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C 310/100 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.

98

(98/C 310/133) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0602/98


by Arthur Newens (PSE) to the Commission
(4 March 1998)

Subject: Comparative value of state pensions in European Union countries

Further to the answer given by the Commission to Written Questions Nos 2620/88 (1) and 792/92 (2) on the
relative value of state pensions in European Union Member States, will the Commission now provide an up-date,
calculated for a single person at his/her legal retirement age after a full contribution career, for as recent a date as
available figures permit?

(1) OJ C 262, 16.10.1989, p. 58.


(2) OJ C 16, 21.1.1993, p. 5.

Answer given by Mr de Silguy on behalf of the Commission


(20 April 1998)

The Commission is sending direct to the Honourable Member and to Parliament’s secretariat first estimates in the
framework of a study by Eurostat to update ‘Old age replacement rates − volume 1’ first published in 1990.
The complete methodology and final estimates for the eight Member States covered will be published in June
1998.

(98/C 310/134) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0603/98


by Bartho Pronk (PPE) to the Commission
(4 March 1998)

Subject: Socio-political adult education and its role in the Commission’s education policy

Does the Commission view socio-political adult education as the basis for cohesion in the EU and if so, how does
it intend to realize this aim in its programme?

Is it true that there is no specific budget line for adult education?

Is it correct that the Commission only supports socio-political topics when they are immediately relevant to it
(e.g. the euro) but offers NGOs no possibility of financing for topics chosen by them?

What financing is available for NGO-run educational programmes on ethical subjects and problems and the
methodology of socio-political adult education?

Is the Commission prepared to recognize and promote socio-political adult education as an educational sector in
its own right in addition to university, vocational and school education?

Answer given by Mrs Cresson on behalf of the Commission


(8 April 1998)

The Commission attaches great importance to the development of adult education. The Socrates programme is
concerned with improving cooperation between Member States in the field of adult education, so as to promote
in adults the spirit of European citizenship, social inclusion and awareness of other Member States’ cultures.
There is no specific budget line for adult education; it comes under the budget for the Socrates programme
(Action 3.5.A).
9. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/101

Each year the Commission indicates in the applicants’ guide the priority activities that it intends to support in the
field of adult education, and that also take into account equality of opportunity, access for the disabled, and
preference for rural and disadvantaged regions. Most of the projects financed are initiated by associations and
NGOs and relate in particular to the integration of disadvantaged groups (migrants, the disabled, the illiterate, the
unemployed), European citizenship and cooperation in adult education (comparison of systems, exchanges of
good practice).

The Commission is very aware that in a society undergoing rapid economic, social, cultural, scientific and
technological change every citizen must have the opportunity for lifelong learning. This objective will be a
priority in the next Socrates programme.

(98/C 310/135) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0607/98


by José Valverde López (PPE) to the Commission
(9 March 1998)

Subject: Social and economic cohesion

Before accepting the financial guidelines, Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee have both called
for guarantees from the Commission to the effect that those guidelines will not jeopardize the progress of social
and economic cohesion in the European Union.

The governments of the countries which benefit from cohesion fear that the reduction in solidarity and on the
volume of transfers may adversely affect the results they have achieved in their efforts to catch up with the
economically more developed countries and regions of the European Union.

What decisions or supplementary proposals is the Commission intending to make in order to remove these
uncertainties, which are creating unease and insecurity amongst the general public and in political debate at
national level?

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


(14 April 1998)

In its communication ‘Agenda 2000: for a stronger and wider Europe (1)’, the Commission proposed increasing
the Structural Funds budget for the current 15 Member States to ECU 218.3 billion (1999 prices) for the period
2000-06.

About two thirds of this funding will go to the regions lagging behind in their development eligible for Objective
1 under the reformed Structural Funds. Objective criteria will be used to allocate this funding, i.e. eligible
population, the gap between regional wealth and the Community average, national wealth and a high
unemployment level. This method will make it possible to concentrate funding in the regions with the most
serious difficulties.

As regards the Cohesion Fund, the Commission has proposed that Member States whose gross national product
(GNP) per capita is less than 90% of the Community average should continue to qualify, whether they take part in
the third phase of economic and monetary union (EMU) or not.

There is therefore no doubting the Commission’s determination to maintain the policy priority of economic and
social cohesion and to show solidarity with the least well-off Community regions. The Commission showed this
determination on 18 March 1998 by adopting the draft Regulations on the Structural Funds and the
communication to the Council and to Parliament on the establishment of a new financial perspective for the
period 2000-06.

(1) COM (97) final 2000.