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3.10.

2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 280 E/77

Furthermore, the imminent expiry of the Council Regulation and the overall reorganisation of the
investment aid programmes for third countries are likely to result in further delays for the beneficiaries
who, moreover, have not been told when the procedures are likely to be concluded.

In view of the above, can the Commission say:


1. Whether it has informed citizens of the decision to suspend payments, the reasons behind the
suspension and the measures it intends to take to streamline procedures;
2. Whether it intends to provide for the release of financing for projects submitted and/or approved in
the course of 1999;

3. What guarantees does it intend to give the beneficiaries of the projects that have already been lodged
(and which are awaiting evaluation) and those that have already been selected, regarding the speedy
resolution of the above problems;
4. Whether the ECIP programme will be renewed or replaced by a other programme;
5. Whether any transitional measures are planned in order to ensure continuity in the various procedural
phases?

(2000/C 280 E/078) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2599/99


by Guido Podestà (PPE-DE) to the Commission
(11 January 2000)

Subject: ECIP

The ECIP (European Communities Investment Partners) financial instrument has received a very positive
response from all concerned in recent years, with more than 2 200 actions being approved and funds
totalling over EUR 250 million being made available.

But the current programme set up under Council Regulation 213/96 of 29 January 1996 (1) will expire at
the end of this year.

Can the Commission state the official position  if there is one  on the extension of this financial
instrument?

If the Commission has not yet taken a decision concerning the future of ECIP, can it explain the reasons
for the delay?

(1) OJ L 28, 6.2.1996, p. 2.

Joint answer
to Written Questions P-2580/99 and E-2599/99
given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission
(24 January 2000)

In recent years, a backlog of outstanding files has accumulated under the European Community Investment
Partners (ECIP) programme. For this reason it was decided in early 1999 that the Commission would
prioritise the use of its limited resources towards the closure of the existing contractual files, making
outstanding payments, and the recovery of unused and reimbursable ECIP funds.

The Commission has recently decided to propose to the Council and the Parliament that the ECIP
Regulation should continue for a transitional period of one year to 31 December 2000 to allow for
operational follow-up of actions already financed and amendments to contracts already signed, and for
technical assistance to ensure the completion and closure of ongoing actions. New projects will not be
financed after 31 December 1999 and any financing requests which were not the subject of formal
Commission approval before that date will be returned to the applicants.

In 2000, an independent evaluation of ECIP will be completed which will allow the Commission to define
a more co-ordinated strategy for the various instruments intended to promote investment in developing
countries.