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2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 174 E/203

(2001/C 174 E/215) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3966/00

by Alexandros Alavanos (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(20 December 2000)

Subject: Commission’s refusal to renew freelance interpreters’ contracts

Without giving any notice, the Commission’s recruitment service has refused to renew the contracts of
freelance interpreters of 65 years and over who wished to continue working. Freelance interpreters are
covered by Council Regulation (EC) 268/2000 (1) as far as tax obligations are concerned, but they are still
not entitled to a pension, paid annual leave or medical cover. It is thus unfair to treat them in the same
way as staff interpreters who are obliged to cease working at the age of 65.

1. Will the Commission say why has it decided not to continue employing freelance interpreters of 65
years and over, without giving any notice?

2. What is the legal basis for this measure?

3. Does it consider that there are enough interpreters of a sufficiently high standard to meet
interpretation requirements for all languages?

4. Is it endeavouring to devise arrangements to minimise the social problems facing the people affected
by this measure who have contributed to the smooth running of the European Union institutions?

(1) OJ L 29, 4.2.2000, p. 13.

Answer given by Mr Kinnock on behalf of the Commission

(27 February 2001)

1. The Commission is unable to recruit conference interpreters over the age of 65 by reason of Article
74 of the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants (CEOS), which states that the employment of
auxiliary staff shall cease automatically at the end of the month in which they reach the age of 65 years.
The conference interpreters employed by the Commission have all been notified of the fact that they are
now covered by the CEOS.

2. The legal basis of the Decision is Council Regulation(EC, ECSC, Euratom) No 628/2000 of 20 March
2000 amending Regulation (EC, Euratom, ECSC) No 259/68 laying down the Staff Regulations of Officials
of the European Communities and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the Commu-
nities (1), which states that conference interpreters engaged on behalf of the Commission, like those
engaged by Parliament, should be recruited as auxiliary staff.

3. The Commission does not consider that its ability to meet interpretation requirements is adversely
affected by the amendment of the arrangements applicable to freelance interpreters.

4. Yes. The Commission would point out that, in accordance with the Agreements concluded almost 30
years ago with the interpreting profession, it pays an old-age and life provident contribution of
approximately € 100 per day worked to the Scheme of the interpreter’s choice, and that it also contributes
€ 4 a day to a sickness and invalidity insurance covering interpreters for each day that they work for the

(1) OJ L 76, 25.3.2000.

(2001/C 174 E/216) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3970/00

by Peter Skinner (PSE) to the Commission
(20 December 2000)

Subject: Asbestos

Asbestos will kill more than 250 000 EU citizens in the next few decades. The death toll will be greatly
increased by the incorporation of asbestos mortality figures from countries in Eastern Europe which are