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17. 3.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 82/115

(98/C 82/189) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2594/97


by W.G. van Velzen (PPE) to the Commission
(17 July 1997)

Subject: State aids for research and development and competition rules

Reports recently appearing in the Dutch press and elsewhere concerning aid granted by certain Member States
for research and development regularly suggest that such aid might not be in accordance with the EC Treaty, in
particular Articles 92 to 94. On page 75 of the XXVIth Report on Competition Policy (1996), four cases are
mentioned where the Commission has expressed serious doubts, including SGS Thomson and Philips.
1. Under Community law, do the SGS Thomson and Philips cases fall into the same category?
2. Why should these two cases fall outside the new framework regarding State aids for research and
development of 17 February 1996?
3. What is the annual amount of government support for research and development in the EU granted by the
Member States? How does this compare with the amount of aid granted by Japan and the United States?

Answer given by Mr Van Miert on behalf of the Commission


(22 September 1997)

1. The SGS-Thomson and Philips cases where investigations have been opened by the Commission both
concern individual aid to companies in the semiconductor sector. In the SGS-Thomson case, the work concerns
technologies for semiconductor integrated circuits in application areas like computer and power supply,
telecommunications, automotive, audio and radio, and other applications. The Philips case concerns techno-
logies for semiconductor integrated circuits for personal digital assistants (PDAs) or personal intelligent
communicators (PICs).

2. The assessment of the cases for the opening of the investigations has been carried out using criteria given in
the guidelines for research and development adopted by the Commission in December 1995 (1). The cases fall
within the scope of Article 92(1) of the EC Treaty since the aid favours (on an individual basis) the companies
concerned, each operating in highly competitive semiconductor market segments for which there is trade
between Member States. When opening the investigations in both cases, the Commission expressed doubts
regarding the proposed aid in relation to the necessity for the aid, the ‘incentive’ effect − an inducement for the
company to pursue research it would not otherwise have pursued − as well as the nature of the work proposed. It
is these concerns which are being addressed in the current investigation. A full description explaining why the
investigations were opened in each case has been published in the Official journal (SGS-Thomson (2),
Philips (3)). A final Commission decision on both cases is still pending.

3. European research investment in 1995 amounted to 1.9% of gross domestic product (GDP), compared with
2.45% in the United States and 2.95% in Japan.

(1) OJ C 45, 17.2.1996.


(2) OJ C 358, 27.11.1996.
(3) OJ C 393, 31.12.1996.

(98/C 82/190) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2595/97


by Luigi Vinci (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(17 July 1997)

Subject: Segrate-Lacchiarella transport/transfer centre

On 24 May 1996 I tabled a written question to the Commission (E-1283/96) (1) requesting clarification
concerning Community funding for the construction of the Segrate-Lachiarella transport/transfer centre, in
connection with which various irregularities appear to have occurred. Subsequently, on 12 June 1997, Italian
magistrates sent notification of investigation to various politicians and officials involved in the
C 82/116 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 17. 3. 98

Segrate-Lacchiarella project, prominent among whom is Giorgio Pozzi, the Lombardy Region Assessor
responsible for transport. He, together with others, is accused of embezzlement, misuse of public funds,
corruption, falsifying the budget, abuse of office and fraud. The magistrates allege that the persons under
investigation used for other purposes funds of Lire 2.5 billion that had been allocated to the construction of the
transport/ transfer centre.

In the light of recent developments, does the Commission intend to cancel its funding for the Segrate-
Lacchiarella transport/transfer centre, at least until the judicial authorities have clearly established whether the
persons who have been officially notified that they are under investigation are liable to prosecution in their
administrative capacity?

Does the Commission agree that the project openly breaches the directives referred to in its answer to my Written
Question E-1283/96?

(1) OJ C 322, 28.10.1996, p. 50.

Answer given by Mr Santer on behalf of the Commission


(3 October 1997)

The Commission is not aware of any Community aid allocated to the project referred to by the Honourable
Member. In reply to his previous question (Written Question No 1283/96 (1)) the Commission listed the further
information it would need if an approach to the Italian authorities was to have any purpose. The Commission has
still not received any such information from the Honourable Member.

(1) OJ C 322, 28.10.1996.

(98/C 82/191) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2618/97


by Jan Sonneveld (PPE) to the Commission
(18 July 1997)

Subject: Export of dried bird droppings to France

On 17 June 1997 the prefecture of the French département of Aube refused to grant authorization for the transport
of dried bird droppings. It said that the application was incompatible with the industrial waste disposal plan for
the region of Champagne-Ardenne which gives priority to locally produced fertilizers.

1. Is the Commission of the opinion that dried bird droppings are a high-grade animal fertilizer which
customers would be willing to pay for, and which should not therefore be regarded as a waste product?

2. Is the Commission of the opinion that just as cereals are an essential input for livestock farming, so
high-grade fertilizer is an essential input for the cultivation of certain agricultural products?

3. Is the Commission of the opinion that a ban on importing such high-grade fertilizers is an infringement of
the rules of the internal market?

4. Is the Commission prepared to deal appropriately with the prefecture in question with a view to
withdrawing this barrier to trade?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission


(12 September 1997)

From the veterinary point of view, intra-Community trade in chicken droppings falls within the scope of Council
Directive 92/118/CE (1) laying down animal health and public health requirements governing trade in and
imports into the Community of products not subject to the said requirements laid down in specific Community
rules.