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C 310/144 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.

98

(98/C 310/195) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0882/98


by Bill Miller (PSE) to the Commission
(26 March 1998)

Subject: Number of reminders

What is the average number of reminders which must be sent to an official of the Commission before a response
is forthcoming to an enquiry from a Member of the European Parliament?

(98/C 310/196) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0883/98


by Bill Miller (PSE) to the Commission
(26 March 1998)

Subject: Millennium and new technology

With the advance of new technology and the approach of the Millennium, am I in any danger of receiving a reply
to earlier correspondence to the Commission?

(98/C 310/197) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0884/98


by Bill Miller (PSE) to the Commission
(26 March 1998)

Subject: Length of time to reply to correspondence

What is the average length of time that it takes an official of the Commission to respond to correspondence from
a Member of the European Parliament?

Joint answer to Written Questions


E-0882/98, E-0883/98 and E-0884/98
given by Mr Santer on behalf of the Commission
(14 April 1998)

The Commission ensures that all correspondence is answered as quickly as possible. Much depends, however, on
whether or not the reply needs to be translated, whether different departments have to cooperate in the drafting,
and on the technical nature of the matters raised.

In the interests of effective cooperation between institutions, it has been decided that a letter from a Member of
Parliament should normally be answered within three weeks. If a letter from a Member of Parliament is
registered by the Commission’s mail department on arrival, that department, which is part of the Secretariat-
General, will monitor replies and send a reminder to the departments concerned if they fail to answer within the
time limit. This procedure will not be affected by the approach of the millennium.

(98/C 310/198) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0885/98


by Bill Miller (PSE) to the Commission
(26 March 1998)

Subject: Access to documentation

Is the Commission aware of the decision of the Court of First Instance of 6 February 1998 (Case T-124/96)
concerning access to documentation? If so, does the Commission intend to comply with point 6 of this decision
which sets out a Code of Conduct? If so, does the Commission accept that point 6 states that the public will have
the widest possible access to documents held by the Commission and the Council (documents in this instance
meaning any written text, whatever its medium, which contains existing data and is held by the Commission or
Council)?
9. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/145

Answer given by Mr Santer on behalf of the Commission


(22 April 1998)

The Commission would inform the Honourable Member that points 4 to 6 of the judgment of the Court of First
Instance of 6 February 1998 (Case T-124/96) are a very clear explanation of the system of access to documents
introduced by the Commission in 1994.

The Commission adopted Decision 94/90/ECSC, EC, Euratom on public access to Commission documents on
8 February 1994 (1). This decision, which establishes a code of conduct agreed jointly with the Council on
6 December 1993, lays down the principle that the public should have the widest possible access to the
institutions’ internal documents. Access will be refused only where disclosure of a document might endanger
public or private interests or threaten the confidentiality of the institution’s proceedings.

The Commission would point out to the Honourable Member that its commitment to transparency is borne out by
the statistics: in 1997 only 10% of requests were refused on the grounds of one of the exceptions provided for in
the code of conduct.

(1) OJ L 46, 18.2.1994.

(98/C 310/199) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0898/98


by Daniela Raschhofer (NI) to the Commission
(26 March 1998)

Subject: Permanent Representations of the European Union

In filling the posts for the Task Force on enlargement to the east, the quetion of appointing the heads of the
Permanent Representations in the applicant countries has also been under discussion.

1. Have these positions already been filled?

2. What criteria were applied in making the appointments?

3. Has the Austrian Federal Government displayed any particular ambitions for any of these posts?

4. Will the Permanent Representations remain if one or other of these countries is not admitted to the EU?

5. Are there Permanent Representations in Norway, Switzerland and Turkey?

Answer given by Mr Van den Broek on behalf of the Commission


(22 April 1998)

1. The posts of head of delegation in the candidate countries are, with one exception, filled.

2. The posts are filled by the Commission in the same way as all middle management posts. Attention is given
to the particular nature of the role of the Commission’s external service.

3. The post of head of delegation in Slovakia is reserved for an Austrian national.

4. Yes.

5. The Commission is represented in Norway and Turkey but not in Switzerland, as the Commission’s
delegation in Geneva is accredited not to the Swiss government but to the international organisations there.