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2. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/117

(98/C 304/175) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0489/98
by Karl Habsburg-Lothringen (PPE) to the Commission
(17 February 1998)

Subject: Report on the approximation of the rates of excise duty on alcohol and alcoholic beverages

With a view to the approximation of excise duty rates, a system of minimum rates of excise duty was introduced
with Directive 92/84/EEC (1). Pursuant to Article 8 of that Directive, the Council is to examine the rates of duty
every two years and, acting unanimously after consulting the European Parliament, adopt the necessary
measures.

That examination is to be carried out on the basis of a report and, where appropriate, a proposal from the
Commission. In addition to competition between the different categories of alcoholic drinks, the report is to take
into account the proper functioning of the internal market, the real value of the rates of duty and the wider
objectives of the Treaty.

An initial Commission report to the Council and the European Parliament dated 13 September 1995 proposed in
essence that the approximation of the minimum rates of duty for alcoholic products be postponed until further
investigations and consultations had been concluded.

No second report has been published. Pursuant to the Directive referred to above, it is now more than one year
overdue.

When will the Commission submit to the European Parliament a report on the approximation of the rates of
excise duty on alcohol and alcoholic beverages?

How does the Commission account for the fact that that report is already more than one year overdue?

(1) OJ L 316, 31.10.1992, p. 29.

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

The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answer to written question E-37/98 by Mr Miller (1).

(1) OJ C 196, 22.6.1998, p. 110.

(98/C 304/176) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0490/98
by Klaus Lukas (NI) to the Council
(27 February 1998)

Subject: Duty-free sales

I note that the Council has been able to answer Question No E-2666/97 (1) no more than very superficially and
therefore put these questions once again.

The Council has decided that duty-free sales should cease in 1999. The stated reason is that duty-free sales are not
logically compatible with the internal market.

What is the purpose of this decision?

Could this purpose be achieved by less drastic means?

If so, what measures might be considered sufficient? If not, why not?

How do duty-free sales hamper the proper functioning of the internal market?

What was the basis for the Council’s decision?

How many jobs in the EU are affected by this Council decision?

What was the Council’s assessment of the decision’s impact on employment?