Delays in approving a supplementary budget for the European Court of Justice risk a breakdown in the court's computer systems and the non-publication of court judgements when the Year 2000 arrives, because of millenium bugs in the present systems, court IT officials said.
When EU budget ministers met earlier this month they approved a 1.675 million euro additional budget for the court to install a new computer system to cope with the advent of the Y2K. The European Parliament has yet to approve this supplementary budget, court officials said.
"We have asked for this budget at the start of the year and it is now the end of July. It means we have to work in a difficult way. Things are ready to launch but we can't launch them because of this budget. We must buy software, other supplies," a court IT official said.
"Publishing of judgements by the court is the result of a long chain of processing and all the systems in one way or another are touched by the Y2K problem. The system for judgements is the most visible for the court and we need that budget to be able to assure publication," he said.
So far the court has made all the preparations it can with its current resources and in addition has already issued tenders for the materials it will need. "We have already launched the tenders. We are ready to spend. We are ready on a series of markets," he said.
This official said he could not be specific about which systems were touched by the Y2K bug but that the court has surveyed all the systems. He noted that "systems use a lot of other basic systems, such as word processing and personal computers" and this increases the risks.
The court is taking the opportunity of the changes for the Y2K problem to instal other upgrades to its computer systems. "We have identified all the systems which are the source of the problem and we work to resolve the problem. It is our priority this year," he said.
The court's initial budget for 1999 includes 1.3 million euro for electronic office equipment and 1.25 million euro for data processing kit.
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