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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?
9. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/61

Answer given by Mr Papoutsis on behalf of the Commission


(5 May 1998)

The Commission would like to state at the outset that it formulated its report on late payments in commercial
transactions (1) after having proceeded to a wide consultation exercise during which 80% of those expressing an
opinion were in favour of Community legislation on late payments. This included an open hearing at which
representatives of various professions including the legal profession gave their opinion. While the Commission
has cited statistical material from various studies, no external organisation has played a part in the
decision-making procedure.

The Commission agrees with the Honourable Member that the quality and competence of the legal profession is
not in question. It merely wants to ensure that creditors to whom payment is overdue have access to rapid,
efficient and inexpensive redress procedures enabling them to obtain payment and compensation for damages.

The Commission has decided not to address the question of competition between lawyers and debt collection
agencies in its proposal for a directive on late payment (2).

(1) OJ C 216, 17.7.1997.


(2) COM(1998) 126 final.

(98/C 310/78) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0421/98


by Graham Watson (ELDR) to the Commission
(24 February 1998)

Subject: The Millenium Bug

Will the Commission publish a regular report on the progress of EU governments and industry towards
millenium bug compliance, together with the costs involved?

Answer given by Mr Bangemann on behalf of the Commission


(1 April 1998)

The Commission has adopted a communication on the year 2000 computer problem (1), which outlines roles for
enterprises, associations and Member States and indicates the scope for Community action on this matter.
Among the activities proposed is the publication of periodic reports on progress as well as on the efforts made in
Member States. An essential basis for such reports will be the discussions in all relevant Councils on the progress
made within the Community towards year 2000 readiness together with the regular exchange of information on
this matter among year 2000 initiatives undertaken by Member States and European associations.

On the matter of costs, it will be recalled that estimates have been made and widely published. These are also
reported in the communication. Since it is generally agreed that detailed monitoring of costs is impractical, it is
not envisaged that this aspect will be covered, but estimates may be revised from time to time.

(1) COM(98) 102.

(98/C 310/79) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0423/98


by Graham Watson (ELDR) to the Commission
(24 February 1998)

Subject: The Millenium Bug

What work has been done to ensure that the European Central Bank will be millenium bug compliant?