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C 310/6 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.

98

France adopted and notified to the Commission the texts of Laws 94/678 on employees’ supplementary social
welfare cover and 94/679 containing various economic and financial provisions (both dated 8 August 1994),
which transposed the Directives into national law. However, transposal was incomplete, the above-mentioned
laws not having transposed the Directives as far as the ‘mutuelles régies par le code de la mutualité’ were
concerned.

Regarding, more specifically, the management of pharmacies and dental practices by the ‘Mutualité’,
Directives 92/49/EEC and 92/96/EEC laid down the principle that any undertaking authorised to carry on
insurance business must be engaged exclusively in insurance. The French legislation, however, does not comply
with this requirement since the insurance side of the mutual associations’ activities, their commercial business
and their social welfare activities, which include the management of dental practices and pharmacies, are all
managed by the same legal entity. Transposing the third-generation insurance Directives does not prevent a
mutual association continuing to conduct its insurance business and manage social welfare activities, provided
that it entrusts these two types of activity to distinct legal entities.

Directives 92/96/EEC and 92/49/EEC allow insurance undertakings to carry out certain activities other than
insurance only in so far as they derive directly from the business of insurance and enable the insurance
undertaking to conduct its insurance activities effectively. Where there is no such link between these ancillary
activities and the business of insurance, the insurance undertaking cannot legitimately carry out its activities
under the same legal personality.

(1) OJ L 228, 11.8.1992.


(2) OJ L 360, 9.12.1992.

(98/C 310/07) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3980/97


by Konstadinos Klironomos (PSE) to the Commission
(14 January 1998)

Subject: Takeovers of football clubs

Large private enterprises based in the Member States and involved in a variety of activities have succeeded
through skilful manipulation in acquiring majority shareholdings and gaining control over numerous football
clubs within and outside the Union. A recent example is the acquisition of the Greek club ‘AEK’ by the
well-known British concern ENIC plc, which has also gained administrative and managerial control of numerous
other football clubs in various European countries.

There is an inherent risk in this trend that European football competitions (Champions League, European
Cupwinners’ Cup, UEFA Cup etc) may be distorted since it is highly likely that teams belonging to the same
concern (i.e. having the same owner) are drawn to face each other in the same competition and that the results of
such matches will be open to question beforehand, thus undermining the most important aspect of football,
sporting competition in the true sense.

Does the Commission intend to look into this matter which is already a matter of concern to all football fans
throughout Europe?

Answer given by Mr Van Miert on behalf of the Commission


(6 March 1998)

In the Commission’s view, the concern expressed in the Honourable Member’s question is justified.

In its judgment of 15 December 1995 in the Bosman case (1), the Court of Justice stated that, in view of the
considerable social importance of sporting activities and in particular football in the Community, the aims of
maintaining a balance between clubs by preserving a certain degree of equality and uncertainty as to results and
of encouraging the training of young players must be accepted as legitimate.
9. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/7

Clearly, if clubs with the same owner can take part in the same competitions, whether national or international,
doubts may arise as to whether the outcome is really undecided in advance.

The above suggests that any rules laid down by sports organisations to restrict the freedom of clubs with the same
owner to take part in the same competitions, whether national or international, within the European Economic
Area (EEA), aim to meet objectives which relate to sport only and therefore have nothing to do with economic
activity so long as they remain limited to their original purpose, which is to ensure uncertainty as to the results of
the competitions. Accordingly, provided that such rules remain in proportion to the sporting objective pursued,
they would not be covered by the competition rules laid down in the EC Treaty.

It is not therefore up to the Commission to take the place of a sports organisation in adopting such measures.

(1) Case C-415/93 [1995] ECR I-4921, paragraph 106.

(98/C 310/08) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3985/97

by Daniel Varela Suanzes-Carpegna (PPE) to the Commission


(14 January 1998)

Subject: Competitiveness of the Community fish-canning industry

The Community fish-canning industry is both one of the most traditional and one of the most modern and
competitive in the world. It is no secret that the Community industry must tackle a series of challenges in order to
maintain and, if possible, strengthen its international competitiveness.

These challenges include the health and hygiene and environmental impact of third-country products and
cheaper labour in non-Community countries, the dependence on imported raw materials, the European and world
dimension of its markets and its heavy dependence on capital and continual modernization, in order to improve
processes and equipment as much as possible in the interests of competitiveness and internationalization. To this
end the Commission, in various documents, has identified a series of measures to be developed by industries, the
Commission and the Member States. These include: measures to improve the regulatory framework, to ensure
real competitiveness, to strengthen intangible investments and to develop industrial cooperation.

1. Has the Commission carried out a thorough scientifically based cost-benefit analysis of the impact of
Community regulations on the labelling and consumption of canned fishery products? Is so, can it say what the
results were? If not, is it willing to carry out such an analysis?

2. Could the Commission propose real liberalization of trade with countries with emerging economies and
look for alternatives to correct the distortions caused at various levels of protection by the current regulations
governing the health and hygiene and environmental aspects?

3. Does the Commission not consider that training might be improved, by promoting better cooperation
between industry, centres for innovation and technology and other social partners?

4. In drawing up the Fifth Community R & TD Framework Programme does the Commission consider that
the needs and priorities of the fish-canning sector should be taken into consideration? Should not cooperation
between the industry and the various institutes and centres for research, innovation and technological
development be stepped up?

5. Furthermore, the sector has called for the creation of programmes or the conclusion of voluntary
agreements on the part of the fishery product processing and canning industry to supplement or go beyond the
minimum levels required in existing regulations. What does the Commission think?