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C 280 E/180 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 3.10.

2000

At the same time, the Council underlined the need to involve civil society fully in the process and, to that
end, to continue to engage with it in order to take into account its legitimate interests and concerns.

2. In its Resolution of 18 November 1999, the European Parliament had substantially shared the
objectives established by the Council, particularly with respect to the global approach advocated in the
abovementioned Conclusions.

3. Following the failure of the Seattle Conference, the Council bodies are currently examining, on the
basis of information provided by the Commission, which was also presented by Commissioner Lamy
during his recent appearance before the European Parliament Committee on Industry, External Trade,
Research and Energy, the most appropriate ways of achieving the objectives set out in the Conclusions of
26 October 1999, which still form the basis of the Union’s position for the next round of trade
negotiations in the WTO. At the same time, the Council’s subordinate bodies will also focus on analysing
the deficiencies in the preparation and procedures of the Seattle Conference, in order to identify
appropriate mechanisms for improving the efficiency as well as the internal and external transparency of
the WTO process and to ensure the full involvement of all its members.

4. An initial exchange of views at political level on all of these questions will be held at the informal
meeting of Trade Ministers scheduled for March 17 and 18 2000 in Porto. It will then be for the General
Affairs Council to lay down the political and strategical guidelines in this area.

(2000/C 280 E/207) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0115/00

by Camilo Nogueira Román (Verts/ALE) to the Council

(31 January 2000)

Subject: Unemployment and treaty reform

The Portuguese Presidency intends to devote the first European Council meeting to be held in Portugal to
unemployment and social cohesion. It is clear that the unemployment problem in the EU in recent years
has been directly linked to economic development, and the 25 regions with the lowest level of
unemployment, at 4 %, are among the richest regions, while the 25 regions with the highest unemploy-
ment, standing at 23,7 %, are among the poorest.

In the light of this situation, will the Portuguese Presidency include the implementation of a European
employment policy at the same level as the regional development policy among the issues for which
reform of the Treaties is proposed at the Intergovernmental Conference for the year 2000?

Reply

(16 March 2000)

Under the Treaty of Amsterdam, a new Title VIII on employment has been included in the EC Treaty
requiring Member States and the Community to work towards developing a coordinated strategy for
employment. While it is early days still in developing such a coordinated strategy, the initial experience of
implementing the Treaty provisions, which began in advance of the actual entry into force under the
Luxembourg process, has been encouraging. One of the reasons for the recent improvements in the overall
employment situation are the policies being implemented by Member States and efforts to coordinate them
through the various processes at the level of the Union. In all Member States, the 1998 and 1999
Employment guidelines have been successfully transposed into national action plans demonstrating the
continuing and strengthened commitment to the process.

The Presidency’s aim for the special European Council in Lisbon on 23 and 24 March is to update the
European strategy for growth, competitiveness and employment in the light of the new conditions, as well
as to enhance the European Employment Pact.
3.10.2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 280 E/181

Neither the conclusions of the European Council in Cologne nor the conclusions of the European Council
in Helsinki include the implementation of a European Employment Policy within the mandate of the
conference of representatives of the governments of the Member States which shall be called to amend the
Treaties.

(2000/C 280 E/208) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0125/00


by Neil MacCormick (Verts/ALE) to the Council

(31 January 2000)

Subject: Arms exports

Is the Council aware that restraints on arms exports to countries such as Sudan are being evaded through
licensing of arms manufacture to third country producers?

What steps will the Council take about this?

Reply

(16 March 2000)

The problem referred to by the Honourable Member has not been placed before the Council. However, the
subject of arms brokering is currently being examined within the Council’s subordinate bodies.

(2000/C 280 E/209) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0134/00


by Joost Lagendijk (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(20 January 2000)

Subject: Influencing of staff of DG XX (Financial Control) during inquiries by the European Court of
Auditors

The web page of ‘Renouveau & Democratie’ includes the following questions to the Commission:

 Is it true that prior to checks by the European Court of Auditors on the DG for Financial Control the
management of the DG distributes a list of possible questions and suggested answers?

 Is it true that staff are asked to report to management on the substance of the talks they have with the
Court of Auditors?

If the answers are in the affirmative can the Commission answer these questions:

 what were the ‘standard questions and suggested answers’?

 does the Commission agree that this procedure is an impediment to proper checks by the Court of
Auditors since it is impossible for staff to answer entirely freely?

 what action does the Commission intend to take in response to this procedure, and when?

Answer given by Mrs Schreyer on behalf of the Commission

(7 March 2000)

The list of questions which was distributed was not ‘possible questions’ but, at the request of the Court of
Auditors, a questionnaire prepared by the audit team of the Court of Auditors. Also, what was put on the
Intranet of DG Financial Control  to be used as a basis for obtaining information  were not ‘suggested
answers’ but the answers to the same questionnaire by a unit of DG Financial Control.