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9. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/95

However, it is not clear either what the scope or the specific purpose of this mission is, or what actual amount of
public resources is transferred from RAI’s budget to finance them. In the absence of this information, the
subsidies would seem to constitute an infringement of Community legislation banning State aids.

RAI operates in a highly competitive market and its programming and advertising methods are similar to those of
its closest competitors. Hence the fact that it benefits not only from advertising revenue but also from State
subsidies constitutes a serious distortion of competition in this sector. Since there is no transparency and the
provision of a public service and purely commercial activities do not feature separately in the accounts, the
taxpayer has no way of knowing what proportion of his money ends up funding cultural programmes or those of
general interest and what proportion is used to support programmes aimed at increasing advertising revenue.

It would appear that a complaint has been lodged with the Commission concerning the infringement of the rules
on State aid and that it has not yet been officially dealt with.

Can the Commission say whether the matter is being investigated or not?

If so, can the Commission ascertain why the procedure is taking so long?

Furthermore, can the Commission take steps to define what is meant by the term ‘public service’ and hence
ascertain whether the corporation is fulfilling this task or not?

In view of the situation, does the Commission intend to check whether it actually is a State aid and whether it is
considered compatible with the common market withing the meaning of Article 42(3)(c) of the EEC Treaty? If it
is, does the Commission intend to exercise its powers under Article 93 of the Treaty and call upon the Italian
State to discontinue this aid?

Answer given by Mr Van Miert on behalf of the Commission


(8 May 1998)

The Commission is conducting a detailed investigation of the problem raised by the Honourable Member and
will inform him of the outcome as soon as possible.

(98/C 310/127) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0582/98


by Elly Plooij-van Gorsel (ELDR) to the Commission
(4 March 1998)

Subject: Award to European firms of projects funded from the EDF

In the context of development aid, DG IV has awarded some projects in developing countries, funded from the
EDF, to European firms.

What is the procedure for the award of these projects (e.g. place of publication, information published,
submission criteria and deadlines)?

How many responses were received in 1996, from which Member States?

How many projects were awarded to European firms in 1996?

What is the distribution of the projects amont the Member States, and what were the sums involved, in 1996?

Answer given by Mr Pinheiro on behalf of the Commission


(3 April 1998)

Projects and contracts financed by the European Development Fund (EDF) are covered by the Lomé Convention,
a basic principle of which is that aid should be managed jointly with the recipient African, Caribbean and Pacific
(ACP) countries. Contracts are awarded by the national authorities in those countries in accordance with the rules
laid down in the Convention and in Decision No 3/90 of the ACP-EEC Council of Ministers of 29 March 1990 (1).
C 310/96 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10. 98

International invitations to tender are published in the Official Journal and in ACP national gazettes. The official
notice gives the addresses of places where tender documents can be consulted or from which they can be
obtained (in Europe, these are the Commission’s offices in the Member States and the Belgian invitation to
tender service).

It is also possible to follow the progress of projects and invitations to tender on DG VIII’s Internet site:
http://europa.eu.int/en/comm/dg08/dgviii.htm.

EDF invitations to tender and contracts are open on equal terms to companies in both the Member States and the
ACP countries. Publication dates and selection criteria are different for each contract. Submission deadlines for
open invitations to tender are at least 90 days from the publication date.

Statistics are kept only on the companies which have been awarded contracts. The Commission will forward
direct to the Honourable Member and to the Parliament’s Secretariat General statistics for 1996 which show in
absolute and percentage terms the spread across the Member States of EDF contracts awarded following
international invitations to tender.

(1) OJ L 382, 31.12.1990.

(98/C 310/128) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0583/98


by José Barros Moura (PSE) to the Commission
(4 March 1998)

Subject: Child labour

A recently published ILO report forecasts that the number of children working in Africa, almost always under
conditions of appalling exploitation and to the detriment of their education, will grow by one million per year
(‘from the present 80 million to 100 million by the year 2015). Given the links between this problem and the
worsening socio-economic situation in Africa and the EU’s responsibilities under the Lomé Convention, what
measures does the Commission intend to take to help the victims of this dreadful phenomenon?

Answer given by Mr Pinheiro on behalf of the Commission


(1 April 1998)

The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answer to written question E-3355/97 by
Mr Fernandez Martin (1)

(1) OJ C 158, 25.5.1998, p. 91.

(98/C 310/129) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0586/98


by Giovanni Burtone (PPE) to the Commission
(23 February 1998)

Subject: Alitalia’s promotional fares − infringement of the rules on competition

Following a decision by the European Commission the airline Alitalia has suspended a number of ‘promotional
fares’ it had introduced on some routes Italy, particularly links with the islands.

In view of the fact that these fares had:


− on the one hand, brought about an increase in the number of tourists visiting the most remote regions of Italy
(in particular Sicily and Sardinia), which obviously benefited operators in the sector,
− on the other hand, made it easier for Italians to travel to other parts of Italy,