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2. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/109

(98/C 304/163) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0452/98
by Luigi Florio (PPE), Claudio Azzolini (PPE), Giacomo Santini (PPE),
Alessandro Danesin (PPE), Livio Filippi (PPE) and Alessandro Fontana (PPE) to the Commission
(27 February 1998)

Subject: Milk quotas in Italy and sums withheld by buyers

The management of milk quotas in Italy is notoriously chaotic. The committee of inquiry appointed last year by
the Italian Government has so far discovered that much of the responsibility for the disastrous management is
attributable to the public administration. Among the things requested by the Cobas milk representatives received
in Brussels on 29 January 1998 by Commissioner Fischler’s chef de cabinet, Corrado Pirzio Biroli, and the
Deputy Director of DG VI, Franco Milano, was that in order to prevent the probable ruin of many farms the huge
amounts sometimes withheld by buyers should be entrusted to producers pending clarification of the real reasons
for the surplus production. Does the Commission consider this procedure to be acceptable given that there is no
reason to believe that buyers offer better guarantees of solvability than producers and that Regulation 3950/92 (1)
is not particularly clear?

(1) OJ L 405, 31.12.1992, p. 1.

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

The Commission cannot accept the proposal from the milk committee representatives that levy amounts payable
which are withheld by purchasers be entrusted to producers. According to Article 2(2) of Council Regulation
(EEC) No 3950/92 of 28 December 1992 establishing an additional levy in the milk and milk products sector, the
purchaser, who is liable for the levy, must pay the competent body in the Member State the amount due which he
withholds from the price paid for the milk to the producers who owe the levy, failing which, he must collect it by
any appropriate means. The purchaser consequently represents the key element in the withholding of the levy
and the payment of the amount due to the competent body in the Member State

The purchaser furthermore is the key figure also for notifying figures on milk collections to the authority which
must verify compliance by the purchaser with the requirements of Article 3 of Commission Regulation (EEC) No
536/93 of 9 March 1993 laying down detailed rules on the application of the additional levy on milk and milk
products (1). Failure by the purchaser to fulfil those requirements may mean that he may be subject to penalties.

The Commission attaches particular importance to compliance with the deadline for the transmission of the
figures for the quantities collected and with that for the payment of the levy. Delays by purchasers in carrying out
one or other of these tasks would prevent the arrangements from being fully effective. It should be borne in mind
that the choice of the purchaser as the point of reference both in relation to the Commission and to the Member
State is due to the number of purchasers which is considerably smaller than the number of producers.

(1) OJ L 57, 10.3.1993.

(98/C 304/164) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0461/98
by Ilona Graenitz (PSE) to the Commission
(16 February 1998)

Subject: Food controls

1. Is DG XXIV aware that there is currently a private-sector initiative involving several Member States,
entitled the ‘European Working Party on Food Controls and Consumer Protection’ (EWFC), which has set itself
the objective, inter alia, of harmonizing monitoring activity in Europe with the aim of ensuring better consumer
protection?