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2. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/67

(98/C 304/94) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0272/98
by Danielle Darras (PSE) to the Commission
(5 February 1998)

Subject: Abolition of sales of duty-free products within the Community as from 1 July 1999

Can the Commission say whether it is thinking of carrying out an impact study as soon as possible to assess the
economic and social consequences of abolishing duty-free sales?

As an elected member for Nord-Pas de Calais, I would point out to the Commission that that region is directly
affected by the problem, since ferry traffic will be one of the worst-hit areas. The fact is that duty-free sales
account for close to 60% of the turnover of some shipping lines (e.g. Sea France).

Furthermore, the Commission will doubtless be aware that about half of trippers who spend one or two days in
France do so because their tickets are inexpensive. Abolishing duty-free sales will entail price rises of some 25 to
30% and a fall in traffic, however.

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission
(9 March 1998)

The decision to abolish intra-Community tax-free sales, taken by the Council in 1991 in the context of the
establishment of the single market, allows such sales to continue until 30 June 1999, enabling all the economic
sectors concerned to adjust gradually to the new situation over a transitional period of more than seven years.

In the Commission’s view, the Council took this decision because tax-free sales constitute an anomaly in the
single market. Such sales give rise to distortions of competition in the field of transport and relative to ordinary
retail sales. Moreover, they confer an unjustified advantage on regular flyers and ferry passengers, who are
subsidised at the taxpayer’s expense. Furthermore, since rail transport and other services are being developed
further, such anomalies will have an increasingly negative impact on these transport sectors. The Commission
does not intend to call the Council’s decision into question or to conduct an impact study to assess its economic
and social consequences.

(98/C 304/95) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0275/98
by Gary Titley (PSE) to the Commission
(5 February 1998)

Subject: Satellite jamming and the EC Trade Barrier Regulation

From 1 to 23 July 1997, the transmissions of MED-TV on the EUTELSAT satellite provider, were continuously
jammed. The station broadcasts in Kurdish from London under licence from the UK Independent Television
Commission.

In November 1997, I tabled a question to the Commission asking if it could confirm that the jamming of
MED-TV violated the European Community’s Trade Barrier Regulation. I was informed that further information
would be required to enable the Commission to carry out the necessary evaluation.

Does the Commission intend to investigate this potential infringement of the EC’s Trade Barrier Regulation?

If not, why not?

Could the Commission provide information as to how long such an evaluation would take?