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C 81 E/64 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 13.3.


Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(26 June 2000)

Community financial assistance under the Innovative actions for women in agriculture programme was
available under the second and third indents of Article 8 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 4256/88 of
19 December 1988, laying down provisions for implementing Regulation (EEC) No 2052/88 as regards
the EAGGF Guidance Section (1). In December 1999 several pilot projects were selected and approved.
In Ireland, two projects were chosen: ‘Roscommon Home Service’ and ‘Moy Valley Bog Wood Crafts’
(ref. Arinco No 99. IE.06002 and Arinco No 99.IE.06001).

The Commission decision approving these projects and notified in December 1999 to the beneficiaries
provides (item 3 of Annex 1) that Community support will be paid after … ‘the Commission has adopted
the decision and notified the beneficiary and received a bank guarantee as shown in Annex 2 …’. This rule
is valid and compulsory for all the beneficiaries in the Community. The content of the decision notified to
each beneficiary, from a legal point of view, is compulsory. Article 249 (ex-Article 189) of the EC Treaty
provides that ‘a decision shall be binding in its entirety upon those to whom it is addressed’.

On the other hand, each Community programme or initiative has its own financial procedures. The fact
that insurance bonds were used for Leader II programme does not mean that the same would be applicable
in the case of Article 8 of Regulation (EEC) No 4256/88. In this precise framework, if a beneficiary cannot
present the bank guarantee as provided in the Commission decision the project in question would not be
eligible for Community financial assistance. The same approach is applied to the beneficiaries of all
Member States, in the framework of a sound and transparent financial management of Community

(1) OJ L 374, 31.12.1988.

(2001/C 81 E/076) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1631/00

by Richard Howitt (PSE) to the Commission

(29 May 2000)

Subject: Bid from Mr Geoffrey Weston and Mr Klays Pahlich  Publication of Danube Watch magazines

Has the European Commission verified that the tender procedure initiated for the awarding of the contract
referred to above, based on the bid put forward on 7 October 1998, fully conforms with European
Commission rules?

Given that the project is funded by PHARE and TACIS, does the Commission accept that the contract must
fully comply with EC auditing requirements?

Given that the Danube Programme Coordination Unit (Danube PCU) agreed that my constituents referred
to above had produced a high-quality magazine, what justification can the Commission provide for
withdrawing the contract from them?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(10 July 2000)

The Commission did not have a contract with the Honourable Member’s constituents for the publication of
the ‘Danube Watch’ magazine. The contract in question was between the firm Arquus Verlag
(the employer of Messrs Weston and Pahlich) and the United Nations Office for Project Services
(UNOPS). This contract expired in October 1998.
13.3.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 81 E/65

The terms of reference for the PHARE service contract ‘Danube project coordination unit 98/99’ oblige the
contractor (Netherlands Economic Institute) to produce three additional issues of the ‘Danube Watch’
magazine. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Austrian Federal Chancellery
decided to finance two and one further issues respectively. They also decided to follow the procedure
chosen by the Commission’s contractor for selecting a company that would publish and distribute these
issues of the magazine. This procedure fully conforms with the terms and conditions applying to PHARE
service contracts.

The Commission agrees that the Netherlands Economic Institute must fully comply with the provisions for
financial control and audit as laid out in the Commission’s general conditions for service contracts financed
from PHARE/TACIS funds.

(2001/C 81 E/077) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1633/00

by Theresa Villiers (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(29 May 2000)

Subject: Withholding tax

Following the 1999 Helsinki Summit, the UK press reported that the Commission had agreed to a
sequencing model for the withholding tax, namely that the withholding tax would not be implemented in
the EU without agreement by other countries such as Switzerland and other OECD members. Sources in
the UK Government also suggested that this concession had been secured by the UK Government from the

In a letter to UK Conservative MEP Charles Tannock, dated 21 March 2000, Commission Bolkestein wrote
that ‘The EU simply cannot allow itself to become paralysed in an area which is of vital importance to the
proper functioning of the single market, because of fear that other countries may not follow its example.’

Could the Commission please clarify which of these views is correct? Specifically, are there any
circumstances in which it would press ahead with the imposition of a withholding tax in the EU without
obtaining undertakings from other leading OECD countries to impose identical or similar arrangements?

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(26 June 2000)

The sequencing approach to which the Honourable Member refers is set out in paragraph 18 of the report
on reinforced tax policy co-operation, as tabled by the Finnish Presidency at the Ecofin Council on
29 November 1999. At this Ecofin Council all Member States agreed on the need to conclude on the basis
of this report. The conclusions of the Helsinki European Council on 10 and 11 December 1999 also refer
to the approaches set out in the report.

The recent Santa Maria da Feira European Council endorsed a report on the tax package agreed by the
Ecofin Council on 20 June (1). It also endorsed the timetable set out in this report, which foresees a step-
by-step development towards realisation of the exchange of information as the basis for the taxation of
savings income of non-residents. Point 2 (c) of the report by the Ecofin Council sets out a timetable for
discussions with key third countries and dependent or associated territories which are to take place prior
to the adoption and implementation of the proposed directive (2).