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2. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/25

− producers with average annual production under 500 kilograms are granted aid of ECU 151.48 per 100
kilograms and supplementary aid of ECU 3.574 per 100 kilograms. Small producers are not penalised by an
overrun of the MGQ.

Clawbacks on are made on both types of production aid and allocated to work on establishing the olive
cultivation register (2.4%), improving the quality of olive oil (1.4%) and running recognised producer
organisations and associations of them (0.8%).

The cut in production aid to which the Honourable Member refers involves aid received by large-scale producers
for output in the 1996/97 marketing year. According to the information in the Commission’s possession, such
producers represent around 25% of all olive growers in Greece.

Finally, we should not forget that this aid makes up only part of olive growers’ incomes, since they are in fact
paid for the olive oil that they sell.

(98/C 304/35) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0063/98
by Jan Mulder (ELDR) to the Commission
(29 January 1998)

Subject: Lower than anticipated costs of the swine fever crisis in the Netherlands

Reports appeared recently in the Dutch press indicating that the costs of the swine fever crisis in the Netherlands
would prove lower than originally expected.

1. Can the Commission indicate the cost of the swine fever outbreak for the European budget in the
Netherlands and in other EU Member States where the disease occurred and, by implication, the costs for the
national budgets of the Member States?

2. Does the Commission see any reason to change the approach to swine fever outbreaks in future if the
‘marker’ vaccines come onto the market quickly?

3. Does the Commission see any reason, following the outbreak in recent years of animal diseases such as
BSE and swine fever, to change the provisions on financial compensation from the European budget?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission
(12 March 1998)

1. The amounts paid up to 31 December 1997 are the following:

Veterinary expenditure Eradication surveillance Exceptional
Member State (Article 3 Council Decision programmes market support
90/424/EEC (1)) (1997+1998) measures

Belgium 2 − 3.49
Germany 5 2.3 14.4
Spain 4 − 48.3
Italy − 1.6 −
(including
African swine fever (ASF)
Netherlands 31.3 − 431.4

TOTAL 42.3 3.9 497.59

These figures refer to decisions or regulations already adopted by the Commission on the basis of the information
provided by the Member States concerned, funds available and evolution of disease. Therefore, the figures
cannot be considered as definitive.The cost of the most recent outbreaks of classical swine fever in Germany and
the veterinary expenditure which could not have been taken into consideration due to shortage of credit
(estimated 100 MECU) is also not included.
C 304/26 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10. 98

The cost for national budgets of the Member States can be roughly estimated taking into account that the
Commission supports about 50% of the veterinary expenditure and about 70% of the cost of the exceptional
market support measures in Member States.

2. The Commission is aware that classical swine fever marker vaccines are being developed. However, no
applications for registration of marker vaccines have been sent to the European medicinal evaluation agency in
London. Therefore it appears unlikely that a marker vaccine will be available on the market before 12-15 months.

Moreover, data are lacking on the potential use of such vaccines in an emergency situation that are essential to
amend current Community legislation regarding classical swine fever and to avoid any negative effect on trade of
pigs and pork linked to the use of marker vaccines.

Therefore, in agreement with the opinion recently delivered by the scientific veterinary committee on this matter,
the Commission is evaluating the possibility to support a laboratory trial aimed at evaluating the potential use of
such vaccines in field conditions.

3. The Commission will consider the existing arrangement relating to financial contribution in view of its
possible amendment.

(1) OJ L 224, 18.8.1990.

(98/C 304/36) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0064/98
by Gijs de Vries (ELDR) to the Commission
(15 January 1998)

Subject: Restrictions on direct marketing

On 7 April 1994, a complaint was lodged with the European Commission concerning restrictions on the
establishment of a mail-order record business in Germany (case no 94/4337, SG(94) A/10269, PolyGram). It took
the Commission more than two years (until November 1996) before it initiated a procedure under Article 169. In
December 1997, the Commission had still not delivered a reasoned opinion on the matter.
1. Would the Commission explain why it has not taken this complaint more seriously?
2. Does the Commission agree that the delays incurred are detrimental to the competitive position of the direct
marketing industry, one of the growth sectors in the electronic trading business?
3. Will the Commission now treat this complaint as a matter of priority?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission
(24 February 1998)

1. The Commission would like to reassure the Honourable Member that it has taken the complaint in question
very seriously. Firstly, before sending the letter of formal notice in October 1996, it had already had an exchange
of correspondence with the German authorities. Since then, the time taken to look into the matter reflects the
particularly complex legal issues involved. Identification of the services concerned, the nature of the restrictions
objected to, the objectives being pursued and the proportionality of the restrictions in relation to the
general-interest objectives require detailed examination and in-depth investigation, due regard being had to both
the Court’s case-law and the characteristics of the distance-selling market in Germany. The Commission will
endeavour to complete this detailed analysis as quickly as possible.

2. and 3. There are no statistical data to suggest that the restrictions encountered by the complainants on
account of the German legislation affect the entire direct marketing industry in the Community. Between 1991
and 1996 mail-order sales rose by 22% and the German market alone accounts for half of the total turnover (1). It
is true though that the bulk of mail-order sales are still transacted at national level. The problems faced by the
industry as regards cross-border sales are, in many cases, linked to logistical