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C 304/104 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10.

98

(98/C 304/155) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0435/98
by Leonie van Bladel (UPE) to the Commission
(24 February 1998)

Subject: Supporting European security policy by rebuilding the Yugoslav economy

Does the Commission agree that preserving peace and stability in the Balkans is in the security interests of
Europe, that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has a role, of one kind or another, to play in this process, and that
− even though the country is not democratically governed − the leadership of the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia cannot fulfil this role unless it has adequate support from its own people?

Does not the Commission think that the international community’s prolonging of the financial and economic
isolation which has been imposed on Yugoslavia for some time now, combined with the country’s inadequate
domestic economic policy, amounts to a policy of impoverishment, for which most people in the country blame
the international community, and that there is therefore a lack of broadly based support for the policy which
Europe wishes to pursue, and that the authorities, for internal political reasons, have only limited room to
manoeuvre?

In the light of the above, is the Commission prepared to urge authorities such as the World Bank and the IMF to
provide the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with the necessary investment capital and, where needed, the
know-how to invest this capital rationally, or, if these institutions are unwilling or unable to help, to promote the
recovery of the Yugoslav economy by other means, so that the people will begin to trust the objectives of the
international community and perhaps subsequently also come to trust political views based on the European way
of thinking?

Answer given by Mr Van den Broek on behalf of the Commission
(24 March 1998)

The ongoing crisis in Kosovo, and the fear of regional spillover, clearly demonstrate the important role to be
played by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia(FRY) regarding the stability of the Balkans. Unfortunately, it also
demonstrates the unwillingness of the authorities in Belgrade to assume their responsibilities in this regard.

The deteriorating state of the Serbian economy cannot be blamed on the international community or on
‘continuing effects’ of previous sanctions but is, rather, the result of the failure of the authorities in Belgrade to
implement the necessary economic reform measures and to comply with the relevant political and economic
conditions which are attached to financial support from either the international financial institutions or the
Community. It also demonstrates that the FRY leadership hardly feels the need of support from its own people.

The Commission remains ready to propose the reinstatement of the autonomous trade preferences, or the
inclusion of FRY in the PHARE programme as soon as the relevant political and economic conditions are met.
These conditions, which also apply to the other countries covered by the regional approach, include respect for
the fundamental principles of democracy and human rights, internationally recognised standards which are not
negotiable. Compliance with these conditions is, moreover, in the interests of the Serb population, whose needs
are not currently being given due regard by their political leadership.

(98/C 304/156) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0437/98
by Mark Watts (PSE) to the Commission
(16 February 1998)

Subject: Duty-free concessions

As the Commission has stated many times that tax-free and duty-free sales within the EU will be abolished as
planned in mid-1999, would it confirm the date by which it will present the draft directive required to establish
the alternative VAT and excise duty schemes which will need to be implemented in all Member States to ensure
that the various ferry and airline routes serving non-EU destinations will be able to operate smoothly after
abolition?
2. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/105

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

The Commission would like to point out that the special scheme for intra-Community duty-free sales derogates
from the normal rules of taxation. With the expiry of the transitional period, sales at airports and on board aircraft
and ferries will become subject to taxation according to VAT and excise rules in the normal way.

For VAT, this means that goods sold on board aircraft and ferries will be taxed in the Member State of departure
and goods sold at airports in the Member State will be taxed where the airport is situated. As to excise duties,
goods will as a general rule be subject to taxation in the Member State of consumption.

It should be emphasised that, when the Council decided to abolish intra-Community duty-free sales, it did not
contemplate that the taxation rules needed to be adapted.

(98/C 304/157) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0439/98
by Niels Sindal (PSE) to the Commission
(24 February 1998)

Subject: State aid

What are the Commission’s views about authorizing French state aid to get the Japanese car company Toyota to
invest in France?

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

The French authorities have not yet notified the Commission of their plans to grant aid to encourage Toyota to
invest in Valenciennes. When they do so, the Commission will take a decision on the basis of the Community
framework on state aid to the motor vehicle industry.

The objective of the framework is to establish transparency in aid flows and to apply strict discipline to the
granting of aid in order to ensure as far as possible that competition is not distorted within the industry. The
framework takes account of regional development imperatives and of the substantial overcapacity that exists
within the motor vehicle industry in Europe.

A summary of the motor vehicle framework for 1998-2000 has been sent direct to the Honourable Member and to
Parliament’s Secretariat.

(98/C 304/158) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0440/98
by Alexandros Alavanos (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(24 February 1998)

Subject: Aegean island floods

The recent downpours which claimed several lives on the Aegean islands of Lesbos, Santorini etc. also caused
extensive damage to their road networks (both provincial and rural), industrial plants, shops and offices, houses,
farms and infrastructure. In response to the major problems created by the floods, will the Commission say:

1. whether it will make emergency aid available from the Community budget appropriations earmarked for
natural disasters, and

2. what the possibilities are of funding from the Community Support Framework to make good the damage
and erect flood protection systems?