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2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/51

3. How can it be claimed that a single market exists when certain self-defence devices used and sold in
France, for example, are not allowed to cross the border into Italy, where they are banned?

4. What impression can citizens have of the EU if they use a device which is legal in France, but are
considered criminals when they use that same device in Italy?

5. What proposals does the Commission intend to make to overcome these inconsistencies and to speed
up the creation of a common area of freedom, security and justice?

(1) OJ C 225 E, 8.8.2000, p. 61.

Answer given by Mr Vitorino on behalf of the Commission

(3 May 2000)

The Commission does not currently have the intention to take up an initiative to harmonise Member
States’ legislations on the use of self-defence devices such as sprays or low-voltage electrical fences, the use
of which is allowed in some Member States. The Commission considers that it is for each Member State to
regulate the use of such devices in its own territory, in so far as the maintenance of public order or the
safeguard of public security is at stake.

According to Article 33 of the Treaty on European Union, the provisions on police and judicial
cooperation in criminal matters of Title VI shall not affect the exercise of the responsibilities incumbent
upon Member States with regard to the maintenance of law and order and the safeguarding of internal

The Commission takes the position that the application of Article 33 in this context does not affect the
implementation of the EU Treaty on the basis of the Vienna action plan and the political guidelines and
concrete objectives agreed by the Tampere European Council, which will provide European citizens with a
high level of safety within an area of freedom, security and justice.

(2001/C 26 E/065) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0504/00
by Christopher Huhne (ELDR) to the Commission

(28 February 2000)

Subject: Reassignment of Commission staff

What procedures does the Commission have available, and how often are they implemented, for the
reassignment of staff from one directorate-general which may need fewer staff to another directorate-
general which may need more staff? How effective have these measures been in terms of the number of
posts transferred each year between directorates-general as a percentage of total numbers in post? Can the
Commission give any other information about its reassignment of staff?

Answer given by Ms Schreyer on behalf of the Commission

(13 April 2000)

Since 1997, human resources have been allocated each year as part of the budgetary procedure with a
view to linking the levels of staff and administrative appropriations more closely to the volume of
operating appropriations to be managed and thus synchronising better the various procedures for planning
and allocating resources. It should be emphasised that this exercise in not the only occasion on which the
Commission transfers human resources. Sometimes large-scale transfers are made in conjunction with
decisions taken under the budgetary procedure. As part of its continued effort to adjust structures to
requirements, the Commission uses its administrative independence to make transfers and other move-
ments. On a different but still significant scale, individual Commission departments also endeavour to
adjust their internal structures to the tasks required of them.
C 26 E/52 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 26.1.2001

During the 1998, 1999 and 2000 budgetary procedures, the Commission actively sought to reassign some
of its human resources available with a view to strengthening its activities in priority areas. When the
preliminary draft budget was being prepared, 1 % of posts were set aside to create a pool of human
resources to be allocated to activities considered as priorities. For the 1998 and 1999 budgets the annual
allocation exercises covered both the (vacant) posts corresponding to the 1 % set aside and the annual
instalment of 110 new posts connected with the last enlargement (Austria, Finland and Sweden).

During the period 1997 to 1999, staff increases were mainly for the Directorate-General for Health and
Consumer Protection, programme management, in particular in the field of external action, including the
creation of the Relex Common Service and the establishment of ad hoc task forces to deal with the Kosovo
crisis. Some of the other departments which received significant staff increases were the Unit for the
Coordination of Fraud Prevention (UCLAF), the Justice and Home Affairs Task Force, the Directorate-
General for Economic and Financial Affairs and the Directorate-General for Competition.

During the current year, human resources are being allocated in parallel with a root and branch
reorganisation of Commission departments in a bid to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Reorganisation
began in September 1999. Some Directorates-General have been merged (for example, the new DGs
Enterprise, Education and Culture and Energy and Transport) and new departments have been created
(for example the new DGs Enlargement and Justice and Home Affairs). This involved transfers of duties
and staff from one department to another. By rationalising departments, the reorganisation released
significant numbers of human resources (approx. 2 %) which were assigned to priority activities. Together
with the human resources thus released, the allocation of the 1 % of posts set aside (see above) concerned
the departments which have not undergone major reorganisation. In all, the equivalent of more than
500 man/years were reassigned in the year 2000 allocation exercise.

The allocation exercise for the year 2000 assigned additional staff to programme management, in
particular in the area of external action, to the setting up of the new DGs Enlargement and Home Affairs,
to activities relating to the President’s enhanced coordination role as coordinator, to competition policy
and to other aspects of the internal market.

(2001/C 26 E/066) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0512/00
by Christopher Huhne (ELDR) to the Commission

(28 February 2000)

Subject: Offshore centres and the exchange of information concerning payments

In the light of the answer to Written Question E-2234/99 (1) by Mr Bolkestein (17 January 2000), is there
any reason why similar measures to those outlined in the answer might not be applied to offshore centres
which failed to enter into agreements for the exchange of information concerning payments to non-

(1) OJ C 219 E, 1.8.2000, p. 128.

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(10 April 2000)

Beyond the scope of current anti-money-laundering provisions, the exchange of information regarding tax
matters is generally governed by bilateral tax treaties which are entirely within the competence of the
governments concerned. The finance ministers of the Group of seven most industrialized countries (G7)
have recently expressed concern, however, about offshore financial centres and tax havens which under-
mine international standards of financial regulation and which are shelters to avoid or evade payment
of tax.