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3.7.

2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 155 E/11

This question relates in particular to the freedom of choice as regards methods, which is accorded to
Member States by Article 34(2)(b) of the Treaty on European Union for Member States. On the one hand
the Treaty on European Union states that the Member States have freedom of choice; on the other hand
the two cases in point seem in the broad sense to rule out such freedom. What is the minimum level of
freedom of choice which the Council considers to be necessary in order for legislation to be issued in the
form of a framework decision pursuant to Article 34(2)(b) (as opposed to a directive or regulation)? Has
the Council’s Legal Service given an opinion on this matter? Please attach any such opinions to your
answer.

(1) COM(2001) 522  OJ C 332 E, 27.11.2001, p. 305.


(2) COM(2001) 664  OJ C 75 E, 26.3.2002, p. 269.

Reply
(4 March 2003)

Article 34(2) of the Treaty of European Union does provide no other criteria for the choice between
decisions or framework decisions than the requirement that framework decisions should serve the purpose
of approximation of the laws and regulations of the Member States and that decisions cannot be used for
that purpose. The two instruments referred to by the Honourable Member of European parliament aim at
an approximation of the legislation of the Member States, in particular with respect to procedures to be
applied for the execution of European arrest warrants, and with regard to the definition of certain conduct
to be dealt with as criminal offences in all Member States.

Since these instruments do not serve any objective set out in the EC Treaty, the choice for the instrument
of a framework decisions based on Article 34(2) TEU is justified.

(2003/C 155 E/012) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2318/02


by Ole Krarup (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(26 July 2002)

Subject: Framework decisions and freedom of choice

In the light of current proposals for ‘framework decisions’  in particular the proposal for a framework
decision on the European arrest warrant (1), and the proposal for a framework decision on combatting
racism and xenophobia (2), I would be glad if the Commission could explain how it understands the
specific conditions for the application of ‘framework decisions’.

This question relates in particular to the freedom of choice as regards methods, which is accorded to
Member States by Article 34(2)(b) of the Treaty on European Union for Member States. On the one hand
the Treaty on European Union states that the Member States have freedom of choice; on the other hand
the two cases in point seem in the broad sense to rule out such freedom. What is the minimum level of
freedom of choice which the Commission considers to be necessary in order for legislation to be issued in
the form of a framework decision pursuant to Article 34(2)(b) (as opposed to a directive or regulation)?
Has the Commission’s Legal Service given an opinion on this matter? Please attach any such opinions to
your answer.

(1) COM(2001) 522  OJ C 332 E, 27.11.2001, p. 305.


(2) COM(2001) 664  OJ C 75 E, 26.3.2002, p. 269.

Answer given by Mr Vitorino on behalf of the Commission


(31 October 2002)

Article 34(2)(b) of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) refers to Framework Decisions as the
instrument to be used for the purpose of approximation of the laws and regulations of the Member States
in the areas referred to in Title VI of the TEU. Framework decisions shall be binding upon the Member
States ‘as to the result to be achieved but shall leave to the national authorities the choice of the form and
methods’.
C 155 E/12 Official Journal of the European Union EN 3.7.2003

The Commission does not agree that the proposals mentioned in the question (1) exclude in a large way
Member State competence, on the contrary: Framework Decisions oblige Member States to take the
necessary national measures to meet the degree of approximation of laws and regulations as provided for
by a specific instrument. Framework Decisions can in this sense be compared with Directives as set up by
Article 249 TCE for areas falling under the EC Treaty. A Directive shall be binding, ‘as to the result to be
achieved, upon each Member State to which it is addressed, but shall leave to the national authorities the
choice of form and methods’. However, unlike Directives, Framework Decisions cannot entail direct effect.
A further important difference between these two legal instruments is that if Commission considers that a
Member State has failed to fulfil an obligation imposed by a Framework Decision, it cannot start an
infringement procedure under Article 226 EC Treaty, as is the case for Directives.

However, in case Member States disagree regarding the interpretation or the application of a Framework
Decision, such a dispute could be brought before the Court of Justice under the conditions set out in
Article 35(7) of the TUE.

As regard the Honourable Member’s request to receive copy of the Legal Service’s opinions on the subject,
this will be dealt with in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (2).

(1) In the meantime, the Council adopted on 13 June 2002 the Framework Decision on the European arrest warrant
and the surrender procedures between Member States  OJ L 190, 18.7.2002.
(2) OJ L 145, 31.5.2001.

(2003/C 155 E/013) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2321/02


by Stavros Xarchakos (PPE-DE)
and Ioannis Marínos (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(26 July 2002)

Subject: Council of Europe report concerning public service corruption in Greece

A report by Council of Europe inspectors regarding public service corruption in Greece, reveals that major
financial interests and politics are largely interwoven, thereby ‘encouraging corrupt practices’. The authors
of the report spent a long period in Greece visiting numerous Greek official bodies and public companies.
They indicate that Community funding and major property development projects relating to the 2004
Olympics also provide a hotbed of corruption and that such practices also occur on a large scale at
international level, probably involving organised crime (illegal immigration, prostitution, falsification of
temporary residence permits for foreigners, etc.).

Is the Commission aware of the content of this report? What view does it take of public service corruption
in Greece? What information does it have regarding the corrupt use of Community funds in Greece and
how does the situation compare with that of other Member States receiving similar Community funding
with a view to achieving economic convergence?

Answer given by Mrs Schreyer on behalf of the Commission

(15 October 2002)

It appears the Honourable Members make reference to the evaluation of Greece by the Group of States
against Corruption (GRECO), a peer review mechanism under the auspices of the Council of Europe.
Greece was evaluated during a visit of examiners from Portugal and Slovenia in November 2001. GRECO
adopted the report of the visit at its ninth plenary meeting in May 2002. However, the Greek authorities
have still not lifted the confidentiality of the report and GRECO has not yet made it publicly available on
its website. Therefore, the Commission is unable to make further comments on it.