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C 310/36 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.

98

The city of Luxembourg has introduced a Grand-Ducal law which has practically doubled the number of licences
granted, creating a series of obstacles to the exercise of the profession, especially for independent taxi-drivers,
who are penalized by the measures adopted, which favour large firms.

Can the Commission therefore draw up a directive establishing the number of licences permitted on the basis of
the actual number of inhabitants and laying down the selection criteria for the granting of licences?

Answer given by Mr Kinnock on behalf of the Commission


(1 April 1998)

The Commission does not envisage any Community measures which establish the number of taxi licences
according to the number of inhabitants, or lay down the selection criteria for the granting of licences.

National, regional and local taxi services are almost completely under the legal competence of Member State
authorities which are in the best position to organise and survey the local taxi cab market.

(98/C 310/43) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0200/98


by Hilde Hawlicek (PSE) to the Commission
(11 February 1998)

Subject: Timing of investigation into book price agreements in Germany and Austria

On Wednesday, 14 January 1998 the European Commission opened an investigation into cross-border book
agreements in Germany and Austria. Since this matter essentially involves whether Article 85 or Article 128 ECT
applies, the following questions arise:

Why did the Commission institute proceedings at a time when a key element − the expert opinion requested by
the Council of Ministers of Cultural Affairs on whether price agreements are justified pursuant to Article 128
ECT − had not been received?

What is the Commission’s attitude towards the arguments for justifying price agreements: regional and national
supply; variety in production and distribution; promoting new authors, cultural publishers and cultural
minorities; and the fact that such agreements have stood the test of time in the German-speaking countries?

What is its attitude towards the conclusions expressed by experts that only about 150 of the 70 000 new titles
every year would be cheaper but the rest would be appreciably more expensive, and that in Austria alone 200 of a
current total of 770 bookshops have had to close?

Answer given by Mr Van Miert on behalf of the Commission


(2 April 1998)

The Commission has consistently maintained that the Council’s initiative in instructing the Commission to
prepare a report pursuant to Article 152 of the EC Treaty should be considered independent of the competition
proceedings concerning the German/Austrian price-fixing scheme for books (‘Buchpreisbindung’) provided that
the proceedings in question are not impeded as a result. In this competition case, in which the publishers
submitted the notification in the spring of 1993 and for which the Commission is solely competent, formal
proceedings had to be instituted after the Commission had made a careful examination of the publishers’
arguments and come to the provisional conclusion that exemption was not justified.

The arguments of the parties, such as supply over a particular area, were assessed in detail by the Commission in
the statement of objections which it sent to the parties.
9. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/37

The Honourable Member states in her question that experts believe that only about 150 of the 70 000 new titles
every year would be cheaper while the rest would be appreciably more expensive and that in Austria 200 of the
770 existing bookshops have had to close. Unfortunately, she omits to mention who these experts might be and
on which studies or other findings they base their conclusions. It is therefore not possible for the Commission to
make any detailed comment on this matter at present. In the United Kingdom, for example, two years after the
lifting of the book price agreement, there has not yet been any marked fall in the number of bookshops.

(98/C 310/44) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0206/98


by Hiltrud Breyer (V) to the Commission
(11 February 1998)

Subject: Money for biological and genetic engineering

1. What has been the level of appropriations set aside and/or spent annually by the Commission since 1982 on
biological and genetic engineering?

2. From what programmes and budget lines have these appropriations been taken?

3. How much funding went directly and indirectly to industry and to research?

4. What conditions were imposed on this money?

Answer given by Mrs Cresson on behalf of the Commission


(15 April 1998)

1. and 2. In managing its research programmes, the Commission does not keep separate accounts on the use of
appropriations for biotechnology and genetic technology. Programmes as diverse as Biotech, Biomed, Fair and
Inco may, where necessary, make use of genetic technology to assist research into health, agriculture and
development aid.

It is the biotechnology programme which depends most directly on progress in genetics. It must be emphasised
that this programme (like its predecessors) does not necessarily involve the use of genetic engineering; indeed,
most projects manage without it. The budgets have been as follows:

Budget
Programmes Budget headings
(ECU million)

BEP 1982-1986 7305 15.00


BAP 1985-1989 7356 75.00
Bridge 1990-1994 7341 100.00
Biotech I 1992-1994 B6-6221 184.14
Biotech II 1994-1998 B6-7141 595.50

3. Research and industry go hand in hand when it comes to biotechnology, as the traditional distinctions
between basic and applied science no longer apply. For one thing, the bio-industry describes its expectations
from Community biotechnology research as a need to update basic knowledge. In addition, it is university
research in this field which gives rise to the majority of rapidly growing innovative businesses, particularly in the
technologies of diagnostics and medicines.

As for actual contractual participation by industry, the breakdown is as follows:

Total number Industrial SMEs Large


of participants participants industries

BAP 1988-1992 732 52 22 30


Bridge 1990-1992 573 77 37 40
Biotech 1992-1994 1196 74 41 33
Biotech 1994-1998 2493 485 274 211