for granting subsidies provided
for in Article A-304. In this connection reference is made to an association which regularly receives significant
funds from the Community budget.

Which association is being referred to here?

Who is the authorized representative of that association?

What projects were being subsidized?

What are the objects of that association?

What measures have been taken to put right the abuses noted in this case?

Have the misused funds been recovered?

Answer given by Mr Santer on behalf of the Commission


(10 March 1998)

The association is the European Movement, International Secretariat. The President of the European Movement
is Mr Soares. The Secretary General is Mr Dastoli.

The grant is intended to cover the organisation’s programme of activities to promote the idea of European
integration and to enable it to act as a network resource for national organisations of the European Movement.

The Commission’s financial controller carried out audits of the organisation in 1996 and 1997 and is satisfied that
the situation has been put right. An amount of ECU 145 330 has been recovered and the grant specified by the
budget authority for 1998 is now ECU 300 000.

The Commission would point out that, as in many cases of recurring grants, the beneficiary and the amount are
specified as such in the budget by the budget authority.

(98/C 310/12) WRITTEN QUESTION E-4074/97


by Nikitas Kaklamanis (UPE) to the Commission
(14 January 1998)

Subject: Tobacco and tobacco growers

European tobacco production currently covers only about 25% of demand and any reduction thereof will simply
increase the already enormous volume of imports from third countries which already meet 75% of demand in the
European Union.

Current downward trends in EU tobacco production will have disastrous consequences for certain countries to
the south, in particular Greece, where 70 000 families engaged in tobacco growing and 400 000 people directly or
indirectly involved in the growing, processing, distribution and marketing of tobacco products will be faced with
the spectre of unemployment.

Tobacco is known to account for 13% of total agricultural exports from Greece. Clearly no alternative form of
agriculture production on small plots of land situated in less favoured regions could provide the families of
tobacco producers with sufficient income for them to continue working the land.
C 310/12 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10. 98

What action does the European Union intend to take in response to this major problem, particularly in view of the
recent decision by the Luxembourg Unemployment Summit, which clearly expressed its determination to take
concerted action to reduce unemployment within the EU?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission


(3 February 1998)

The Commission is perfectly aware of the social and economic importance of tobacco production in Europe,
particularly in Greece. It has therefore proposed in its report on the common organisation of the market in raw
tobacco (1) that Community aid should continue.

The aid scheme is to continue, however it will have to be radically altered to encourage production of better
quality tobacco. The Commission will very shortly present to the Council and Parliament a draft Regulation
making the changes envisaged in its report.

(1) COM(96) 554 final.

(98/C 310/13) WRITTEN QUESTION E-4075/97


by Concepció Ferrer (PPE) to the Commission
(14 January 1998)

Subject: SMUs and the extraordinary Council meeting in Luxembourg

The Commission did not include representatives of small and medium-sized undertakings in the preparation of
its guidelines for the extraordinary European Council on employment. SMUs are, however, having to face
particular challenges as a result of economic globalization. SMUs also have an important role to play in the
Union in job creation. Can the Commission state what measures it intends to take to include SMUs in the
preparation of policies concerning them?

Answer given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission


(12 March 1998)

Several European social partner organisations with small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) membership took
part in the process leading up to the adoption of the 1998 employment guidelines. As members of the standing
committee on employment, or as part of the employers’ delegation to the informal meetings between the social
partners and the steering group of the employment and labour market committee, the main European
organisations’ representatives for SMEs had the occasion to express their views on the content of the guidelines
and their contributions to the process.

The social partners at all levels have been given explicit roles in the implementation of the employment
guidelines. The Commission communication of 1 October 1997 on the employment guidelines (1), the European
Council conclusions from the extraordinary summit on employment in Luxembourg 20-21 November 1997 and
the Council Resolution of 15 December 1997 on the 1998 employment guidelines all emphasised that the social
partners at all levels will be involved and will have their contribution to make to the implementation of the
guidelines, especially those relating to adaptability and employability within the Community.

The Member States are currently preparing these employment action plans and the social partners are expected to
play an important role in the process. At European level the meetings of the above mentioned committees will
continue to provide for a dialogue, and, furthermore the Commission will continue to consult the social partners
on policy and legislative proposals in the social policy field including the initiatives emerging from the
employment process.

(1) COM(97) 497 final.