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C 207/10 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 21.7.


the Eastern borders of the Community and to deepen its collaboration with Eastern European countries, which
will help to enforce Community animal welfare rules and to assure a better protection of horses and other farm

(1) OJ L 340, 11.12.1991.

(2) OJ L 148, 30.6.1995.

(1999/C 207/012) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2563/98

by Christoph Konrad (PPE) to the Commission

(1 September 1998)

Subject: Financial scandal in Oberhausen, North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany, involving economic aid funds
for the HDO Media Centre

1. Is the Commission aware that EU funds, amongst others, were used for the construction of the HDO
Media Centre in Oberhausen?

2. Was the Media Centre, deemed to be a prestige project for the economic restructuring of the Ruhr area,
subsidized from the EU Structural Funds?

If so, under which Objective and for what amount?

3. Is the Commission aware that the German Public Prosecutor’s Office is carrying out an investigation in
this connection on the grounds that funds allocated to subsidize the project may have been embezzled?

4. What conclusions does the Commission draw from all this?

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

(17 November 1998)

The HDO media centre in Oberhausen has indeed been subsidised with funds from the European Regional
Development Fund.

The subsidy was granted under Objective 2 and paid in two stages. The assistance from the ERDF in the first
phase (1989-91) came to DM 1 932 444 and the assistance in the second phase (1992-93) came to
DM 415 346. This assistance was confined to covering the costs incurred during the start-up phase of the
project. Subsequent investment costs, i.e. nearly DM 100 million, were not part-financed by the ERDF.

The Commission has been informed about the legal proceedings started against two managers of the company
responsible for operating the technology centre, but these seem = as far as is know at present = to be linked to
other financial operations. The legal action appears to concern only the investment costs of the project, all of
which were financed from national funds.

The ERDF assistance towards part-financing these projects was paid to the company owning the capital
(Besitzgesellschaft) and not the operating company (Betriebsgesellschaft). When the Bezirksregierung in
Düsseldorf (the county authorities and highest local administration) came to check the certificates attesting the
final use of these funds, it found no irregularity or serious anomaly when clearing the accounts. The doubts
expressed in May 1993 by the Landesrechnungshof (Court of Auditors of the Land) when making its auditing
checks on the first stage were entirely cleared up. The Landesrechnungshof declared the auditing process
closed on 15 September 1995. However, the Commission will be closely following further developments in
the media centre affair.

If the German authorities find during their inquiries that the irregularities detected also involve the
Community assistance, they will be required to notify the Commission of the details under Commission
Regulation (EC) 1681/94 of 11 July 1994 (1). If they were to do so, the Commission would then take the
necessary measures.

(1) OJ L 178, 12.7.1994.