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C 223/124 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 17. 7.

98

(98/C 223/158) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0136/98


by Shaun Spiers (PSE) to the Commission
(23 January 1998)

Subject: Employment rights for clergy and church workers

Is the Commission aware that ancient freehold rights for the clergy of the established church in England are being
eroded and that, since clergy of all faiths in Britain are not protected by domestic employment legislation, rights
under European Union legislation are not being universally applied to all workers within the European Union?

Answer given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission


(24 February 1998)

The provisions of Community directives on labour law are generally applicable to employees. However, the
Directives currently in force do not themselves define the concept of ‘employee’.

In the absence of a uniform Community concept in the field of labour law, the concept in the national law of each
Member State determines the category of persons covered by the term ‘employee’ and should, therefore, fall
within the scope of the provisions in question. This idea is confirmed by the case law of the Court of Justice.

This does not mean, however, that a Member State is free to restrict or extend the concept of ‘employee’
deliberately in order to determine the scope of each Community Directive individually. In this context it is the
general concept of labour law in force in the Member States which should apply.

(98/C 223/159) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0144/98


by Alexandros Alavanos (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(2 February 1998)

Subject: Support for Greek citrus-fruit growers

Citrus-fruit growers in Greece are faced with severe problems in marketing this year’s crop owing to
overproduction in the EU, uncontrolled imports of very cheap orange juice from Brazil and the USA and the
exceptionally harsh recent weather. Market prices have plummeted as a result of the considerable reductions in
export subsidies deriving from the new rules applying to market-garden produce, their withdrawal from the
market and pulping for juice and the manner in which the Commission has administered them. The entire
situation is exacerbated by competition from third countries, particularly Mediterranean, which have preferential
relations with the EU.

In the light of this situation, will the Commission say:


1. how it will respond to the considerable loss of income suffered by growers,
2. whether it will allow an increase in the withdrawal ceiling by way of exception (from the current 35% of
marketable quantities) in order to absorb part of the crop, and
3. what other measures it will take to relieve the dire financial situation which has befallen citrus-fruit growers
in Greece?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission


(9 March 1998)

1. The Greek citrus-growing sector suffers from structural problems such as undiversified production, weak
marketing structures and a processing industry not geared towards manufacturing competitive products.