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9. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/97

can the Commission say:

1. whether it intends, in full compliance with the Treaties and all the legislative provisions on competition, to
adopt the compensatory measures needed to ensure that the inhabitants of the islands and tourism are not
penalized because of the islands’ remote location;
2. with what instruments, in what form and to what extent does the Commission intend to take these essential

Answer given by Mr Kinnock on behalf of the Commission

(24 March 1998)

In its Decision of 15 July 1997 (1) authorising the payment of Lit 2 750 billion of state aid for Alitalia, the
Commission laid down a number of conditions including the fact that Alitalia would abstain from engaging in
price leadership whether on domestic, intra-European or intercontinental routes. The reason for this provision −
similar to that made in other state aid cases − is that a carrier in receipt of aid should not be able to use these
resources in ways that provide unfair competitive advantages by comparison with carriers that are not aided.

A number of well-documented complaints presented to the Commission provided prima facie evidence that this
condition, which had been accepted by the Italian authorities and Alitalia, was not being respected and that price
leadership had been operated on a series of routes, including domestic routes, since 22 July 1997.

The Commission consequently made a thorough investigation and took action in order to ensure compliance with
its decision and to ensure that conditions such as the prohibition of price leadership, designed to protect the
legitimate interests of competitors are fully respected.

According to assurances given to the Commission on 6 February 1998 by the Italian authorities, Alitalia has
discontinued its promotional campaigns within the EEA on the routes on which it faced competition. Since
1 March 1998, Alitalia may match fares offered by its competitors on those routes.

The Commission draws the Honourable Member’s attention to the fact that, if the Italian government considers
that the routes linking the Italian peripheral regions with other parts of the Member State are not adequately
provided with scheduled air services, it may apply the provisions of Article 4 of Council Regulation No 2408/92
on access for Community air carriers to intra-Community air routes (2) which allows it to impose public service
obligations. Italy might also be able to make use of Article 92 2(a) of the Treaty for the transport by air of the
inhabitants of the islands. It is the responsibility of Italy to make a proposal how to apply those provisions.
The Commission would need to take a position once a notification has been received.

(1) OJ L 322, 25.11.1997.

(2) OJ L 240, 24.8.1992.

(98/C 310/130) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0588/98

by Josu Imaz San Miguel (PPE) to the Commission
(4 March 1998)

Subject: Incident in Equatorial Guinea

Following the recent incident in Equatorial Guinea on the morning of 21 January 1998 in Luba, on the island of
Bioko (Equatorial Guinea), bearing in mind the confusion surrounding the events, the limited and partisan
information released and the brutal and repressive response by the dictatorial regime of Mr Obiang, in the form
of arrests, rape, torture, widespread looting and killing, suffered by the Bubi people and the organization
representing them, the MAIB, and in view of the recent visit to the country by a Commission delegation, what is
the Commission’s position on this grave attack and the persistent breaches of human rights suffered by the Bubi
people and representatives of the MAIB and what actions or measures has it taken vis-à-vis Mr Obiang’s regime
to end the repression of the Bubi people and the MAIB?
C 310/98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10. 98

What representations has the Commission made to the rest of the international community, both governments
and agencies, in an effort to end this situation?

What assistance will the Commission lend to the Bubi people and the MAIB to enable them to work on an equal
footing for the democratization of the country and to fight for their survival as a people?

Does the Commission believe that the conditions exist to warrant releasing EU cooperation aid for Equatorial

Answer given by Mr Pinheiro on behalf of the Commission

(2 April 1998)

In talks with the government of Equatorial Guinea on the events referred to by the Honourable Member, the
Commission, working closely with the Member States, has voiced grave concern at the serious human rights
violations on these occasions by the police.

Following a number of approaches by the Commission, the authorities said that those who had violated human
rights would be tried and punished. In addition, those found guilty of the armed attack against the police on
21 January would be brought to a public trial which Community observers could attend.

The best way to protect minorities is through the establishment of democracy. The Commission would stress the
need to protect human rights whether the individuals involved belong to minorities or not. It would also point to
the importance of respect for the cultural identity and rights of minorities which they must be able to exercise
together with other members of their group.

The gradual resumption of cooperation with Equatorial Guinea depends on the progress it makes on respecting
human rights, democratic principle and the rule of law, in accordance with Article 5 of the fourth Lomé

(98/C 310/131) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0591/98

by Honório Novo (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(23 February 1998)

Subject: Express railway for Porto − tendering procedure

Last week it was reported in the Portuguese media that the Commission had asked the Portuguese authorities to
provide explanations on the procedure for inviting tenders and awarding the contract for the construction of an
electrified express railway serving the Metropolitan Area of Porto (known as the Porto metro). It appears that this
request is linked to an appeal lodged with the Commission by the last bidder rejected in the public tendering
procedure, apparently on the same grounds as were alleged in a previous appeal to the Portuguese contracting
undertaking, which rejected the appeal.

The Commission will no doubt be aware that the long-awaited and badly needed construction of the express
railway has been affected by a series of delays since it was first announced (at the end of the 1980s) and officially
presented (1993), the reasons for which naturally lie with the national and local authorities involved in the

In this context, the Commission surely appreciates that a fresh delay, this time caused by the Commission itself,
is likely to increase the exasperation felt by the public, who should by now have been able to enjoy the benefits of
this project, and at the same time lead to growing public distrust of the Community institutions.