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C 110 E/94 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.

2003

The underlying reason for the reduction of the overall fisheries research budget is the need, recognised by
all Community Institutions, to concentrate Community resources on seven key priorities; this inevitably
means less resources for other areas. Although the budget available for fisheries research has been
decreased overall, compared with that of the Fifth Framework Programme, the Commission considers that
the above three areas provide an adequate and well-balanced set of activities on fisheries research in FP6.

(2003/C 110 E/095) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2719/02


by Friedrich-Wilhelm Graefe zu Baringdorf (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(20 September 2002)

Subject: Delay in establishing the European Leader+ observatory

According to the Commission’s notice to the Member States of 14 April 2000 laying down guidelines for
the Community initiative for rural development (Leader+) (1), Title 3, paras 23, and 40, the Commission is
to establish a European Observatory of rural areas. In most Member States the Leader+ projects have
already been set up.

Why is it then that, 9 months after the end of the tendering deadline for appointments to the European
Leader+ observatory, and two and a half years after the beginning of the programme, no official decision
has yet been taken and thus no networking is taking place at European level?

Could the Commission please inform us what stage the procedure has reached and of the results of the
steps taken in that procedure so far?

What does the Commission propose to do to ensure that the Observatory is established as soon as
possible?

(1) OJ C 139, 18.5.2000, p. 5.

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(23 October 2002)

By way of follow-up to the statement (in the notice to Member States of 14 April 2000) that a
Commission-led ‘Observatory of rural areas’ would be responsible for organising the network at
Community level the Commission published a call for tenders (2001/S 226-155371) dated 23 November
2001 (1), under which the contract was split into four lots and a maximum budget indicated for each.

Tenders, some for more than one lot, were then received from four bidders.

After the committee set up to examine the bids had applied the rules on exclusion from consideration and
assignment the Commission concluded that this open procedure had contrary to expectations not
generated enough competition for contracts to be awarded taking full account of the principles of sound
financial management, and accordingly decided not to award contracts for any of the four lots. Given the
need for a European Observatory of rural areas throughout the Leader+ period it is at present looking into
alternative ways of setting one up.

(1) OJ S 226, 23.11.2001.