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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 92 E/205

(2003/C 92 E/265) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2756/02

by Jan Mulder (ELDR) to the Commission

(1 October 2002)

Subject: Politically motivated appointments in the Polish Sapard paying agency

According to recent reports, key officials in the Polish paying agency for the Sapard programme have been
replaced by others on political grounds. The reports about these political appointments of members of the
Polish Peasants’ Party indicate that the Commission have contacted the Polish authorities about this matter.

1. Have the recent appointments in Poland in any way breached the agreements between Poland and
the EU on Sapard?

2. Does the Commission take the view that the current paying agency can operate independently, and is
its staff able and qualified to carry out the job according to the agreements with the European
Communities? How does the Commission monitor the activities of the Sapard agency before enlargement?

3. Has the Commission received information about similar political appointments in Sapard paying
agencies in other candidate countries?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(11 November 2002)

Although the issue of staff appointments is not explicitly addressed in the Multiannual Financing
Agreement (MAFA), Article 5(4) in Section A requires that ‘… any proposed changes in the implementing
or paying arrangements of the Sapard Agency after its accreditation are submitted by the Competent
Authority to the Commission for examination in advance of their implementation’.

Given the high level of autonomy the regional office directors have in Poland (which includes signing
contracts with beneficiaries), it is reasonable to consider them as key staff, and thus effectively subject to
Article 5(4). The Polish authorities were reminded that, in future, the Commission would expect to be
informed in advance of such changes, and were asked for detailed information about the reports of
personnel changes.

The decision conferring management of aid to Poland was taken in June 2002. Based on visits to regional
offices and the Sapard Agency headquarters, and additional written representations from the Polish
authorities, the Commission concluded at that time that there were sufficient staff in situ to administer the
programme, both at regional and central levels.

The Commission has since received additional written assurances from the National Authorising Officer
that, of the sixteen regional office directors, two have been dismissed and two have resigned. The same
statistics apply for the thirty-two deputy directors. The Polish authorities have also provided (as requested)
detailed lists with the names of individuals at each regional office. These facts were verified during a recent

As far as monitoring is concerned, the Commission has several tools at its disposal. Typically, the first step
post-accreditation is to follow up the points raised in the Letter of Observations, which usually refer to
suggested control improvements. There is also a requirement for the Internal Audit departments of each
Sapard Agency to reperform the application selection and claim authorisation processes for the first batch
of submissions, to ensure the soundness of the decision making. The results of this exercise are reported to
the Commission, thereby providing an early signal of any potential problems. In addition, prior to the
acceptance and payment of a quarterly expenditure declaration, the Commission needs evidence that such
a report has been received and that it is considered satisfactory.
C 92 E/206 Official Journal of the European Union EN 17.4.2003

Over the longer term, there are three additional monitoring processes:

 The accredited Sapard agencies are subject to the same financial and conformity clearance exercises as
the paying agencies of Member States under the European Agriculture Guidance and Guarantee Fund

 Per Article 7 (Annex, Section B) of the MAFA, each candidate country must set up a Monitoring
Committee, the purpose of which is, inter alia, to ‘review progress made towards achieving the
objectives set out in the Programme’, and to propose modifications to that programme if appropriate.

 The agencies are also required by the MAFA (q.v. the Annex, under Article 8 of Section B), to submit
annual programme implementation reports for review.

The Commission is concerned with the technical competence and procedural knowledge of those recruited
both pre- and post-accreditation, not their political affiliations. A similar situation arose in Bulgaria, where
one of the two deputy directors of the Sapard Agency was removed without prior notification to the
Commission, and there were allegations that many other people in situ at the time of accreditation were
facing the same fate.

A claim for payment was suspended until the facts of the case were established, achieved via a request for
information. The information was duly supplied, enabling the payment to be made, and further audit
comfort was obtained through a follow-up mission, the findings of which were satisfactory.

(2003/C 92 E/266) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2758/02

by Olivier Dupuis (NI) to the Commission

(1 October 2002)

Subject: Execution of Mr Yoshiteru Hamada and Mr Tatsuya Haruta

On Prime Minister Koizumi’s return from his trip to North Korea yesterday the Japanese authorities in all
likelihood executed two people  Mr Yoshiteru Hamada and Tatsuya Haruta. In response to an earlier
question on the death penalty in Japan (E-2421/02 (1)), Mr Patten, on behalf of the Commission, stated in
particular that ‘a Union troika démarche, addressed to the Japanese Minister of Justice, was … carried out
on 18 February 2002 with a full explanation of the Union’s position on the death penalty’ and also that
‘the subject is kept under review by the Heads of Mission with a view to further initiatives …’.

What has been the Commission’s reaction to this double execution? Will it undertake joint initiatives with
the Council of Europe, of which Japan is an observer state, as regards abolishing the death penalty?
Moreover, in general, what initiatives has the Commission undertaken, or will it undertake, in order to
inform the Japanese authorities that the abolition of the death penalty in the democratic states of Asia, and
in particular Japan, India, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan, is of particular importance, precisely because
they are democratic countries, which have special relations with the European Union?

(1) See page 167.

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(22 October 2002)

The Commission participated in an Union Troika démarche to Minister of Justice Moriyama on 4 October
2002 expressing deep regret at the executions and the recent imposition of further death sentences and
setting out the basis for the Union’s opposition to the application of the death penalty.