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2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 187 E/101

(2001/C 187 E/107) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3986/00

by Giovanni Pittella (PSE) to the Commission

(21 December 2000)

Subject: Use of funds under Law No 488

Given that:

 pursuant to Law No 488, under which EU funding is available, the Parma-based company Manguro
has submitted 452 applications for funding in respect of projects which seem to be virtually identical
(identical administrator, identical capital, identical application for funding);

 this deed has given rise to much concern amongst the general public and repeated calls for
clarification have come from institutions, trade unions, economic operators and political circles;

 if the projects submitted were accepted, they would absorb most of the funds allocated under Law
No 488 (industry sector);

 a similar deed could be effected under the same law applied to tourism, whereas it is the wish of all
concerned that the errors of the past should not be repeated;

 a few days ago the twentieth anniversary of the earthquake was commemorated; although this
brought back memories of sound practices in both reconstruction and development work, it also
recalled the fraudulent activities of certain entrepreneurs,

can the Commission say whether or not it intends to look into the above situation and, if necessary, to
take appropriate decisions?

Answer given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission

(19 February 2001)

The Italian Industry Ministry, the authority responsible for managing the ‘Sviluppo imprenditoriale locale’
programme in 2000-06, has provided the Commission with the following information.

By 31 October 2000, the deadline for the submission of applications for 2000, 12 400 applications had
been received of which 452 were related applications from the Manguro consultancy company. These
concerned investment programmes submitted by 242 different firms in a wide variety of sectors of
production. They all had common features, such as the intensity of aid applied for, total expenditure, the
number of jobs to be created, turnover and the timetable for implementation. Furthermore, all 242 firms
had their head office in Emilia-Romagna, the same administrator and a small capital and most were
inactive and without employees.

Consideration of these applications began on 1 November 2000. This procedure is hedged about with
rules and covers the formal, technical, economic and financial aspects of the investment programmes to
ensure that assistance goes to the most deserving cases. Under the Italian Law 488/92, it is not possible to
exclude the submission of certain applications but each investment programme is rigorously assessed to
determine the reliability of the firm, the technical and economic soundness of the programme proposed,
the soundness of the financing plan and the market outlets.

At the end of this three-month examination, the banks undertaking it will make a final decision, in favour
or against. On the basis of these elements alone, more specific evaluations may be made of the different
investment programmes. The existing rules contain the provisions needed to enable the banks involved to
undertake rigorous evaluations and this has applied to all the applications submitted, including those
coordinated by the Manguro company which, because of the points listed above, will be considered with
all due attention.

The Commission will monitor this matter carefully and seek further information from the Italian
authorities on the results of this examination.