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3. 4.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 102/111

(98/C 102/160) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2759/97

by Gerhard Schmid (PSE) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Family rail passes for European railways

In France and Germany you can obtain what is known as a family rail pass, and it is recognized by both countries.

1. Would it not be desirable to introduce a family rail pass throughout the European Union, valid in all
Member States, to make rail travel more attractive and support the family?

2. Will the Commission be taking an initiative in this direction? If not, why not? If so, how?

Answer given by Mr Kinnock on behalf of the Commission

(7 October 1997)

Whilst recognising the clear advantages for families and for patronage of rail of family rail passes, the
Commission considers that tariff schemes and reductions are matters for the railway undertakings themselves, in
line with their management independence.

In addition, given the principle of subsidiarity, it is for Member States to decide how far they would like to
support tariff reductions on public transport.

Consequently, the Commission has no plans to bring forward a specific initiative regarding a Community-wide
family pass.

(98/C 102/161) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2761/97

by Willi Görlach (PSE) and Barbara Schmidbauer (PSE) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Complaints against airports and airlines with regard to ground handling arrangements

1. In 1994 the Commission initiated several infringement proceedings against airports and airlines on the
grounds that they had set up an unjustified monopoly in the field of ground handling. What is the state of progress
with these proceedings, and particularly the proceedings against Flughafen Frankfurt/Main AG?

2. How is the Commission ensuring that the purposes of the Council of Transport Ministers, as expressed in
the ground handling directive adopted on 24 October 1996 on the basis of Article 84 of the EC Treaty to reconcile
the transport and competitive aspects, are also heeded without restriction in the Commission's proceedings? Will
the Commission be respecting the transitional provisions in the ground handling directive and enforcing them, in
particular the rule in Article 9 whereby an airport's proven capacity and space constraints will permit the airport
to be exempted from premature market exposure until 1 January 2003 at the latest?

Answer given by Mr Van Miert on behalf of the Commission

(26 September 1997)

1. The Commission terminated a number of the proceedings after the market was opened up to a second
supplier of groundhandling services. This was the case, for example, with the Spanish airports and Dublin
airport. The groundhandling market will also be opened up to a second supplier at Athens airport on
1 January 1998, one year ahead of the date laid down in Council Directive 96/67/EC of 15 October 1996 on
access to the groundhandling market at Community airports (1). As far as Frankfurt airport is concerned, the
matter is still under examination.