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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?
C 310/62 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10. 98

Answer given by Mr de Silguy on behalf of the Commission

(27 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 310/80) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0424/98

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

Subject: The Millenium Bug

What studies has the Commission made of the impact of the millenium bug on preparations for Economic and
Monetary Union, both by the EU institutions and Member States?

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission

(8 May 1998)

The Commission has adopted a communication on the year 2000 computer problem (1), in which the
relationships between the millennium bug and the preparations for the changeover to the single European
currency are identified. In addition, the Commission has followed and, in some cases, partially supported a
number of surveys aimed at monitoring the state of readiness of business in various Member States and sectors
on both issues. In parallel, the Commission has organised meetings with different parties to discuss more closely
the technical preparations as well as ways in which experiences and good practices could be shared between
Member States and sectors.

Within the Commission itself, the impact on internal systems of both the year 2000 and the changeover to the
Euro is handled by the Informatics directorate for the central aspects and by each Directorate general for their
information systems. An inter-service task force has been established by the Commission to support analysis and
solutions to identified problems, and work is in progress. Given the importance of the issue, the task force will be
steered by a working group chaired at the highest level in the Commission. Both projects are following the
phased approach, applied widely in the private and public sectors including risk management measures.

As regards co-operation at an inter-institutional level, a contact group between the informatics services of the
different institutions was initiated at the end of 1997. This group follows the same approach as that followed
within the Commission itself and the timing of the different steps is planned to enable an adequate resolution of
these problems for all institutions. The situation is regularly reviewed within the inter-institutional informatics
committee and appropriate measures will be taken, if and when necessary, to cope with specific problems.

Furthermore, the Commission maintains a world wide web site on the year 2000 computer problem and the
information technology impact of the Euro ( This site provides access to
information about activities in different economic sectors and Member States, points to sources of advice on
specific aspects of the problem, and links to other sites as well as to all documents and reports produced by the
Commission on the subject.

(1) COM(1998) 102.