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1999 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 320/131

6. The Commission is indeed considering including the advice of professional geologists in the regional
reconstruction programme in Central America to the extent that the nature of the projects currently under
identification so require.

(1) COM(96) 46 final.

(1999/C 320/175) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0219/99

by María Sornosa Martínez (PSE) to the Commission

(12 February 1999)

Subject: Swindling of retired people in connection with the introduction of the euro

The introduction of the euro is providing cause for concern for some sectors of the population which lack
information on the single currency. Specifically, the city of Barcelona and its industrial areas are seeing a large
number of cases where elderly people are being deceived by swindlers posing as bank staff. These criminals are
offering to exchange the national currency held by elderly people for the new European notes, which do not
yet exist.

Bearing in mind the recommendations made by Parliament in adopting report A4-0415/97 (1) at the end of
1997, in which it urged the Commission to pay particular attention to the elderly as a sector of the population,
conducting information campaigns which should not be reduced to mere publicity-type campaigning but
should be extended to the main aspects of economic life which involve the use of money by groups vulnerable
to fraud and abuse, and bearing in mind that, in that report, Parliament called for additional consumer-
protection measures to be introduced at European level, has the Commission taken any initiative to provide
information on the introduction of the euro to those people who are most vulnerable to fraud and abuse?

Has the Commission drawn up any specific campaigns geared to various sections of the population such as the

What further measures does the Commission intend to introduce at European level to protect consumers as
recommended by Parliament in the above report?

(1) OJ C 34, 2.2.1998, p. 38.

(1999/C 320/176) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0350/99

by Joaquín Sisó Cruellas (PPE) to the Commission

(23 February 1999)

Subject: Fraud involving euros

A number of cases have been reported to the Barcelona police where attempts have been made to defraud
pensioners in connection with the third stage of EMU. The swindle is always the same: a well-dressed young
man pays a visit to pensioners claiming to be a representative of the financial institute in which they keep their
savings. He tells them that the peseta will soon cease to be legal tender and that, consequently, they need to
exchange it for euros, offering to do so on their behalf as a service provided by the bank. Some victims have
lost up to 80 000 pesetas and similar cases of fraud have taken place in other towns in Catalonia.

Recently, Commissioner De Silguy said that in order to ensure that citizens cope with the transition to the
euro, account will need to be taken of priority sections of the population such as consumers, women and
vulnerable groups such as the elderly and the disabled. In view of the events described above, has Mr Silguy
considered the possibility of adopting specific measures to avoid, in so far as possible, such things happening
to the most vulnerable sections of society in particular?