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9. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/77

(98/C 310/101) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0514/98

by Edouard des Places (I-EDN) to the Commission
(19 February 1998)

Subject: The internal market and the agricultural guidance law

In France the draft agricultural guidance law, which has been submitted by the Minister of Agriculture to the
farming associations, provides, in title I, for the introduction of ‘Territorial Farming Contracts’ (CTE).

These contracts would be signed with the administrative authority, cover all farming activity, comprise a
programme of measures taking into account production targets for goods and services, area management and
environmental protection and would be consistent with national and regional guidelines.

The explanatory statement for Article 3 on the establishment of a fund to finance the CTE clearly specifies that
this fund will initially be financed by national appropriations and subsequently by appropriations generated by
adjustment of CAP aids resulting from the reform.

Does the Commission think that supplementary aids granted under these CTE, which would give rise to a
distortion of competition between producers of the various Member States, would be in conformity with the rules
relating to the internal market?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(6 March 1998)

Under the third paragraph of Article 93 of the EC Treaty, the Commission must be informed, in sufficient time to
enable it to submit its comments, of any plans to grant or alter aid. If, following a preliminary examination, it
considers that such a plan is not compatible with the common market having regard to Article 92, the
Commission is to initiate the procedure provided for in paragraph 2 of Article 93 of the EC Treaty. The Member
State concerned may not put its proposed measures into effect until this procedure has resulted in a final decision.

The Commission endeavours to make sure that the Member States comply with the provisions of Community
legislation when granting aid in the agricultural sector.

However, since it has not yet been informed under the aforementioned Article of the aid referred to by the
Honourable Member, the Commission is not in a position to comment on the substance of this aid.

(98/C 310/102) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0521/98

by Shaun Spiers (PSE) to the Commission
(2 March 1998)

Subject: Local Exchange Transfer Schemes (LETS)

Is the Commission aware of the case of two UK expatriates living in France who were fined by a court for
participating in a LETS? LETS schemes allow their members to help each other in return for symbolic units of
exchange that can later be bartered for other services such as baby-sitting, gardening or minor building repairs.
The system is a growing aspect of the co-operative or social economy. 240 LETS schemes have been approved
by the French Ministry of Labour, and there are many others across the EU.

Does the Commission have any plans to promote LETS schemes, which can play a major role in strengthening
civic society and combatting social exclusion? Does it plan any studies to examine their extent across the EU?
Has it any plans to discourage Member States from discriminating against LETS schemes?