C 192 E/220

Official Journal of the European Union



It has been reported in an Athens daily, citing well-informed Commission sources, that the American authorities hold a large amount of personal data concerning this Greek citizen which European authorities had transmitted to the US authorities on the basis of an agreement in principle concluded between the European Union and the United States providing for the personal data of travellers from the Member States of the Union to the US to be passed on to the American authorities. 1. Does the agreement in principle concluded with the United States on the transmission of sensitive personal data cover the personal data of Europeans travelling to the United States? Did the Legal Affairs Council consider this matter in any way at its meeting on 27/28 February 2003? 2. Does the Commission know which Member States have already signed bilateral agreements with the United States concerning the transmission of the personal data of their citizens, and which of these agreements cover the transmission of personal data of travellers to the United States?

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission (14 April 2003) The Commission is aware of the case referred to by the Honourable Member. It was informed of this case by the Greek authority responsible for the protection of personal data. However, it does not have any information regarding the source of the data held by the American authorities that led to the arrest of a Greek university professor and therefore cannot confirm or deny the link between this arrest and the information published in the Greek press. This said, the Commission has entered into a dialogue with the American authorities following the introduction by the United States (and not by the European authorities) of various laws making it compulsory for companies operating flights to the United States to transmit personal data regarding passengers and crew members. These obligations are directed at companies operating out of Europe. The dialogue currently under way aims to prepare the ground for a solution that will guarantee that the data submitted are properly protected in the United States in accordance with the requirements of Directive 95/ 46/EC (1) on data protection. These discussions have not given rise to any agreement in principle, but the American customs and the Commission have issued a ‘joint declaration’ and the American customs have given an undertaking relating specifically to the protection of sensitive data. Lastly, the Commission is not aware of the existence of bilateral agreements between Member States and the United States on this issue.
(1) Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data OJ L 281, 23.11.1995.

(2003/C 192 E/263)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-0844/03 by Herbert Bösch (PSE) to the Commission (18 March 2003)

Subject: Contracts with management consultants Management consultants such as Andersen Consulting or Ernst & Young have hit the headlines recently for allegedly inadequate advisory services. Andersen came in for criticism over the Enron scandal and Ernst & Young is now faced with a demand for CHF 3 billion following more serious allegations of unsatisfactory work for the Cantonal Bank of Geneva.



Official Journal of the European Union

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These incidents give rise to the following questions: How many contracts were concluded in 2002 between the Commission and management consultants and what is their total value? Has the Commission ever become aware of consultancy work being carried out unsatisfactorily? What criteria does the Commission apply when assessing advisory services? Has a consultancy contract ever proved damaging to the Commission? If so, to what extent and was compensation demanded? If not, why not? Why are management consultants and not Commission officials called on to carry out certain tasks?

Answer given by Mrs Schreyer on behalf of the Commission (25 April 2003) The Commission is collecting the information it needs to answer the question. It will communicate its findings as soon as possible.

(2003/C 192 E/264)


by Encarnación Redondo Jiménez (PPE-DE) to the Commission (13 March 2003) Subject: Impact of CAP reform on potato production Potato farmers in the Community are this year suffering from one of their habitual cyclical crises, a phenomenon which points up the need to create a common organisation of the market (COM) in this sector. Despite farmers’ attempts at self-regulation of production, price sensitivity to market fluctuations is such that crises are all but inevitable. In this context of periodic price collapses, does the Commission not believe that its proposal for the reform of the CAP, entailing as it does the possibility of farmers entitled to decoupled aids choosing to convert to non-eligible crops, will tend only to further destabilise the potato sector? When does the Commission intend to submit an impact assessment on the effects of decoupled aids on such crops? Has the Commission definitively ruled out the introduction of a COM to regulate potato production?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission (1 April 2003) The Commission’s common agricultural policy reform proposal is in fact designed to lead to marketoriented agriculture in which market rules would have to play their full preventive role and obviate any structural imbalance between supply of and demand for any particular product. The Commission asks the Honourable Member to give careful consideration to the provisions of Chapter 5 of Title III of the reform proposal, which allow Member States to opt for a regional approach that could be very advantageous to traditional potato growers. It should also be recognised that as for most crops potatoes require a certain amount of specialisation, investment in farm equipment and solid experience if they are to be successfully marketed.

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