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1999 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 31/107

(1999/C 31/145) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1970/98

by Ernesto Caccavale (UPE) to the Commission

(30 June 1998)

Subject: Serious irregularities in Commission competition procedures

A notice of competition for assistant administrators at the Commission was published in the Official Journal of
31 March 1998, and 4 May 1998 was given as the deadline for submitting applications. Some potential applicants
asked the Commission’s offices in Rome and Milan for further information on how to complete the application
forms and were told that, on the basis of specific reports received direct from Brussels, the deadline would
probably be extended until 15 May 1998. This information subsequently proved to be completely without
foundation, so that many of those who applied late were excluded from the selection procedure.

1. Does the Commission intend to conduct an inquiry to ascertain who was responsible for spreading this false

2. What will it do to make up for these serious procedural irregularities?

3. Does it not think there is sufficient reason to reopen the competition, whose validity could otherwise be
seriously questioned?

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission

(3 August 1998)

On 31 March 1998 the Commission did indeed publish notices of five Category A open competitions stipulating
4 May 1998 as the closing date for applications. The Commission did not decide to defer the closing date. Had it
done so, a notice to this effect would have been published in the Official Journal in all official languages and all
Member States.

It is true that erroneous information to the effect that the closing date might be extended circulated within the
Commission’s office in Rome on the afternoon of Thursday, 30 April 1998 and the morning of Monday, 4 May
1998. The information was discovered and officially denied on the morning of Monday, 4 May 1998. Since
Friday, 1 May was a public holiday in Italy, a small number of potential applicants who consulted the
Commission office in Rome on the afternoon of 30 April 1998 or the morning of 4 May 1998 may have been
erroneously informed as to the closing date for applications. However, none can adduce any official notice,
which, as stated above, would have had to take the form of a correction published in the Official Journal in all
official languages and all Member States. An immediate investigation revealed that the false information was the
result of a computer error in Brussels.

As in the case of other competitions, some of the applications received were posted after the closing date laid
down in the notices of competition. Various reasons were given for the delays, including circumstances beyond
the applicants’ control. As with all competitions, the Commission will examine each case on its own merits in
accordance with the standard procedures for such matters.

The decisions on admittance to the preliminary tests will be taken in mid-July 1998.

The Commission has received around 30 000 applications for all five competitions, some 30 % of which have
come from Italy.

(1999/C 31/146) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1972/98

by Antonio Trizza (NI) to the Commission

(15 June 1998)

Subject: Italian bill on the marketing of virgin and extra-virgin olive oil

Italian bill No. 4698 (approved by the Standing Committee on Agriculture of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and
Senate on 26 May 1998), containing measures for the marketing of extra-virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil and olive