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21.8.2001

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Official Journal of the European Communities

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Moreover, one of the joint actions to be launched in the near future deals with the ‘credit for life’ where the recognition of prior experience or learning should be one of its pillars. The Leonardo and Socrates/ Grundtvig networks on recognition should also be mentioned as reflection fora and action-oriented initiatives in this field.

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Council Decision 2001/63/EC of 19 January 2001 on Guidelines for Member States’ employment policies for 2001 (OJ L 22, 24.1.2001). ‘A Memorandum on Lifelong Learning’ Commission Staff Working Paper, (SEC(2000) 1832/30-10-2000).

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(2001/C 235 E/240)

WRITTEN QUESTION P-0434/01

by Heidi Hautala (Verts/ALE) to the Council

(14 February 2001)

Subject: Treaty of Nice and changes to Article 133 concerning intellectual property and trade in services

In the light of the new provisions of Article 133(5), the ‘commercial aspects of intellectual property’ as well as ‘trade in services’ (subject to the listed derogations) will now fall within the Community’s powers and responsibilities in respect of the common commercial policy. However Article 133(7) has further provisions restricting the extension of those powers with respect to international negotiations and agreements on intellectual property issues not covered by Article 133(5).

Pursuant to the existing provisions of Article 133(5), the European Parliament must be consulted specifically on the proposed changes to Article 133 of the Treaty.

Will the Council please indicate whether there is a definitive agreement between Member States and the Commission on precisely which aspects of intellectual property are commercial and which are not? If so, will it agree to publish it? If not, how and when will this be defined? As a consequence of these new provisions, will Member States which are signatories to the TRIPs Agreement continue to participate directly and individually in the current and future negotiations on intellectual property issues at WTO level, and will national consent be required for the conclusion of any such agreements?

Reply

(14 May 2001)

1. The questions put by the Honourable Member concern the interpretation of the provisions of Article

133 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, as approved at the Nice Intergovernmental Conference and as they will apply once the Treaty of Nice has been ratified by the 15 Member States and

has come into force. It is not for the Council to state a position on that interpretation.

2. The European Parliament would be consulted if the Council were to receive a proposal from the

Commission based on the current Article 133(5) of the Treaty establishing the European Community. The Council has received no such proposal.

(2001/C 235 E/241)

WRITTEN QUESTION P-0435/01

by José Pomés Ruiz (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(13 February 2001)

Subject: Role of the national parliaments and the European Parliament

Having set up the necessary temporary committee of inquiry, the Spanish Parliament considered the issue of flax subsidies in Spain and wound up its proceedings with the decision that the Minister of Agriculture at the time in question, Mrs Loyola de Palacio, should be absolved of all political responsibility. It endorsed

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Official Journal of the European Communities

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21.8.2001

these conclusions at a time when no party had an absolute majority. Because no new information or additional evidence has emerged since the investigation, it has not thought fit to set up a second committee of inquiry.

The Treaty of Nice stipulates that the role of the national parliaments in relation to the European Parliament is to be reviewed at the next intergovernmental conference.

Bearing that point in mind, and the fact that ratification of the Treaty of Nice by the national parliaments

is well under way, does the Commission believe that the European Parliament can set itself up as a higher

court to sit in judgment on matters already dealt with by national parliaments, as was the case with the alleged political responsibility of the present Commission Vice-President at the time when she headed

a Spanish ministry?

Answer given by Mr Prodi on behalf of the Commission

(6 March 2001)

The Commission is aware of the conclusions reached on 17 August 1999 by the temporary committee of inquiry set up by the Spanish Government, which exonerated the Minister of Agriculture from all political responsibility in the case referred to by the Honourable Member.

The Commission attaches great importance to the contribution made by national parliaments to the construction of Europe and recalls that the Treaty contains a protocol on the role of national parliaments in the European Union. Moreover, one of the topics to be examined as part of the wider and more in- depth debate which has been taking place since the negotiation of the Nice Treaty will be the role of national parliaments within the European architecture.

The Commission does not wish to speculate on hypothetical situations. On the contrary, it recently stated in its answer to Oral Question H-0059/01 that it felt that it was of prime importance to ensure that any debate on matters such as those referred to in the Oral Question by the Honourable Member were based on objective and tangible facts.

(2001/C 235 E/242)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-0439/01

by Glyn Ford (PSE) to the Commission

(16 February 2001)

Subject: Europartenariat programme

The European Commission recently took a decision to end the Europartenariat programme. This programme has provided excellent contact and networking opportunities for many small and medium- sized companies in South-West England, and they are dismayed to learn of its abolition.

Would the Commission indicate:

1. When this decision was taken?

2. Why the Commission is no longer continuing with this programme?

3. Whether the it plans to replace this programme with a new and comparable scheme?

4. Given that an evaluation study is currently taking place at a cost of GBP 200 000, why it decided to close the programme before this evaluation had been completed?