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18.9.

2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 261 E/131

Answer given by Mr Kinnock on behalf of the Commission

(23 April 2001)

Until 21 February 2001 the registration number EUR 364 was attributed to the Transport service of the
Commission.

At the end of January 2001 the car was in use as a service car to the Commission Representation Office in
The Hague.

The Head of the Commission’s Representation in The Hague was officially nominated as observer for the
Commission at the so-called ‘Lockerbie trial’ which took place in Zeist (Netherlands). The car was parked
in the common parking places close to the entrance to the court building. That car park was used by all
observers of the trial and also by the families and lawyers of the Libyans accused.

The registration number is at present not in use. Pictures of the car, clearly identifying its registration
number, appeared in Dutch newspaper and TV media coverage. It is standard procedure that for security
reasons the registration number is taken out of use in such cases.

(2001/C 261 E/141) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0508/01


by Charles Tannock (PPE-DE), Philip Bushill-Matthews (PPE-DE),
Den Dover (PPE-DE), Jacqueline Foster (PPE-DE), Christopher Heaton-Harris (PPE-DE),
Roger Helmer (PPE-DE), Bashir Khanbhai (PPE-DE), Neil Parish (PPE-DE),
Robert Sturdy (PPE-DE) and Theresa Villiers (PPE-DE) to the Council

(23 February 2001)

Subject: The role of the Economic and Social Committee and the prioritising of expenditures within the
European Union

Can the Council state what role it sees the Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC) as having now that
the European Parliament is directly elected, and whether it believes that the continued expenditure of
hundreds of millions of euros of taxpayers’ money on the Committee is justified and likely to command
the support of the European taxpayer if knowledge of these levels of expenditure was better publicised?

In particular, in view of Commission President Prodi’s statement last year to the effect that the European
Commission needed more funds to carry out its core tasks and the Commission’s refusal at the end of last
year to take on certain new tasks until it had received additional funds, does the Council feel that if the
Commission cannot find additional funds through elimination of wasteful expenditure within the
Commission itself that the Member States should agree to wind down the Economic and Social Committee
and use part of the savings (including, where appropriate, the transfer of staff from ECOSOC) to pay for
the additional tasks which the Commission may in the future be asked to carry out?

Reply

(30 May 2001)

It is not for the Council of the European Union to give an opinion on the role of a Community body
provided for by the Treaty. However, the attention of the Honourable Members is drawn to the relevant
provisions of the Treaty (Articles 257 to 262) defining the role and function of the Economic and Social
Committee. These provisions were basically confirmed by the Treaty signed in Nice on 16 February 2001,
which extends the composition of the Committee by referring to organised civil society and by specifically
mentioning consumers. This Treaty is currently subject to ratification by the Member States.

With respect to the second part of the question, the Honourable Members are invited to consult the
European Commission.