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17. 3.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 82/121

What view does the Commission take of the above ‘initiative’? What funding is being received by the CNP? Who
is contributing and what criteria were applied in deciding to espouse its cause?

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


(24 September 1997)

On the basis of the Resolution on conflict prevention, adopted by the Parliament on 15 June 1995, requesting the
Commission to set up a body responsible for collecting information on conflicts for the purpose of analysis and
the drafting of proposals, the Commission has launched a pilot project for one to two years. The pilot programme
‘Crisis prevention network’ (CPN) consists of studies, briefs, advice and evaluations aiming to augment
non-governmental analysis capacity on conflict prevention. It serves as a tool of information and analysis for
both the Commission and the Parliament on conflict prevention issues. Any study or advice can be used by the
institutions in their respective institutional responsibilities, without binding these institutions.

The work programme of the CPN is guided by a group of experts from the Parliament, academia and the
Commission. At present, seven members of the Parliament participate in the group of experts. CPN is managed
by Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Ebenhausen (Germany) and is directed by Dr Rummel. The contract with
the Stiftung was awarded after an open tender procedure. The total value of the contract of the CPN is
ECU 646 000.

The programme of the confidential briefing discussion on Cyprus planned by the CPN was not approved by the
Commission and the text of the invitation does not represent the views of the Commission.

(98/C 82/198) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2647/97


by Richard Howitt (PSE) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Brewery ties/Inntrepreneur Pub Company Limited

Tenants of ‘Inntrepreneur’ Pub Company Limited and similar companies in my constituency entered into
agreements with Inntrepreneur on the basis that their business would be free of the tie by 1998 and on the premise
that the tied trade agreement would entitle them to discounts, support and concessions that would compensate for
the loss of discounts available on the ‘free’ market. Inntrepreneur have reneged on their agreements to release all
their tied houses, tenants have not commercially benefited from the arrangements but have in fact been
significantly disadvantaged compared to those operating in the free market.

Under these circumstances, can the Commission please confirm that in order to ensure a fair and competitive
trading environment, it will reject Inntrepreneur Pub Company Limited’s application for a special exemption to
Article 85/1 of the Treaty of Rome?

Answer given by Mr Van Miert on behalf of the Commission


(16 September 1997)

Inntrepreneur has asked the Commission to look into its standard agreements. In the Commission's view, the
Inntrepreneur lease in common with most other standard leases used in the United Kingdom does not fulfil a
technical requirement of Commission Regulation (EEC) No 1984/83 on the application of Article 85 (3) of the
Treaty to categories of exclusive purchasing agreements, the so called ‘beer block exemption’ (1). The problem
concerns the specification of the beer tie by type, rather than by brand.

In considering whether such standard leases may be exempted by specific decision the Commission must check
whether all the conditions of Article 85 (3) of the EC Treaty are fulfilled. In such examinations the Commission,
using average figures, takes into account the overall effect of the network of standard leases in question. It is
within this context that the Commission has been examining, primarily on the basis of a report by the Office of
C 82/122 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 17. 3. 98

fair trading, the price differential between the tied lessee and the individual free-house operator. Accordingly this
examination has focused, in the case of Inntrepreneur, on the whole network of its leases. For this reason the
Commission has concentrated on the average differential between tied and free trade prices as charged directly
by Courage, now Scottish Courage. The same averaging has also been used concerning any countervailing
benefits.

Any claims made by Inntrepreneur will be thoroughly checked, and will be only taken into account insofar as the
typical free trade operator has no access to the same kind of benefit. In this regard, the new Inntrepreneur
RetailLink scheme, which has been introduced following the announcement by the Department of trade and
industry of its agreement to release Inntrepreneur from the obligations in earlier undertakings, constitutes an
important change in the circumstances of price discrimination and countervailing benefits prevailing previously.
Inntrepreneur notified this new purchasing agreement in March 1997.

The Commission hopes to make its provisional position known in the forthcoming weeks.

(1) OJ L 173, 30.6.1983.

(98/C 82/199) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2651/97


by Roberto Mezzaroma (UPE) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Single currency coins

On 9 June 1997 ECOFIN, the Council of Finance Ministers, of Finance approved the draft regulation on the
denominations and technical specifications of euro coins; this proposal for a regulation, which was also endorsed
by the recent Amsterdam Summit, would completely preclude the use of stainless steel.

Stainless steel offers the following advantages:


1. economic: a saving of over ECU 300 million would be made, taking into account only the three
intermediate-denomination coins (0.1, 0.2 and 0.5 euro),
2. technical: the material lends itself to coin production, maintains appearance and shape, and is suitable for
vending machines,
3. health: the stainless steels used in the coins produced by the Mints of the principal Member States present no
risk to public health;
4. recyclability: the proportion of scrap steel used in the manufacture of stainless steel is about 80%, and the
product is 100% recyclable;
5. ecological: stainless steel products do not present any risk to the environment;
6. supply: there would be no problems with regard to the production of the euro coins (c. 300 000 tonnes).

What are the initiatives and reasons which have narrowed down the choice so far to coins containing copper or
copper alloys and completely ruled out the use of stainless steel, which is a typically European product (with
Europe accounting for 44% of world output)?

Answer given by Mr de Silguy on behalf of the Commission


(23 September 1997)

On 29 May 1997 the Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation on denominations and technical
specifications of euro coins (1) which was agreed in principle by the Council meeting (Economic and Financial
Affairs) held on 9 June. This proposal is the result of the preparatory work which has been carried out by the mint
directors of the Member States since 1994 and of the intensive consultations with user groups (consumers, the
visually handicapped and the blind, and the vending machines industry).

The materials chosen satisfy a number of technical, public health and security considerations, among others.