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3.7.

2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 155 E/61

proposals for Directives on the introduction of bio-fuels and on tax reduction to support the introduction
of such fuels. Furthermore, it is working with the stakeholders concerned to find appropriate
implementation strategies, long term as well as intermediate term, to increase the use of alternative fuels
with the aim to reach a share of 20 % by the year 2020.

(1) Final report on the Green Paper ‘Towards a European strategy for the security of energy supply’ COM(2002) 321
final.

(2003/C 155 E/067) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2893/02


by Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(14 October 2002)

Subject: Contract awarded to an external company which is having the EU website rebuilt by a
Commission official

1. Is the Commission aware of the report in the Dutch newspaper ‘Algemeen Dagblad’ (AD) of
1 October 2002 that a Commission spokesman who has taken a year’s leave of absence from his post has
been working for the Belgian media agency G-Plus, where other present or former Commission staff are
also employed?

2. Can the Commission confirm that in June 2002 G-Plus was awarded part of the contract to rebuild
the EU website for EUR 23 million?

3. Does the Commission agree with the head of information, Mr Jonathan Faull, who is quoted as
saying that in his opinion there was nothing wrong with the award of this contract because everything had
been done in accordance with the rules and that it would even have been unlawful to award the contract
to a different company on the grounds that members of his staff were employed at G-Plus? What would
the relevant rules be?

4. Can the Commission confirm the statement in the AD that the President of the Commission
personally intervened at the end of September to suspend the contract? On what grounds was it decided at
this point to depart from the approach originally adopted in June?

5. Does the Commission agree that the facts quoted in the newspaper article give the impression of an
unacceptable conflict of interests? How was it possible for this situation to arise?

6. What measures will the Commission take to terminate this contract definitively? What will it do to
prevent any recurrence?

7. Will the Commission propose a compulsory registration system to make such an unacceptable
conflict of interests impossible, along the lines of that provided for by the General Civil Service Regulations
(ARAR) in the Netherlands?

Answer given by Mr Prodi on behalf of the Commission

(25 November 2002)

The Commission is aware of the report in ‘Algemeen Dagblad’ referred to by the Honourable Member.

On 17 June 2002 the Commission signed a framework contract, for a maximum of five years, for the
provision of various services relating to the maintenance, management and promotion of Europa, the
website of the European Institutions. The contract was awarded to the company ASCII that, as part of the
framework contract, signed nine separate agreements totalling EUR 4 450 000 per annum. One of the
agreements concerned the drafting and updating of documents and some of the tasks to be undertaken
were subcontracted by ASCII to G-Plus for an annual fee of EUR 165 000. This represented slightly less
than 3,6 % of the total annual amount that will be received by ASCII.
C 155 E/62 Official Journal of the European Union EN 3.7.2003

The Commission confirms that the contract was awarded following a rigorous tendering procedure which
was carried out in strict accordance with Council Directive 92/50/EEC of 18 June 1992 relating to the
coordination of procedures for the award of public service contracts (1), as the Spokesman and Director
General for Press and Communication has affirmed.

The presence of an official on leave for personal grounds within G-Plus, the company subcontracted by
ASCII, led to the suspension of the Europa contract on 27 September 2002 so that an examination could
take place in the light of the problems of perception that had arisen.

The Honourable Member may wish to note that on 9 October 2002 G-Plus informed the Commission of
its decision to withdraw from the consortium established by ASCII for the implementation of the
framework contract. The Commission subsequently re-established its contract with ASCII.

The Commission is currently examining the rules implementing the principle of incompatibility, especially
those concerning the relationship between civil servants and private companies that respond to calls for
tender by the Commission.

(1) OJ L 209, 24.7.1992.

(2003/C 155 E/068) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2898/02


by Alexander de Roo (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(14 October 2002)

Subject: Courage of convictions

The Netherlands Government is explicitly permitting cigarette manufacturers to continue to offer light and
mild cigarettes in different coloured packagings after the entry into force of the European directive on the
subject (October 2003).

Is the Commission aware of the article ‘Bomhoff blijft roken tegengaan’ (Bomhoff continues to combat
smoking) in the NRC Handelsblad of 27 September 2002?

Does not the Commission agree that the attitude adopted by Mr Bomhoff contravenes European tobacco
legislation?

Will the Commission have the courage of its convictions and issue a reprimand to the Netherlands
Government?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(11 November 2002)

The question asked by the Honourable Member appears to be entirely based on the information contained
in an article published in the NRC Handelsblad of 27 September 2002, of which the Commission is aware.
As the Honourable Member will understand, the Commission must analyse Member States’ implementing
legislation on the basis of the official notifications it receives, and cannot comment on a newspaper article
alleging that a Member State may or may not be considering certain alternatives for the implementation of
a Community Directive. Up to now, the Commission has not received any notification on the
implementation of Directive 2001/37/EC (1) from the Dutch Government. In fact, according to the
Commission’s information, the Dutch legislation implementing Directive 2001/37/EC appears to be still
under discussion in the Dutch Senate.

Directive 2001/37/EC states that ‘texts, names, trade marks and figurative or other signs suggesting that a
particular tobacco product is less harmful than others shall not be used on the packaging of tobacco
products’. The Commission can assure the Honourable Member that it attaches utmost importance to the