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C 310/72 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.

98

Answer given by Mrs Wulf-Mathies on behalf of the Commission


(7 April 1998)

The bodies in Eastern and South East England from which the Commission has received representations on the
reform of the structural funds are Kent County Council, Dover District Council, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of
Wight Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the English Regional Associations (which include the standing
conference of East Anglian local authorities (Sceala) and South East regional planning).

The Commission has also received a paper from Sceala setting out its response to ‘Agenda 2000’ (1). Sceala
covers the counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk and the seven
training and enterprise councils of the Eastern region.

The Commission has no plans for further formal consultation, although regular informal contact is maintained
with the regional offices in Brussels.

(1) COM(97) 2000 final.

(98/C 310/94) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0479/98


by Richard Howitt (PSE) to the Commission
(27 February 1998)

Subject: Guidelines in structural fund programmes as agreed at the informal Council in Ireland on 14-15
November 1996

Does the Commission agree there may be a case for approving its guidelines for structural fund programmes, as
agreed at the informal Council in Ireland on 14-15 November 1996, (or its counterpart in future) at the same time
as final approval of the new Structural Fund regulations for 2000-2006, in order to avoid unnecessary effort in the
Member States in preparing their submissions and the need for wasteful subsequent alterations?

Answer given by Mrs Wulf-Mathies on behalf of the Commission


(6 April 1998)

The new proposals for structural funds regulations contain specific provision for the Commission to establish
Community guideline priorities for each of the objectives. Precisely in order to avoid unnecessary effort in the
Member States and the need for subsequent alterations, the guidelines will be issued before the presentation of
their plans. The aim is to agree the guidelines at the same time as final adoption of the new regulations or as soon
as possible thereafter.

(98/C 310/95) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0481/98


by Richard Howitt (PSE) to the Commission
(27 February 1998)

Subject: Use of experts to evaluate structural fund bids and performance

Could the Commission list the number of external experts it recruited in 1997 to advise on applications for and
evaluations of structural fund programmes and break down this total by nationality and gender? What proportion
of these experts received formal training on the EU’s requirements concerning structural fund programmes prior
to undertaking this work? What was the total cost of their work in 1997? Which recruitment measures did the
Commission use to ensure openness, transparency and non-discrimination?
9. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/73

Answer given by Mrs Wulf-Mathies 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 310/96) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0482/98


by Richard Howitt (PSE) to the Commission
(27 February 1998)

Subject: Projections of regional performance during the next programming period

Given the fact that structural fund programmes are intended to assist current changes in regional and local
economies and have too often in the past been based on out-of-date statistics, which studies has the Commission
undertaken or will it undertake on projection(s) for regional performance and by industrial sector for the period
2000-2006? What are the Commission’s preliminary findings in this respect? How does the Commission intend
to incorporate this analysis into the content of programmes for the new period after 1999?

Answer given by Mrs Wulf-Mathies on behalf of the Commission


(30 March 1998)

The decisions on the eligibility of regions under objective 1 and the new objective 2 proposed by the Commission
on 18 March 1998 (1) must be based on the most recent data. The time lags for the availability of such data vary.
For example, for statistics on the gross domestic product (GDP), the time lag for regional data is just over two
years. For regional unemployment rates the time lag is one year. Given that objectives 1 and 2 address structural
problems, which by definition change only slowly over time, these delays are well within acceptable limits and
remain a sound basis for eligibility decisions.

Such data represent a considerably more solid basis for decisions on the eligibility of regions than information
deriving from sectoral or regional projections. The levels of uncertainty surrounding such projections are beyond
acceptable limits given the many factors which determine economic performance. The Commission therefore
has no plans to develop new regional criteria in this respect.

(1) COM(98) 131 final.

(98/C 310/97) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0485/98


by Richard Howitt (PSE) to the Commission
(27 February 1998)

Subject: Continuity and change in eligible areas between different structural fund programming periods

Will the Commission provide a table of figures which show the level of continuity in terms of number of areas
and percentage of funding totals for eligible areas retaining eligibility at each successive reform of the Structural
Funds for the European Regional Development Fund in 1988 and 1993? Will the Commission provide
projections, based on current estimates, for the same figures in respect of the new programming period
1999-2006? Which studies has the Commission undertaken on the benefits of continuity between periods to
enable the completion of structural change, as against changes in eligibility in order to target need more
effectively? What preliminary conclusions does the Commission draw in this respect?