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3. 4.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 102/65

The first objective is to ‘press ahead in developing access to continuing training while narrowing inequalities in
worker access so as to promote a Union-wide skill access strategy’.

These guidelines will be discussed with the Community bodies concerned. On the basis of the discussions, the
Commission will then propose a series of measures for implementing the guidelines. The legal nature of this
instrument will depend on the objectives set.

In view of the importance of the social partners in the field of continuing training, the Commission wishes to hold
extensive consultations with them on the follow-up to the report, before presenting a proposal, and has therefore
invited them to take part in discussions.

As these discussions have not yet begun, it is not yet possible to state what form the instrument will take, but we
can say now that the opinion of the Advisory Committee on Vocational Training (ACVT) on the report on access
to continuing training has shown that the employers' and trade union representatives would not welcome the
adoption, in the near future, of a binding Community instrument on access to continuing training.

Nonetheless, whatever the legal nature of the act adopted, the question of equal opportunities will be taken into

(98/C 102/95) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2588/97

by Hilde Hawlicek (PSE) to the Council
(29 July 1997)

Subject: New paragraph in the preamble to the EC Treaty

At the Council of Heads of State and of Government in Amsterdam, it was decided to incorporate the following
new paragraph in the preamble to the EC Treaty: ‘Determined to promote the development of the highest
possible level of knowledge for their peoples through a wide access to education and its continuous updating.’

How does the Council intend to attain this objective if at the same time it is effectively cutting funding for
existing education programmes?

(17 November 1997)

It would be premature for the Council to comment on the question put by the Honourable Member at a stage
when the Amsterdam Treaty has only just been signed and has not yet entered into force.

(98/C 102/96) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2590/97

by Hilde Hawlicek (PSE) to the Commission
(29 July 1997)

Subject: Possible legal proceedings concerning fixed book prices in the German-speaking area

The Austrian chain of bookshops which is currently pursuing a complaint to the Commission concerning the
fixing of book prices in the German-speaking area is threatening to bring legal proceedings before the Court of
Justice of the European Communities.

What will happen to fixed book prices in the German-speaking area between the bringing of such proceedings
and a possible decision by the Court? How long are such proceedings likely to take, in the light of past
C 102/66 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 3. 4. 98

Answer given by Mr Van Miert on behalf of the Commission

(1 October 1997)

According to the third paragraph of Article 175 of the EC Treaty, any natural or legal person may complain to the
Court of Justice that an institution of the Community − such as the Commission − has failed to address to that
person any act other than a recommendation or an opinion. The complainant can bring an action in respect of the
Commission's failure to reach a decision on the complaint. However, according to the second paragraph of
Article 175, the action is admissible only if the institution concerned has first been called upon to act and has not
defined its position within two months of being so called upon. The action may then be brought before the Court
of Justice within a further period of two months. The Court of Justice itself is not required to pass judgment
within a given period. However, under Article 186 of the EC Treaty, it may prescribe any necessary interim
measures in any cases before it.

Another possibility for which the EC Treaty makes provision is that set out in Article 177. Under this Article, a
court or tribunal in one of the Member States to which a question on the interpretation of the Treaty is submitted
and which considers that a decision on the question is necessary to enable it to give judgment can refer the matter
to the Court of Justice for a ruling. However, it is the national court or tribunal which decides whether the
question is to be submitted to the Court of Justice; parties in the proceedings at national level cannot oblige it to
refer the matter to the Court. It is not possible to say, on the basis of the facts supplied in the Honourable
Member's question, whether this possibility could be relevant to the present proceedings.

(98/C 102/97) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2596/97

by David Hallam (PSE) to the Council
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Economic and Monetary Union

1. What are the predicted costs to national mints

(a) of licensing technology for Nordic Gold?
(b) of converting production to a non-traditional material?
(c) of reduced or lost exports to non-EU countries?

2. Why, among the many nickel-free or low-nickel alloys available, was only a trade-marked product −
Nordic Gold − selected?

(98/C 102/98) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2650/97

by Roberto Mezzaroma (UPE) to the Council
(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;