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9. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/59

This directive, whose requirements shall be brought into force before 13 May 2000, repeals previous directives.
The Commission continues to monitor the situation, particularly to ensure that scrap metals contaminated with
radioactive substances are not imported from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe or from the former
Soviet Union.

The Commission has no information on the specific case mentioned by the Honourable Member.

(1) OJ L 159, 29.6.1996.

(98/C 310/75) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0406/98


by Phillip Whitehead (PSE) to the Commission
(24 February 1998)

Subject: Prescribed Quantity systems

Which Member States have a Prescribed Quantity system which has been investigated, and why did the
Commission feel that the existence of a PQ system in the British break market posed a threat to inter-Community
trade?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission


(23 April 1998)

The Commission is collecting the information it needs to answer the question. It will communicate its findings as
soon as possible.

(98/C 310/76) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0407/98


by Mark Watts (PSE) to the Commission
(24 February 1998)

Subject: Aircraft safety in the year 2000

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

Is the Commission satisfied that Member States, third countries, airlines and aviation authorities are acting with
sufficient urgency to ensure that planes do not drop out of the sky or collide in the year 2000?

Answer given by Mr Kinnock on behalf of the Commission


(17 April 1998)

The Commission shares the concerns expressed by the Honourable Member about the potentially serious
problems that could arise from the date change, and has addressed the issue in its communication on The Year
2000 Computer Problem (1). This is designed to try to ensure a high level of awareness on the subject and to
establish effective liaison with all the supervisory authorities for energy, transport and telecommunications and
in the financial markets and other economic sectors.

As there is genuine concern that the date changeover problem could affect safety in civil aviation, the
Commission issued a circular in December 1997 to all the Member States to clarify what actions each Member
State is going to undertake or has already put in place. Similar letters were sent to the main airline and airport
organisations (IATA, AEA, ERA, ACE, ACI).
C 310/60 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10. 98

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has formed a Year 2000 Group and has issued a chief
executive brief drawing the attention of airline presidents to this issue. Airport council international (ACI) has
directed two questionnaires to all its member airports world-wide: one on behalf of IATA and one on its own
behalf seeking details about compliance of computer systems. Several states have indicated that they have
already undertaken remedial actions, mainly asking Air Traffic Control (ATC) system manufacturers to provide
assurances against any hazardous effect on aircraft as a result of the date change.

In Eurocontrol a progress report on actions undertaken in all European states is being prepared. It shows that
fourteen out of thirty-six European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) States, including those who replied to the
Commission, have initiated actions to make an inventory of all their present computer systems and are involving
manufacturers of the equipment installed in their own ATC national centres. Eurocontrol also organised a
workshop on 19-20 March 1998 to which civil aviation administrations, airlines, the International Civil Aviation
Organisation (ICAO) and other organisations were invited to share information. The objective of this event was
to monitor national activities and to speed up the process throughout the ECAC area.

ICAO is ensuring world-wide coverage by sending a circular to all states, and is also organising seminars, such as
that held in Mexico from 24-28 November 1997.

The Commission will continue to work with all interested parties in order to make every possible effort to ensure
that appropriate measures are taken to avoid the disruptions which could arise from the computer problems
relating to the year 2000.

(1) COM(98)102.

(98/C 310/77) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0415/98

by Yvan Blot (NI) to the Commission

(16 February 1998)

Subject: Payment periods in commercial transactions

The Commission has presented a communication on payment periods in commercial transactions, which
incorporates some of the suggestions in the study it commissioned from the debt recovery company Intrum
Justicia, which acted both as judge and judged in the matter. The communication and planned proposal for a
directive envisage competition between debt recovery bodies and lawyers involved in debt recovery.

1. Can the Commission explain why it wants to introduce this competition and what improvements it is
anticipating, seeing that it is not the lawyers’ status and skills that are being called into question but slow national
legal procedures?

2. Does the Commission think that individual interests will be equally well protected when commercial
companies that are not subject to rules of professional conduct are involved?

3. Will the Commission state the legal basis for the proposal for a directive?

Is the Commission not exceeding its rights in proposing a text that makes radical changes in certain Member
States’ legal organization and law of procedure, since this is clearly outside its remit?

4. Can the Commission give full details of possible alternative methods of improving recovery times in
commercial transactions?