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C 46 E/10 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 13.2.

2001

Will the Commission state how much would be allocated on that basis to Galicia, including the amounts
to be administered by Central Government and the autonomous community itself?

(1) OJ C 225 E, 8.8.2000, p. 2.

Reply given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission

(24 March 2000)

As the Honourable Member was informed in the reply to his Written Question E-1433/99 (1), the
Commission has in fact forwarded to the Member States covered by Structural Funds Objective 1 a
proposal for an indicative distribution of the appropriations allocated to that Objective for the 2000-2006
programming period.

The Commission will send the distribution proposal as forwarded to the Spanish authorities directly to the
Honourable Member and to the Parliament’s General Secretariat.

(1) OJ C 225 E, 8.8.2000, p. 2.

(2001/C 46 E/012) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0505/00
by Christopher Huhne (ELDR) to the Commission

(28 February 2000)

Subject: Payment of contractors and suppliers

What is the Commission’s policy on the timing of payments to its own contractors and suppliers? What is
the length of time between delivery or invoice and payment which is suggested in the Commission’s
procedures, and what, if any, action is taken to monitor whether these targets are met?

Answer given by Ms Schreyer on behalf of the Commission

(4 May 2000)

The Commission regularly checks the observance of payment periods by its departments.

In 1991 the Commission already set the target that payments should be executed within 60 days from the
date of receipt by departments of a request for payment prepared in due form. Within the 60-day period,
authorising departments have 40 days (for settlement and authorisation of the payment) and the horizontal
departments have 20 days (endorsement by financial control, check on the validity of the discharge by the
accountant, execution by the bank).

In 1995 the target set for Commission departments was that 95 % of operations should be completed
within 60 days. In 1997, the Commission amended its contract policy so that in the event of late payment
its creditors were entitled to claim late-interest payment.

Figures for 1999 show that across all departments the average period of payment (from the date of receipt
of the invoice to the date on which the Commission bank account is debited) was 54,1 days. However,
only 65,1 % of payments were completed with the 60-day period.
13.2.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 46 E/11

An interdepartmental working party consisting of representatives of financial units from the Directorates-
General is currently looking into the root causes of under-performance and will propose improvements.

In Part Two of the White Paper ‘Reforming the Commission: Action plan’ (1) the Commission confirms that
one of the objectives of the reform is to achieve 95 % of payments within 60 days by 2002 (Action 10:
Departments will be asked to set their own targets for meeting the Commission-wide target of payment in
60 days for 95 % of invoices by 2002 and to report on measures taken and results in their Annual Activity
Report). The appraisal by the Commission of the outputs delivered by services will take into account this
indicator.

In addition, the Commission will set up a central invoices register to allow better follow up (Action 11 of
the White Paper).

(1) COM(2000) 200 final.

(2001/C 46 E/013) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0527/00
by Michl Ebner (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(28 February 2000)

Subject: Abolition of duty-free and tax privileges for diplomats

With reference to Question E-1996/99 (1) and the Commission’s answer, which states that the tax
privileges for which the 1961 Vienna Convention provides are no longer justified in the European internal
market and should really be abolished, the Commission is asked to say whether, in accordance with the
principle of fairness and political decency, it intends to extend the argument consistently advanced on the
subject of the abolition of duty-free sales to all citizens of the EU and bring to an end the similar special
privileges enjoyed by the EU’s diplomatic staff?

(1) OJ C 219 E, 1.8.2000, p. 63.

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(14 April 2000)

On the issue of privileges granted to diplomats under the Vienna Convention, the Commission has nothing
further to add to its reply to the previous Written Question E-1996/99 by the Honourable Member.

(2001/C 46 E/014) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0546/00
by William Newton Dunn (ELDR) to the Commission

(28 February 2000)

Subject: Welfare of laying hens

If the EU fails to secure a welfare clause in the forthcoming WTO negotiations, what will the Commission
do to ensure that producers are protected from a flood of cheap, third-country imports?