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25. 5. 98
EN
C 158/129Official Journal of the European Communities
Answer given by Mrs Wulf-Mathies on behalf of the Commission
(1 December 1997)
The Commission has proposed increasing geographical concentration by reducing the percentage of the Unionpopulation eligible under Objectives 1 and 2 from 51% to between 35% and 40%.This concentration would be achieved through strict application of the threshold of 75% in the case of Objective1 and by recourse to simpler, more transparent and more specific criteria for the various types of areas concernedby the new Objective 2.For the areas currently eligible under Objectives 1, 2 and 5(b) which will not satisfy the future eligibility criteria,the Commission proposes a period of transition during which support from the Structural Funds would begradually reduced. In the case of Objective 1, this transitional support would be substantial and long-lastingwhile for the new Objective 2 it would be more limited in time. The details of the two transition periods will bespecified in the proposals for new Regulations on the Structural Funds which the Commission will present earlyin 1998.(98/C 158/169)
WRITTEN QUESTION P-3493/97by W.G. van Velzen (PPE) to the Commission
(29 October 1997)Subject:
Supervision of supply of new telecommunications services by dominant market operatorsOn 21 October 1997 reports appeared in the Netherlands press concerning supervision of the Netherlandstelecommunications market. It was claimed that it was sometimes difficult or even impossible for nationalregulatory authorities to investigate the supply of new (Internet-capable) services by existing operators holdingdominant positions on the telecommunications market and who could consequently harm smaller operators onthat market. Similar problems were said also to arise in other Member States.1. What are the Commission’s views on the supply of new services by operators in a dominant marketposition on the telecommunications market, having regard in particular to Article 8 of Directive 97/33/EC (
1
) of 30 June 1997 (Interconnection Directive) in conjunction with Articles 5, 86 and 90 of the EC Treaty?2. Has the Commission held consultations on this matter with the Netherlands government?3. Does the Commission take the view that the existing telecommunications directives require Member Statesto give national regulatory authorities wide powers to monitor the supply of new services?4. Is the Commission prepared to launch an urgent general inquiry into the compatibility of the supply of newservices by dominant market operators on the European telecommunications market with European law?
(
1
) OJ L 199, 26.7.1997, p. 32.
Answer given by Mr Van Miert on behalf of the Commission
(24 November 1997)
1. There is nothing in Community legislation which prevents incumbent telecommunications operators (TOs)from offering new services. Indeed, consumers can benefit from an increased choice of such services if as manynew providers as possible are on the market. Competition law, in particular Article 86 of the EC Treaty, aims toprevent dominant operators from engaging in behaviour which would make it difficult or impossible for marketentrants to compete in new market segments. To the extent such market entrants depend on the incumbent TOsfor facilities which are necessary to provide new services, the general principles of Article 86 apply, particularlythe ban on illegal cross-subsidisation and discrimination.

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