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11. 3.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 76/81

The setting up of reception centres for asylum seekers and displaced people in Greece may, under certain
conditions, be eligible for Community cofinancing. It should be clearly framed as a pilot project, including a
proper evaluation mechanism. Particular attention will be given to the establishment of new reception
infrastructures to meet the immediate needs of displaced people in situations of mass influx. Furthermore, the
establishment of such a reception centre should be intended to implement the instruments adopted by the Council
in the fields of asylum procedures and unaccompanied minors (1).

(1) Council Resolution of 20 June 1995 (OJ C 274, 19.9.1996); Council Resolution of 26 June 1997 on unaccompanied minors who are
nationals of third countries (OJ C 221, 19.7.1997).

(98/C 76/170) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2240/97

by Richard Howitt (PSE) to the Commission
(2 July 1997)

Subject: Single Market in the repair and maintenance of aircraft

Following representations from aircraft maintenance companies based at Southend Airport in my constituency,
what specific statistics does the Commission hold by Member State of state subsidy given to the repair and
maintenance of aircraft, rather than to the aviation sector in general?

Does the Commission plan to undertake further assessments in this respect?

Will the Commission bring forward further proposals to ensure free competition in the repair and maintenance of
aircraft, and at what date does the Commission expect a full Single Market in this sector to be in operation?

Answer given by Mr Van Miert on behalf of the Commission

(4 September 1997)

The Commission does not possess any specific statistics about the aid which Member States award to the aircraft
maintenance industry. The production of such statistics would be extremely difficult since the aircraft
maintenance industry does not belong to the so-called sensitive sectors for which there are specific frameworks
on state aid by which the Member States are obliged to notify any aid individually to the Commission.
Consequently, Member States may award aid to the aircraft maintenance industry on the basis of aid schemes
which were previously approved by the Commission without being obliged to notify any aid individually if this
aid follows the lines of the approved scheme. As a further consequence, the Commission is, in these cases, not
informed about individual cases and may not produce statistics about aid to those sectors.

Nevertheless, although the aircraft maintenance industry is not regarded as being a sensitive sector in the above
mentioned sense, the Commission has sufficient instruments in order to ensure competition within this sector in
the single market. Thus, the different horizontal frameworks and guidelines, such as for example the research and
development (R&D) framework or the Community guidelines on state aid for rescuing and restructuring of firms
in difficulties, which were prepared by the Commission and which apply to all industrial sectors allow the
Commission to control effectively state subsidies to the aircraft maintenance industry and to avoid undue
distortions of competition. In this context and as an example, the Commission would stress that, by applying the
Community guidelines on state aid for rescuing and restructuring of firms in difficulties, it only recently closed
its proceedings under Article 93(2) of the EC Treaty against aid which was awarded by the German Land
Niedersachsen to ASL Lemwerder, an enterprise specialising in aircraft maintenance.