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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?