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C 304/122 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10.

98

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

As with the other Member States, the Commission carefully checked the expenditure on eradicating swine fever
in the Netherlands which the Community had been requested to fund.

These checks formed the subject of an inspection report that was subsequently communicated to the Netherlands.
The Dutch authorities have had several opportunities to comment on this report, both orally and in writing.

The Commission is well aware of the seriousness of the situation affecting pig farming in the region hit by the
epidemic. However, on-the-spot checks revealed irregularities in the application of Council Directive
80/217/EEC of 22 January 1980 introducing Community measures for the control of classical swine fever (1).

The Commission will take these irregularities into account when it decides on the amount of financial aid to be
awarded on the basis of the final account.

(1) OJ L 47, 21.2.1980.

(98/C 304/183) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0515/98
by Paul Rübig (PPE) to the Council
(27 February 1998)

Subject: Right of information under the group exemption regulation

There is still room for improvement in the legal position of the recipients of EU aid and that of interested third
parties. At present the recipient of aid has no way of requiring notification by the awarding agency. He therefore
remains exposed to the danger of having to repay the aid. Nor, as a rule, can third parties affected by aid that
distorts competition obtain information on legal acts of allocation directly in the Member States: they are forced
to resort to the lengthy process of putting questions to the Commission.

The proposal for a group exemption regulation in the case of horizontal state aid (COM(97)0396) now
gratifyingly provides for a right on information for recipients of aid and interested third parties. The proposal will
both greatly reduce the administrative effort involved in the aid procedure and ensure a transparent system of
legal protection.

According to reports, the appropriate Council working party has departed from the proposed right of
information. This means that legal protection for the sectors of the economy concerned will not only not remain
at the same level but will in effect deteriorate.

How does the Council now view the current state of the debate on this subject? In the Council’s opinion, can such
an approach really satisfy the legal protection requirements in a European domestic market?

Answer
(18 May 1998)

The Honourable Member is informed that the preparatory discussions concerning the proposal for a Regulation
on the application of Articles 92 and 93 of the EC Treaty to certain categories of horizontal state aid are
continuing in the Council’s subordinate bodies. Pending the Opinion of the European Parliament, the Council has
not yet determined its final position.

Once it has received that Opinion, the Council will complete its discussions as soon as possible.