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2. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/1




(98/C 304/01) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3597/97

by Giacomo Santini (PPE) to the Commission
(13 November 1997)

Subject: Invasion of the European market by elvers caught by Asian boats

Following the invasion of the European market by small elvers (which would become European eels in
adulthood) weighing about 0.3 grammes each, which are caught by Asian ships off Atlantic coasts, the costs of
such fry have risen astronomically (from Lit 165 000 per kilo in 1995 to Lit 750 000 per kilo in 1997).

The Asians (in particular the Japanese and Chinese) have indiscriminately fished for Japanese eels (Anguilla
japonica), thereby interfering with reproduction (Japan alone consumes approximately 120 000 tonnes every
year), and they have therefore turned to the European market where, unlike in Japan, there are no limits on the
export of fry.

Can the Commission say:

1. what it intends to do to safeguard Italian and European fish farmers, in view of the fact that Italy produces
7 000 tonnes of Europeean eels (Anguilla anguilla) per year out of the total of 20 000 tonnes produced in
Europe every year;
2. what it intends to do to prevent indiscriminate fishing from causing irreparable damage to the reproduction
of these fish on the Atlantic coasts of Europe too?

Answer given by Mrs Bonino on behalf of the Commission

(14 January 1998)

The Commission is aware of the valuable and growing contribution of the eel cultivation sector to European
aquaculture and of the particular importance of this activity in Italy. The dependence on supplies of juvenile eels
caught in the wild will remain for so long as it continues to be impossible to complete the life cycle of this species
in captivity.

Glass eels are caught as they migrate up rivers on the final leg of their migration from the Sargasso Sea. The
competence of managing glass eel fisheries has up to now laid primarily with Member States and a range of
national control measures exist, depending on the traditional patterns of exploitation and use. Five Member
States ban commercial fishing for glass eels and elvers, while a regional ban exists in a sixth Member State. In the
southern Member States where there is a tradition of consuming smaller eels, glass eel fishing is permitted but
controls are applied to fishing gear, open season or fishing and dealing licences.

A recently completed report on management of the European eel (concerted action AIR A94- 1939) has shown
that returns of glass eels have fallen, resulting in a serious decline of existing fisheries, particularly in the Baltic
and Mediterranean Member States. This is matter of concern and the Commission in September 1997 requested
the International council for the exploration of the sea (ICES) to provide advice on possible management actions
C 304/2 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10. 98

to ensure a sustainable development of the eel fisheries within the Community. This advice should be provided in
1998 and any possible proposals on aspects such as regulating exports of glass eels will be deferred until then.

(98/C 304/02) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3622/97

by Giuseppe Rauti (NI) to the Commission
(13 November 1997)

Subject: Protecting the rights of taxi drivers in Italy and Europe

Is the Commission aware that a huge protest movement is spreading among taxi drivers in Italy, who complain
that various Italian legal provisions − which fly in the face of various European Directives − place them at a
severe fiscal disadvantage? Italian taxi drivers are, for example, prevented from recovering VAT on the purchase
of both vehicles and all the ‘ancillary’ items (from fuel to replacement parts) required to run what is their only
means of work and income. They are also obliged to ply their trade on the basis of what are know as
‘administrative fares’, which are not based on a realistic analysis of costs. Furthermore − to give but one of many
other possible examples − in 1990 a ‘decree’ issued by Mr Formica (Socialist), the minister in charge of such
matters at the time, deprived taxi drivers of 30% of their fuel refund, a further 30% of which was removed in 1991
by Minister Goria (Christian Democrat). In 1992 a further 30% was cut by Minister Amato (Socialist), with the
remaining 10% becoming a withholding tax.

Would the Commission not agree that it should make representations to the Italian Government with a view to
ensuring compliance with the relevant Community legislation?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(6 January 1998)

The Commission is aware that VAT legislation in Italy does not allow taxi firms (whose transport operations are
exempt by virtue of a temporary derogation from the principle of taxation under the Sixth Council Directive
(77/388/EEC) of 17 May 1977 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to turnover taxes −
Common system of VAT: uniform basis of assessment (1)) to recover tax paid on their acquisitions of goods and
services. This is in keeping with the provision of the Directive whereby VAT is deductible in so far as the goods
and services acquired are used for the purposes of taxed operations.

The Member State in question does, of course, have the right not to apply the derogation and to charge VAT on
the transport of persons, thereby permitting recovery of the VAT paid on goods and services acquired.

(1) OJ L 145, 13.6.1977.

(98/C 304/03) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3866/97

by José Valverde López (PPE) to the Commission
(5 December 1997)

Subject: Energy self-sufficiency in Andalusia

Andalusia’s self-sufficiency rate in energy is a mere 8%, although the figure for Spain as a whole is 30%.

Can the Commission state what projects for local production (on the basis of cogeneration and renewable energy)
have been funded from the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund in the past, or are being funded now?