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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 155 E/47

What is the execution percentage provided for in the case of the Community Initiatives and, in particular,
Article B2-141 on aid to border regions in the applicant countries?

Does the Commission consider it possible or desirable to use a part of the commitment appropriations
which are likely not to be committed to provide the EUR 27 million which are still lacking for the
programme for the restructuring of the fleet which formerly fished in Moroccan waters, and which, while
initially not included in the 2002 budget, should be committed before the end of 2003?

Answer by Ms Schreyer on behalf of the Commission

(4 November 2002)

The Honourable Member is referring to the use of commitment appropriations in heading 2 of the
financial perspective. The commitment appropriations not yet committed relate primarily to the Cohesion

Current implementation of the Cohesion Fund is running above the rate predicted by the Commission in
its original implementation plan for September 2002, which was sent to the budgetary authority. It
corresponds to the position as at September 2001, a year in which resources were in the end almost fully
utilised. In the case of the Cohesion Fund, the resources for each project were committed separately. There
is no provision for the automatic commitment of appropriations characteristic of nearly all the Structural
Funds. This explains why payments of Cohesion Fund resources are concentrated so heavily at the end of
the year.

The Commission has so far not had any indication that the commitment appropriations for the Cohesion
Fund could not be sufficiently implemented in 2002.

Efforts are currently being made to use up virtually all the commitment appropriations available for the
Community initiatives. The current utilisation rate is 96,3 %. The commitment appropriations still available
are intended primarily for the Community initiatives for border areas (Interreg). Within the limits of its
powers, the Commission will do everything to ensure that these programmes are accepted by the end of
2002 or to satisfy the requirements for a transfer of resources.

Other commitment appropriations that have not yet been committed relate to the EQUAL and Leader
initiatives. Some of these resources will very probably be deployed at the end of 2002.

It has already been possible, however, to use up all the resources for the new budget line ‘Support for
regions bordering candidate countries’ (B2-1411) by allocating them to specific operations under the
existing Interreg programmes.

In the Commission’s view, it will not be possible to find in heading 2 the EUR 27 million needed to
finance the restructuring of the fishing fleet deployed in Moroccan waters. The only conclusion one can
draw from an examination of all the relevant Structural Fund lines is that EUR 9 million has not been used
and is available for partial prefinancing of the EUR 27 million in 2002. In any event, for the purposes of
the 2003 budget, it will be necessary to resort to the flexibility instrument in respect of this financing.

(2003/C 155 E/054) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2755/02

by Avril Doyle (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(1 October 2002)

Subject: Cross-border social issue

Does the Commission play a role in helping citizens with cross-border welfare problems to resolve them
satisfactorily? If so, can it indicate which of its departments can assist or intervene? (Details of particular
case available if required). The case in question involves maintenance payments in respect of two children
of an Irish citizen from her divorced Greek Cypriot husband. Can the Commission indicate how justice can
be best served?
C 155 E/48 Official Journal of the European Union EN 3.7.2003

Answer given by Mr Vitorino on behalf of the Commission

(21 November 2002)

The Honourable Member wishes to know whether the Commission can intervene on behalf of citizens
facing cross-border social problems or provide them with assistance. The case at issue concerns the
recovery by an Irish national of the maintenance payable by her Cypriot ex-husband for the children
resulting from their marriage.

The Commission has no power to take action to resolve the difficulties encountered by individuals residing
on Union territory or who are nationals of a Member State.

However, the European or international instruments applicable in the Member States do provide a number
of options.

Under Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and
enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (1), the defendant in cases of the obligation to
pay maintenance  the ex-husband in this case  can be sued either in the courts of the Member State
where he is domiciled or in the court of the place where the maintenance creditor  in this case the ex-
wife and her children  are domiciled or habitually resident. The maintenance creditor therefore has a
choice if the defendant is resident within the territory of a Member State.

If this is not so  in this case, if the defendant is resident in Cyprus, which is not made clear in the written
question  given that the jurisdiction of the courts of the Member States is established by their national
laws in such cases, the issue of the jurisdiction of the Irish courts must be resolved under Irish procedural

Moreover, a decision taken in a Member State is recognised and can be implemented in another Member
State in accordance with the simplified procedures laid down in the Regulation of 22 December 2000.
However, the recognition and implementation in Cyprus of a decision taken by a Member State court is
not covered by Community law.

Moreover, the New York Convention of 20 June 1956 on the Recovery of Maintenance Abroad, which has
been ratified by both Ireland and Cyprus and is therefore applicable in both countries, provides for the
establishment by each contracting state of a Transmitting Authority and a Receiving Agency. The latter is
required, in particular, to take, on behalf of the claimant and subject to the limits of the powers conferred
by him or her, ‘all appropriate steps for the recovery of maintenance, including the settlement of the claim
and, where necessary, the institution and prosecution of an action for maintenance and the execution of
any order or other judicial act for the payment of maintenance.’

Consequently, the Cypriot receiving agency, in accordance with the provisions of Cypriot law, could either
recognise and implement the decision taken at the maintenance creditor’s request by the competent Irish
court, if necessary after instituting a special procedure in Cyprus for this purpose, or bring a new action
with a view to having the ex-husband ordered to pay maintenance.

Moreover, the New York Convention of 1956 includes a number of provisions which provide for
cooperation between the transmitting authorities and receiving agencies of the contracting states in order
to recover the maintenance due.

It also stipulates that maintenance creditors present within the territory of a contracting state must address
themselves to the transmitting authority of that state.

As the role allotted to their receiving authorities by the states party to the New York Convention varies
considerably, it seems preferable in this case for the maintenance creditor to ask the transmitting authority
of her country of residence about the options open to her in practice as a result of cooperation with

The Irish transmitting authority is the Ministry of Justice, 72-76 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.

(1) OJ L 12, 16.1.2001.