"Dutch criticise EU's millennium bug effort"

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Dutch criticise EU's ``millennium bug'' effort

10:32 a.m. Apr 22, 1999 Eastern

LUXEMBOURG, April 22 (Reuters) - The Netherlands criticised the European Union on Thursday for not doing enough to ensure that possible computer problems associated with the year 2000 do not hobble internal trade.

The Dutch government told EU telecommunications ministers it was concerned about interruptions in cross-border supplies of goods, services and raw materials, according to a paper released to reporters.

``A clear and reliable overview of the state of preparation in the various sectors in the different member states is lacking,'' the paper said, adding that ``many serious problems still remain unsolved.''

The ministers adopted a resolution on the ``millennium bug'' problem -- the inability of many computers to recognise dates after 1999 -- that asked EU governments to ensure they had contingency plans in case public services are disrupted.

But the Dutch said the resolution was not enough, calling for EU states to provide more information about how they plan to guarantee the continued flow of essential goods and services such as medicines and electronic communications.

The resolution asked governments and the European Commission to work together to identify critical cross-border infrastructures that could be affected by the Year 2000 problem.

It praised the Commission, the EU executive, for establishing a group of national experts, industry representatives and infrastructure providers to exchange information.

The Netherlands said that group was a good step, but proposed a ``more operational structure'' that would involve national organisations devoted to the millennium bug problem.

((Suzanne Perry, Brussels newsroom +322 287 6839, fax +322 230 5573, e-mail suzanne.perry+reuters.com))

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), April 23, 1999

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