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30. 4.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 134/139

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(8 December 1997)

The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answer to Written Question E-2945/97 by
Mrs Muscardini (1).

(1) OJ C 117, 16.4.1998, p. 108.

(98/C 134/186) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3331/97

by Thomas Mann (PPE) to the Commission
(22 October 1997)

Subject: Implementation of European Union measures at local level

In connection with European Union measures, such as those for the elderly, local authorities in my constituency
have on numerous occasions complained that when European Union support programmes are announced the
notice given and the deadlines for submitting applications are too short. It is often alleged therefore that Europe’s
programmes are of no more than token significance.

The compilation of complex dossiers involves considerable difficulties for applicants. In addition to this, there is
the time required for the adoption of relevant decisions by local assemblies, which cannot meet the
Commission’s deadlines because of the need to complete statutory procedures.

I therefore put the following questions to the Commission:

1. How are local authorities informed about the existence of relevant support programmes and how does the
Commission intend to improve the often inadequate flow of information?
2. Why are the deadlines for submitting applications for such programmes so short?
3. What possibilities are there of suitably extending these deadlines?

Answer given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission

(27 November 1997)

1. The application guidelines concerning budget line B3-4104 ‘Measures to assist the elderly’ were
distributed to relevant ministries in all Member States and to the main European non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) working for older people. A substantial number of application guidelines were also distributed following
requests to the Commission. The Commission will, however, consider how to improve the distribution of
information about the availability of funding, and the conditions for eligibility in the future.

2. The United Kingdom has challenged in the Court of justice the legality of Commission spending on the
1996 budget line ‘Measures to assist the elderly’. The Court ordered the Commission to suspend any payments
from this budget line pending a final judgement. The British challenge made an assessment on the operationality
of the 1997 budget line necessary. As a consequence, it was not possible to issue the guidelines earlier.

3. The Commission considers all requests for extension of deadlines. However, in order to ensure fair
treatment of all applicants, the general principle is that the same deadline applies to everyone equally.