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C 187/98


Official Journal of the European Communities Joint answer to Written Questions E-3937/97 and E-3950/97 given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission (30 January 1998)

16. 6. 98

Following the information provided to the Commission by the Honourable Member, the Commission considers that special fees imposed on ice hockey players who are not members of the United Kingdom ice hockey association when they are recruited by a British club amount to a discrimination contrary to the EC Treaty. Where such ice hockey players wish to practise ice hockey as a professional activity, the transfer fee and the registration fee would constitute obstacles to free movement of workers and would directly contravene Article 48 of the EC Treaty, in line with the Bosman ruling. Furthermore, when hockey is played as a non-professional activity, either by a family member of a European worker or by a European citizen residing in the United Kingdom, the fee for non-British players may also constitute a discrimination against European citizens and may contravene the EC Treaty. Finally, the Commission wishes to confirm that the Bosman ruling does not only concern professional football, but also any professional or semi-professional sports activity.

(98/C 187/148)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-3943/97 by Marjo Matikainen-Kallstrom (PPE) to the Commission ¨ (12 December 1997)

Subject: Degrees awarded by ‘cowboy’ universities In Europe more and more degrees are being awarded by ‘cowboy’ universities which make empty promises about providing recognized academic qualifications. Recent discussions have centred on certain UK universities which, owing to a funding crisis, have had to tempt ‘correspondence course students’ from round the world. The majority of European universities are recognized, high-quality educational establishments, but some of them have no official place in any country’s education system. In view of the above, how does the Commission intend to take action against these ‘cowboy’ universities in the EU in order to prevent their activities from jeopardizing the objective of mutual recognition of degrees in the EU Member States? How does the Commission intend to prevent these ‘cowboy’ universities from issuing worthless degrees and certificates whose substance contravenes national legislation, e.g. in Finland the University Degrees Regulation?

Answer given by Mrs Cresson on behalf of the Commission (12 February 1998) Article 126 of the EC Treaty states that ‘The Community shall contribute to the development of quality education by encouraging cooperation between Member States and, if necessary, by supporting and supplementing their action, while fully respecting the responsibility of the Member States for the content of teaching and the organisation of education systems and their cultural and linguistic diversity.’ It follows from this that the validation of a Member State’s diplomas and educational establishments is a matter for the national authorities. In theory, each Member State has mechanisms for preventing the proliferation of diplomas that are not officially approved or are of dubious quality. Any citizen wanting information on the status of educational establishments located in his or her own Member State or in other Member States may contact one of the National Academic Recognition Centres (NARIC), which form a Community network created on the initiative of the Commission. A list containing the details of these Centres has been sent direct to the Honourable Member, as well as to the European Parliament’s Secretariat.