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2002 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 309 E/121

Answer given by Mr Kinnock on behalf of the Commission

(19 July 2002)

On the issue of adherence to bilingualism, the Commission refers the Honourable Member to the answer
given to his oral question H-359/02 during question time at Parliament’s June 2002 session (1).

A staff shop for officials of the Commission and other Institutions in Brussels has existed for many years,
first in the Berlaymont and later in the Commission building at 27 Rue de la Science/Wetenschapsstraat.
The fact that use of the shop is limited is related entirely to requirements of proof of identity and security
and not to ‘exclusivity’. The shop can therefore be used by staff of all the EU Institutions, Members of the
Parliament and their assistants, staff of EU Permanent Representations and Embassies, accredited journalists
and staff of certain other Institutions, such as, for instance, Eurocontrol.

As the Honourable Member will know, most Commission buildings in Brussels and the places of work of
other Institutions are situated in proximity to Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat and Rue Belliard/Belliardstraat, an
area in which shopping facilities are very limited. Because of that, the Commission continues to believe
that it is in the interest of the staff and of the Institutions that a shop should be conveniently located in
this area.

However, in 2000, as part of its conclusions on the Peer Group Review  which were reported to
Parliament  the Commission also decided that it should not use its own personnel to run the staff shop.
A tender was therefore launched with a view to externalising the management of the staff shop.

Following the completion of the tender procedure, the contract to manage the shop was awarded to S.A.
Delhaize Le Lion, who had proposed to re-equip and renovate the shop at their own expense in line with
their ‘City’ supermarket concept. Delhaize took over management of the shop in January 2002 and the
renovations were completed in April 2002. It should be noted that Delhaize pays a fixed annual sum to
the Commission to cover infrastructure costs.

The shop is a small supermarket of the ‘Delhaize City’ type which offers the same range of products that is
typically found in a normal supermarket and the management has no intention of offering what the
Honourable Member describes as ‘luxury’ goods to an ‘exclusive’ clientele.

For these reasons, the Commission does not agree with the assertion contained in the conclusion of the
Honourable Member’s question.

(1) Written reply 11.6.2002.

(2002/C 309 E/143) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1424/02

by Eluned Morgan (PSE) to the Commission

(23 May 2002)

Subject: Cross-border cheque payments

Will the Commission outline what is being done to make it easier for UK citizens to interact with the
single market due to the difficulties of paying a cheque cross-border?

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(25 June 2002)

Cheque processing on a cross-border basis is very expensive because it is not fully automated and requires
manual handling. This situation is not likely to change, and banks are gradually withdrawing this kind of
service. The Commission is urging the European banking community to develop alternative electronic
C 309 E/122 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 12.12.2002

means of payment which should be modern, rapid, reliable and offered at low cost. These more modern
payment methods should cover credit cards, credit and debit transfers, direct debits and other electronic
payment instruments, such as mobile payments, both for face-to-face and on-line commerce.

The Commission does not intend to specifically support the use of cheques in relation to other means of
payments, especially as cheques are considered a rather inefficient and outdated payment instrument. In
addition, there is no obligation for accepting a cheque as a payment. This policy was also taken by the
Council and the Parliament in adopting the Regulation (EEC) No 2560/2001 of 19 December 2001 on
cross-border payments in euro (1). According to recital 8 of the Regulation the non-discrimination principle
(equal charges for cross-border and national payments) does not apply to cheques as they are by nature
not processed as efficiently as other means of payments, in particular electronic payments.

(1) OJ L 344, 28.12.2001.

(2002/C 309 E/144) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1425/02

by Glyn Ford (PSE) to the Council

(23 May 2002)

Subject: Use of the euro

Which countries outside of the twelve have been authorised to issue euro coins, and what procedure is
necessary for such authorisation?


(3 October 2002)

The Vatican City State, the Republic of San Maríno and the Principality of Monaco have been authorised to
issue, under certain conditions, euro coins on the basis of monetary agreements concluded on behalf of the
Community, respectively by Italy for both the Vatican City State (1) and the Republic of San Maríno (2) and
France for the Principality of Monaco (3).

(1) OJ C 299, 25.10.2001, p. 1.

(2) OJ C 209, 27.7.2001, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 142, 31.5.2002, p. 59.

(2002/C 309 E/145) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1430/02

by Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(23 May 2002)

Subject: Delays in the further development of a restrictive fisheries policy as a result of attempts to
influence officials and deferring of decisions

1. Can the Commission confirm that the shaping of European fisheries policy continues to be affected
by different views and demands, with, on the one hand, many fearing that sea fish stocks are rapidly
diminishing as a consequence of overfishing, whilst, on the other hand, the economies of some Member
States  and in particular Spain and Portugal  are overly dependent on fishing being maintained or even