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21. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 323/73

(98/C 323/95) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0778/98

by Freddy Blak (PSE) to the Commission
(18 March 1998)

Subject: Age discrimination for EU employment

I was surprised to note that age discrimination still applies in the recruitment of EU staff: last week a number of
posts were advertised in Denmark via Ritzaus telegram bureau for which one of the requirements was that
applicants must not be more than 35 years of age.

1. Why is there any age limit at all, and why 35 in this case?
2. Does the Commission believe that over 35s are less suitable for employment in the EU institutions than the
under 35s?
3. Is the Commission aware that similar age limits are increasingly being be applied in other parts of the labour
market, and does the Commission believe this to be desirable?
4. What plans does the Commission have for action to stop age discrimination in the labour market?

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission

(6 April 1998)

On 21 January 1998 (1), the Commission took a decision on the principle of dropping age limits from notices of
competitions. The principle will be introduced gradually in agreement with the other Community institutions.
As a first step, the age limit for competitions for recruitment to the starting grades will be raised to 45 years in
line with the formula decided on by Parliament’s Bureau on 20 October 1997. This decision will be applied in
future for all competitions for recruitment in the starting grades.

The Commission would inform the Honourable Member that it has not published any competition with 35 years
as the age limit since the beginning of this year.

The practice followed by the Commission and the other institutions of including age limits in notices of
competitions has been criticised by the Ombudsman and Members of Parliament. They maintain that age limits
are discriminatory and arbitrary. The application of age limits should be treated in the same way as any another
form of discrimination.

The matter of age limits must now be viewed also in the light of the new Article 6a inserted by the Amsterdam
Treaty which states that ‘the Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after
consulting the European Parliament, may take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or
ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation’.

(1) SEC(97) 2416.

SEC(97) 2417.

(98/C 323/96) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0781/98

by Glenys Kinnock (PSE) to the Commission
(18 March 1998)

Subject: Street children in Guatemala

Could the Commission please provide a brief evaluation of its programme of assistance for street children in
Guatemala, which has been in operation since January 1996?

Does it consider that any further measures should be taken to deal with this serious problem?
C 323/74 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 21. 10. 98

Will it renew the current programme once it expires at the end of this year?

What representations has the European Commission made to the Government of Guatemala to ensure that
reported abuse of street children in Guatemala by the police are put to an end?

Answer given by Mr Marı́n on behalf of the Commission

(23 April 1998)

The Commission thanks the Honourable Member for her interest in the problem of street children in Guatemala.

The ECU 2.5 million programme to help street children, adopted in 1994, is one of a number of schemes for
children and young people conducted by the Community since 1992. There are three main components to the
programme, which has been operational since January 1996.

Direct aid. The project is intended to support non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which work with the
street children, providing humanitarian aid and promoting measures to protect the children and reintegrate them
into society. The organisations concerned are Casa Alianza (legal support), Sólo para mujeres (Consciousness-
raising and training for adolescent women) and CEDIC (Consciousness-raising and training for adolescent men.

Institutional capacity building. Measures to strengthen the judicial bodies responsible for protecting children and
young people, carried out in conjunction with measures to restructure public institutions and restore the rule of
law, as part of the peace process.

Prevention. Promotion of joint measures with local communities and specialised NGOs, to take the children off
the streets, deal in non-judicial forums with the social problems affecting children and reduce the extreme
poverty which is the root cause of the phenomenon.

In order to carry out this work, programme representatives have taken part in meetings of all the national
coordinating bodies dealing with matters concerning children and have played an active part on the advisory
board of the international organisations responsible for cooperation programmes concerning children and young
people in Guatemala.

The Community, through this programme, is very much at the fore of cooperation concerning children and young
people. In order to improve the results further, the Commission is examining ways of continuing and extending
its work concerning children, young people, women and the family. This will probably be done initially by
prolonging the current programme.

The Community is also setting up a major programme to improve the professional skills of the new national civil
police corps; under the peace agreements this is intended to replace the national police and the ‘policia militar
ambulante’, who have frequently been guilty of violence against the street children. This is the context in which
the problem of police behaviour towards street children will be examined in depth and in which the possible
introduction of specialised teams will be discussed.

(98/C 323/97) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0793/98

by Wilmya Zimmermann (PSE) to the Commission
(18 March 1998)

Subject: Disbursement of EU funds to the district of Upper Franconia

1. In 1995, what was the amount of EU funds disbursed to Bavaria as a whole, and to the district of Upper
Franconia (Oberfranken) in particular?

2. In the context of what projects and funds were these appropriations disbursed?