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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

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?
C 304/68 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10. 98

Answer given by Mr Oreja on behalf of the Commission
(13 March 1998)

As stated in the previous reply to the Honourable Member’s written question E-3670/97 (1) and to written
question E-3449/97 by Mr de Vries (2), the Television without frontiers Directive 97/36/EC of Parliament and of
the Council of 30 June 1997 amending Council Directive 89/552/EEC on the coordination of certain provisions
laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television
broadcasting activities (3) provides that Member States shall ensure freedom of reception on their territory of
television broadcasts from other Member States (Article 2a(1)).

This obligation is based on one of the four fundamental freedoms laid down in the EC Treaty (the freedom to
provide services − Article 59).

In respect of the particular circumstances of the case, the Commission stated that it required further information
to enable an evaluation to be carried out, in respect of conformity with Community law. The Commission, in its
role of guardian of the Treaties is required to evaluate possible breaches of Community law. The timing of such
an evaluation would depend on the complexity of the facts involved, on the assumption that the necessary
information was available.

(1) OJ C 174, 8.6.1998, p. 95.
(2) OJ C 174, 8.6.1998, p. 60.
(3) OJ L 202, 30.7.1997.

(98/C 304/96) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0278/98
by Panayotis Lambrias (PPE) to the Commission
(13 February 1998)

Subject: New LEADER programme

According to recent statements by Commissioner Fischler, it is planned to extend to LEADER programme to
include the whole of European agriculture. Recognising that the agricultural policy of the Union is in a
transitional period, will the Commission say:
1. Does it intend to take measures to ensure that there is no reduction in what has already been achieved in
Objective 1 and 5b regions and that essential financial support, in line with the present needs, continues with
the new LEADER programme?
2. Does it intend substantially to increase the funds for the new LEADER programme in keeping with the
increased area covered and the need for more intensive support for the less-developed regions of the
European Union?

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

1. For the regions currently eligible under Objectives 1 and 5(b) which will cease to be eligible under the
selection criteria to be used in the new period, the Commission is proposing transitional financial support
through regional programmes to be drawn up in agreement with the Member State concerned.

The new rural development Initiative, which the Honourable Member describes as ‘new Leader’, could provide
further support for those regions in accordance with the guidelines on its objectives and scope which the
Commission will lay down.

2. The Commission is proposing that 5% of the resources of the Structural Funds should be allocated to the
three Community Initiatives, one of which will be the Initiative for rural development, but it has not yet divided
that amount among the Initiatives. The concentration of appropriations on three Community Initiatives instead of
the existing 14 will improve implementation in the sectors selected.