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C 110 E/150 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.

2003

budget implementation to executive agencies, which are defined in such a way that the Commission
retains control on implementation and can monitor their operation. The Commission shall apply clearance
of accounts procedures and appropriate financial correction mechanisms in order to ensure that the funds
are used in accordance with the applicable financial rules.

The Common agricultural policy (CAP) spending under the European Agriculture Guidance and Guarantee
Fund (EAGGF) Guarantee Section are, therefore, executed under the full respect of the provision as laid
down in the Financial Regulation including the aspects of accountancy and accountability.

A reform of the Commission’s clearance of account procedure related to EAGGF  Guarantee was
introduced in 1996.

The main features of this reformed system are the accreditation of paying agencies by the Member States
and an annual certification of their accounts by a body appointed by the Member States resulting in a
financial clearance decision taken in April of the following year. The certificate must state whether the
Certifying Body has gained reasonable assurance that the paying agency’s accounts are true, complete and
accurate. Compliance of payments with Community rules is only covered as regards the capability of the
paying agency’s administrative structure to ensure that such compliance has been checked before a
payment is made. Corrections based upon the Commission’s own examination of compliance aspects are
included in later conformity decisions. Member States have the opportunity to contest the corrections
proposed by the Commission before the Conciliation Body and, whether or not they choose to do so, have
the right to appeal to the European Court of Justice.

In it’s report of 30 November 2000, the Court of auditors concluded that ‘the accreditation and
certification requirements have greatly improved Member States accountability for EAGGF funds although
there is scope for improvements on both fronts’.

As regards budget execution, the Commission provides to the Budgetary Authorities a monthly financial
reporting known as the Early Warning System. This report contains a detailed analysis of the expenditure
declared by Members States against the expected profile. In addition, the system of accounting provides an
annual budget nomenclature, which covers approximately 2000 separate budget lines and allows the
identification of aggregated monthly payments made to Member States at any moment within the monthly
intervals.

(1) Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the
general budget of the Communities, OJ L 248, 16.9.2002.

(2003/C 110 E/170) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3013/02


by Eluned Morgan (PSE) to the Commission

(23 October 2002)

Subject: Sugar subsidies and the mid-term review of the CAP

Why has the question of sugar subsidies not been more radically addressed in the mid-term review of the
CAP?

When will we see a reduction of the scandal of export refunds making up to 80 % of the subsidy to sugar?

Would the Commission make a list of the top 100 companies who receive export refund payments?
8.5.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/151

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(26 November 2002)

In October 2000, the Commission proposed a prolongation of the sugar quota system for two additional
marketing years together with some modifications in the common organisation of the markets in the sugar
sector. The proposal was an interim solution and the Commission intended to reconsider the situation in
context of the Mid Term Review foreseen under Agenda 2000. In May 2001, the Council decided, in
accordance with the opinion of the Parliament, that the quota system would be maintained up to the
2005/2006 marketing year. While rolling-over the sugar Common Market Organisation (CMO) for another
five years, the Council requested the Commission to submit a report in 2003 together with any
appropriate proposal. Taking into account these decisions, the Commission did not propose any change
for sugar in its July 2002 Communication on the Mid Term Review (1). The Communication announced
next steps. In this context, sugar was explicitly mentioned among sectors scheduled for review in 2003.
This revision will take account, among others, of the consequence of the future opening of the sugar
market to the imports from Least Developed Countries.

While being maintained up to 2005/2006 quotas were cut by 115,000 tonnes to allow for respecting
World Trade Organisation commitments on subsidised exports. An additional reduction of 862,000 tonnes
is required for the 2002/2003 marketing year. When they launched the Doha Development Round in
November 2001, Ministers committed themselves, without prejudging the outcome of the negotiations, to
comprehensive negotiations aimed at, among others, ‘reductions, with the view of phasing out, all forms of
export subsidies’. Modalities for commitments have to be agreed by the end of March 2003. In this
context, it is too early to specify the timing and the modalities for reducing export subsidies.

The relevant Community legislation requires the Commission to keep the accounting information it
receives from the Member States confidential and secure. The attention of the Honourable Member is
drawn to the Framework Agreement on relations between the Parliament and the Commission of 5 July
2000 which contains specific provisions in respect of the transmission of confidential information.

In addition, the Commission recalls the specific financing mechanism applying for sugar exports. Only
expenditures for exports corresponding to a quantity equivalent to preferential imports are financed by the
Community budget. Export refunds for quota quantities have to be covered by producers’ levies, that are
part of the Union own resources.

(1) COM(2002) 394 final.

(2003/C 110 E/171) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3016/02

by Cristiana Muscardini (UEN) to the Commission

(23 October 2002)

Subject: Study of drug dependency and HIV infection

A number of alarming  and in some cases quite appalling  events involving young people (many of
whom were still minors) that have occurred recently have highlighted exactly how difficult an increasing
number of young people in our countries are finding it to lead a stable life. The disenchantment felt by
many young people has a number of causes in a society in which even politicians are becoming
increasingly egotistical and distant and, precisely for this reason, are less able properly to address those
causes. An ever-increasing number of young people are using ‘soft drugs’  the first step towards the
habitual use of harder drugs  and the number of young people who are HIV-positive is on the increase.