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C 60/84 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 25. 2.

98

Answer given by Mr Van den Broek on behalf of the Commission


(31 July 1997)

The association agreement between the Republic of Slovenia and the Community will not affect current
veterinary controls on animals from third countries. However, from the date of accession, Slovenia will have to
ensure effective controls at the external border of the Community in order to comply with Community legislation
in the veterinary field. This requires the setting up of appropriate facilities and training of staff prior to accession.
The Phare programme provides assistance to support Slovenia in undertaking the necessary legal, institutional
and certain structural adjustments.

The Commission is not aware of any plans developed as regards the future of existing control facilities at Gorizia
Sant’ Andrea and Fernetti (this being under the responsibility of the national authorities).

The Commission does not have any information on plans for specific bilateral arrangements as regards customs
coordination at Fernetti and Sesana.

(98/C 60/121) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2038/97


by Michl Ebner (PPE) to the Commission
(13 June 1997)

Subject: Harmonization of the taxes on heating oil

As part of the process of European integration, it is also necessary to harmonize conditions of competition.
The taxation of heating oil is subject to different rules in the various EU Member States, so that whereas
Lit 10 000 will buy 6941 litres of heating oil in Italy, it will buy almost twice as much in Austria (13 571 l), almost
three times as much in Germany (18 151 l) and even more than three times as much in England (21 141 l). This
additional taxation undeniably has the effect of distorting competition and works to the disadvantage of
companies and public administrative authorities in border areas.
1. Why are there still such large and obvious differences in the taxation of heating oil, despite Directive
92/81/EEC (1), which largely harmonized the scope of excise duties on mineral oils and Directive
92/82/EEC (2), which required the Member States to approximate the rates of excise duties on mineral oils?
2. What measures did the Commission deem necessary on the basis of the report on minimum rates of excise
duties, which it was asked to present at the end of 1994?
3. What further steps does it intend to take to further the adjustment of heating oil prices to European
standards?

(1) OJ L 316, 31.10.1992, p. 12.


(2) OJ L 316, 31.10.1992, p. 19.

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission


(30 July 1997)

1. The proposals for directives on the harmonisation of the structures and rates of excise duty on mineral oils
which the Commission submitted to the Council in 1987 were based on the assumption that the proper
functioning of the internal market required both structures and duty rates to be fully harmonised.

In the event, debate on those proposals led to recognition by the Council and the Parliament that complete rate
harmonisation was not, at that stage, feasible and the Commission therefore submitted revised proposals for a
system that specified minimum and target rates of duty for mineral oils depending on the use to which they were
put. The Council finally adopted a system of minimum rates only, above which each Member State would be
free, in setting rates for products, to take account of all the circumstances prevailing in that Member State.
25. 2. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 60/85

2. Directive 92/82/EEC on the approximation of the rates of excise duties on mineral oil requires that every
two years, Council shall examine the rates of duty laid down in that Directive on the basis of a report from the
Commission and, where appropriate, after consulting the Parliament, shall adopt the necessary measures. The
first such report was submitted in September 1995 (1). This concluded that, before any legislative proposals were
submitted, a wide ranging consultation should be carried out.

3. Further to this consultation process and in response to an invitation from the Council, the Commission has
now submitted proposals for a global approach to the taxation of energy products (2). These proposals seek to
improve the functioning of the internal market by the use of a phased increase in minimum duty rates on mineral
oils designed to lead to greater approximation of national rates.

It should, however, be noted that excise duty represents only part of the cost of the fuel and even if duty rates
were totally harmonised there would still be substantial differences in the retail prices paid by consumers in
different Member States due to differences in production, transport and marketing costs.

(1) COM(95) 285.


(2) OJ C 139, 6.4.1997.

(98/C 60/122) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2046/97


by Jean-Yves Le Gallou (NI) to the Commission
(13 June 1997)

Subject: Community financial assistance for ECAS

On 5 and 6 May 1997, ECAS (Euro Citizen Action Service) organized a seminar in Brussels on European
citizenship.

Did the Commission provide any financial assistance for the organization of this seminar, and if so, what amount
was involved?

Answer given by Mr Oreja on behalf of the Commission


(8 September 1997)

The Commission made a financial contribution of ECU 26 200 to the organisation of the Conference on EU
Citizenship by the Euro Citizen Action Service (ECAS) on 5 and 6 May 1997. This Commission contribution
covered 50% of the total cost of the seminar, which focused on the central role of the citizen, one of the
Community's information priorities.

(98/C 60/123) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2049/97


by Magda Aelvoet (V) to the Commission
(13 June 1997)

Subject: Quality of Belgian development aid

Is the Commission aware that a special committee has been set up by the Belgian parliament to look into the way
development aid is spent by, or through the offices of, the development aid authority?

If so, is it also aware that the supervisory body is currently looking into allegations of fraud involving
development aid concerning 24 projects and programmes? These include:
− Malawi Railways Ltd.: supply of five shunter engines with spare parts;
− a desalination plant in Mindelo (Cape Verde);