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C 137 E/214 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.


Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(23 January 2003)

The Commission has concluded its assessment of the impact of State aid granted towards the cost of
bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) tests. It has found that there is a risk of distortion of competition
arising from different levels of State aid granted, at least as far as slaughter cattle are concerned. However,
the Commission has also taken note of the purpose of the tests and the particular concern for the
protection of human health. Therefore, a total prohibition of aid does not seem warranted. As a
consequence, the Commission has adopted Community guidelines for State aid concerning transmissible
spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) tests which set out that as of 1 January 2003 (1), the total amount of
public support (including Community support) for BSE tests has to be limited to EUR 40 as far as testing
of bovine animals slaughtered for human consumption is concerned. This amount may be reviewed in the
future, as test costs fall.

For TSE tests on other animals, Member States may continue to grant aid of up to 100 % of costs.

A framework regulation giving Member States the opportunity to introduce a levy on the end product
would not seem to reduce distortions of competition. Such a voluntary scheme, which leaves it to Member
States to introduce a levy, would not lead to harmonisation.

For the time being, the Commission does not see a need for further regulatory action. The approach
chosen with the new State aid guidelines seems appropriate to cope with the distortions of competition
found in its examination. However, the Commission will follow market developments also in the future.

Finally, the new State aid guidelines are adopted against the background of an overall market stabilisation
with satisfactory price levels observed on the Community beef market.

(1) OJ C 324, 24.12.2002.

(2003/C 137 E/241) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3481/02

by Michiel van Hulten (PSE) to the Commission

(6 December 2002)

Subject: Belgian government contract for the development of the European district

The Rem Koolhaas Office for Metropolitan Architecture was recently excluded from taking part in a design
competition for an overall urban development concept for the European district in Brussels.

According to the ‘reasoned decision’ of the Prime Minister’s chancellery the practice was excluded because
of ‘a formal irregularity’ (the absence of a signature on one of the documents submitted) and ‘weaknesses
regarding the multidisciplinary approach and the necessary references’.

According to press reports, only four Belgian architectural practices have been admitted to the second
round and yet the government decision says that the Koolhaas proposal was one of the four best schemes.

1. Was Commission involved in the invitation to tender for the competition, as the main ‘resident’ of
the European district, or otherwise?

2. Does the Commission consider that the competition complied with European rules on public
procurement? What does the Commission consider to be the financial value of the contract?

3. The notice of competition was published on 19 July 2002 in the Belgian Invitations to tender
bulletin and the deadline for submitting bids was 7 August 2002. Does the Commission consider that such
a short deadline in the middle of the summer holidays is acceptable from the point of view of fair

4. Is the Commission prepared to raise the question of the invitation to tender with the Belgian
government and to press for a reopening of the tender procedure?
12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/215

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(20 January 2003)

The Honourable Member’s question relates to a procedure for the award of a public service contract with a
view to designing an overall urban development concept for the European district in Brussels.

The Commission was not involved in the invitation to tender either as the main resident of the European
district, or otherwise.

According to the Commission’s information, the financial value of the contract appears to be limited to
EUR 250 000.

The Commission has received a complaint from the Rem Koolhaas Office for Metropolitan Architecture.
It therefore intends to examine the procedure at issue in detail and, if necessary, question the Belgian
authorities on the matter.

(2003/C 137 E/242) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3482/02

by Freddy Blak (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(29 November 2002)

Subject: Nepotism in the Commission’s Agriculture Directorate-General

The Commission has nominated Mr Fabrizio Barbaso as Deputy Director-General in the Agriculture
Directorate-General. He is to be responsible for, among other matters, markets.

Mr Barbaso was appointed Deputy Director-General for markets in October 2000, but was suspended in
July 2002 after the European Court of First Instance ruled that he did not possess the necessary experience
on agricultural market issues.

How can the Commission justify re-nominating the same person to Deputy Director-General when he is
not competent in his area of responsibility according to the Court of Justice’s ruling?

Answer given by Mr Kinnock on behalf of the Commission

(20 January 2003)

The Honourable Member should note that the decision of the Court of First Instance annulled the
appointment of the official named in the question on the basis of the job specification which was then
relevant. The Court did not, however, ‘suspend’ the official as suggested and the official was not
‘suspended’ in any other way.

The recent appointment in the Agriculture Directorate General (DG AGRI) was undertaken in full
accordance with the procedures adopted by the Commission in December 2000 and set out in the
Communication on the ‘The Appraisal, Selection and Appointment of Senior Commission Officials’ (1).
That communication is being sent direct to the Honourable Member and to Parliament’s Secretariat.
The vacancy notice relating to that appointment was drawn up on the basis of the policy introduced by
the Commission in December 2000 of recruiting individuals who have the capacity to carry out multiple
senior management functions within the Institution. The Commission also took account of changes in the
organisational structure of DG AGRI which had come into operation in the intervening period.

After the initial screening of applicants for the post and following interviews by the Consultative
Committee on Appointments, the Committee then followed the usual practice of putting forward a
shortlist of suggested candidates for further consideration and there were five such candidates.
The shortlisted candidates were then interviewed by the Member of the Commission with portfolio
responsibility for Agriculture and by me as Commissioner responsible for Personnel and Administration
and the Commission decided that Mr Barbaso had the best combination of desired skills and attributes set
out in the vacancy notice for this post. He was then duly appointed.

(1) SEC(2000) 2305/5.