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2002 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 277 E/233

Although Community legislation does not oblige Member States to create specific structures for the
implementation of official control activities, there would appear to be a general movement in that
direction. Thus far, six Member States have created authorities with control powers, two have taken
political decisions to create such bodies, a further two have set up co-ordination bodies or procedures and
another Member State has set up an agency. However, these bodies or agencies have a wide range of
responsibilities and functions, which vary considerably from one Member State to another.

(1) http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/inspections/vi/reports/greece/index_en.html.

(2002/C 277 E/256) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1644/02

by Gabriele Stauner (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(4 June 2002)

Subject: False calculation of Member State contributions

Various press reports in Germany and Luxembourg have stated that the EU Statistical Office Eurostat has
been working with false figures.

Is it true that, since 1998, false statistical information has meant that France has been placed too low on
the scale of wealth and, consequently, its contribution to the EU has not corresponded to its actual

Does this not imply that the contributions paid by all the Member States must be called into question and
calculated afresh, going back to 1998?

The owner of the firm Eurogramme, which is responsible for drawing up the Eurostat figures, has been
quoted in the media as stating that five of his employees were working ‘intra muros’ in the Commission
and assisting the Commission in the management of research activities. Does the Commission not see a
conflict of interests here? Has the Commission drawn the head of Eurostat’s attention to the considerable
danger of a conflict of interests? Is the Prodi Commission allowing the so-called ‘submarines’ which also
contributed to the collapse of the Santer Commission to continue to operate?

Is it true that a member of staff who drew attention to the irregularities in Eurostat at an early stage has
been removed from her post?

Answer given by Mr Solbes Mira on behalf of the Commission

(5 July 2002)

Certain data relating to French construction prices are currently under scrutiny by the Statistical Office of
the European Communities (Eurostat) and the French statistical office, NSEE. It is not yet clear if the prices
used by Eurostat in its final 1998 purchasing power parity (PPP) calculations are erroneous or not. If any
corrections are needed, they will be made. However, these corrections, if any, would affect only the PPP
data, not the data in national currency or euro.

Regarding the ranking of countries in terms of per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in purchasing
power standards (PPS), Eurostat draws attention in its publications to the fact that the figures are not
sufficiently precise to establish a strict ranking of countries, particularly when their levels of GDP per head
in PPS are very close to each other.

It is highly unlikely that any revision of the French construction prices would change France’s position in a
group of countries including Germany and the United Kingdom, all close to the Community average.

There can be no impact on the contributions of France or other Member States to the Community because
these contributions are calculated entirely in euro at current prices.
C 277 E/234 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 14.11.2002

The five Eurogramme employees working in the premises of the Commission are not ‘submarines’, nor is
there any conflcit of interests. The fact is that the contractual framework for these activities is the Fifth
Community Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. This programme allows
the Commission to make use of service providers, who are authorised to work on Commission premises in
order to play a part in the implementation of research activities. The Eurogramme service provider,
selected after a call for tenders, gave an undertaking that it would not be involved in any research work in
connection with the specific programme in which its employees were partly involved. The commitment
has been complied with. In addition, the employees in question signed a declaration of non-conflict of
interests. The Commission services are satisfied with this contract.

Eurogramme has never been involved in any PPP-related work for Eurostat.

The situation of the official within her unit was discussed in depth by her and Eurostat’s Administration
and Staff Unit, as well as by her Head of Unit and the Administration and Staff Unit. Following these
discussions, it was jointly agreed that in her interest and in the interest of the service the official should be
transferred with her post to another Eurostat unit.

(2002/C 277 E/257) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1655/02

by Ioannis Souladakis (PSE) to the Commission
(11 June 2002)

Subject: Support for small airports in the European Union

Documents such as the recent proposal for a European Parliament and Council regulation (1) on
establishing common rules in the field of civil aviation security make a distinction between small and
major airports. Since small airports are absolutely vital for the economic survival and development of the
Union’s island regions, which cannot rely on passenger and freight traffic through those airports, will the
Commission say whether it has taken any measures to support the operation of the airports on small
islands and, if not, whether it intends to do so?

Has the Commission taken precautions to ensure that the new security measures to be implemented at
European airports are not so onerous for small island airports that they are in danger of having to suspend
their operations?

(1) OJ C 51 E, 26.2.2002, p. 221.

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(17 July 2002)

The Honourable Member refers to Community legislation on aviation security. The purpose of this
legislation is to ensure that Union citizens are guaranteed a solid and enforceable base standard of aviation
security through the Union, regardless of the size of the airport where they board their aeroplane.

Of course the Commission does not wish to apply disproportionately strict rules to very small airports that
would jeopardise their functioning. For this reason Article 4 of the Commission Proposal does permit
Member States to apply security standards based on local risk assessments that are different to those laid
down in the Regulation as a whole.

However, this exemption will only apply to airports that have either:
D a yearly average of no more than two commercial flights per day; or
D with only general aviation flights, or
D with commercial activity limited to aircraft with less than 10 tonnes of maximum take-off weight or
less than 20 seats.

In the view of the Commission, this exemption should cover all small airports that would have genuine
difficulties in applying the proposed Community requirements in full.