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9. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/21

modification which would include a new priority project on a ‘Multimodal link between Portugal and Spain and
the rest of Europe’. The Commission has also supported, through the Pilot Action for Combined Transport
(PACT) programme, the launching of innovative combined transport services between Spain and the rest of the
Community, including funding of investment at the Irun and Hendaye and the Port Bou intermodal platforms.
In addition the PACT programme is supporting a feasibility study for the setting up of an intermodal ports
network in Spain, France, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. Finally, a rail freightway will be established shortly
between the north of Spain and the existing French freightway to facilitate the provision of new international rail
services.

(1) COM(97) 681 final.


(2) OJ L 228, 9.9.1996.

(98/C 310/23) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0095/98


by Bryan Cassidy (PPE) and Gunilla Carlsson (PPE) to the Commission
(30 January 1998)

Subject: Duty-free sales within the EU

Does the Commission agree that the ECJ judgment of 11 November 1997 in Eurotunnel SA v Sea France
(Case C 408/95) clarifies the legal position on the ending of intra-EU duty-free shopping in July 1999?

Is the Commission aware of the activities of a well-financed lobby aiming to overturn the unanimous 1991
Council decision to end the taxpayer-financed duty-free concession in 1999?

Does the Commission agree that this powerful body is unscrupulously playing on workers’ fears for their job
security?

Will the Commission launch an information campaign to counteract the misleading propaganda of the duty-free
lobby?

Will the Commission also set up a web site to rebut the misinformation on the web site of the International
Duty-Free Confederation (IDFC): www.dutyfree-europe.com.?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission


(5 March 1998)

The Commission agrees with the Honourable Members that, following the judgement of the Court of justice in
case C-408/95 (Eurotunnel SA v. Sea France), the legal situation is now clear.

Indeed, the Court of justice did not call into question the validity of Council Directives 77/388/EEC and
92/12/EEC. The decision of the Council confirms the views of the Commission. The outcome of this case not
only endorses the decision on the abolition of duty-free sales as adopted by the Council but also confirms these
directives as a whole were an appropriate response to the concerns expressed by the Parliament.

As to the political aspects, the Commission is aware that a wide coalition of interests, lead by the duty-free lobby,
is trying to reverse the Council decision. The Commission has made it very clear that this decision will not be
changed.

The Commission is indeed concerned with any threats to employment. As regards the abolition of duty-free
sales, it is however difficult to predict the real effect on employment with any accuracy because there are so
many variables involved.

The dramatic figures on job losses produced by the duty-free lobby can only be considered as exaggerated. These
figures are taken from studies of the lobby which predict the short term impact of abolition of duty-free sales on
employment in affected transport sectors. These figures need to be balanced, taking into account the positive
impact of the decision to abolish duty-free sales. Indeed, the benefit of a possible shift in demand towards the
conventional retail sector should not be discounted.
C 310/22 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10. 98

The figures of the duty-free lobby confirm that there is increased demand at airports and on airlines and ferries.
This is the result of the transport liberalisation in the Community which has created a substantial market for
conducting business at airports and on airlines and ferries. From experience in the United States with tax-paid
retail shopping, it is evident that this very captive market provides a lucrative business which will not disappear
with the abolition of duty-free sales. The real challenge is for the industry to explore the opportunities such a
market presents.

To prevent negative effects on employment and to alleviate workers’ fears for their job security, it is important
that duty-free shop operators use what is left of the transitional period constructively and prepare for the end of
duty-free sales to travellers within the single market.

It is evident that the common position of the Council and the Commission on the duty-free issue is supported by
solid arguments. The Commission recently explained the reasons for the Council decision, and the fact that these
reasons remain sound, in a press release, accompanied by a technical memo (1), all of which can be found on the
Internet (2). This has significantly helped to balance the press coverage and the Commission will continue the
efforts to ensure that the debate remains detached.

(1) Commission press-release (IP/97/808) and attached information memo (MEMO/97/82) of 24 September 1997.
(2) The homepage of DG XXI is accessed by ‘http://www.cc.cec/DGXXI)publicat/newsroom/index.htm’.

(98/C 310/24) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0107/98


by Ria Oomen-Ruijten (PPE) to the Commission
(30 January 1998)

Subject: Recycling textiles

Items of second-hand clothing are finished products which, without any processing or change in their nature, can
be re-used as clothing. In developing countries, in particular, second-hand clothing imported from Western
countries supply a considerable need. However, in accordance with Article 1(a) of Directive 75/442/EEC (1),
used textiles constitute waste.

1. Does the Commission think it right that second-hand clothing exported to developing countries where it
supplies a major need should be defined as ‘waste’?

2. Does the Commission feel that the definition of waste should be revised, or that scope should be created for
exceptions, since dismissing second-hand clothing which is re-used as clothing as ‘waste’ suggests a lack of
understanding?

3. Does the Commission also feel that if the situation remains as it is and it becomes increasingly difficult to
export second-hand clothing for a good cause to developing countries, many people in the Member States will
fail to appreciate this and they will have less confidence in the European ideal?

(1) OJ L 194, 25.7.1975, p. 39.

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission


(16 March 1998)

The definition of waste is laid down in Article 1.1(a) of Directive 75/442/EEC as amended by Directive
91/156/EEC on waste (1) and states that waste shall mean ‘any substance or object in the categories set out in
Annex I which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard’. Annex I lists under Q14 ‘products for
which the holder has no further use (e.g. agricultural, household, office, commercial and shop discards, etc.)’.
On the basis of the above, the Commission holds the view that the determining factor when considering whether
something is or not a waste is whether the holder discards the object, or intends or is required to discard it.