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C 310/126 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.

98

(98/C 310/169) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0769/98


by Gérard Caudron (PSE) to the Commission
(18 March 1998)

Subject: Premix

Alcopops were the subject of much discussion a few months ago. Although things have quietened down now,
this is still a serious issue.

What has been done, in the meantime, to introduce legislation banning any measures that encourage young
people to drink alcohol?

A hypermarket chain has banned sales of such products in its shops after consulting an ‘ethics committee’.

Do we need to wait for the business world to introduce ethical standards?

What does the Commission intend to do as a matter of urgency to combat this serious problem?

Answer given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission


(20 April 1998)

The Commission shares the Honourable Member’s concern about the health and social impact that new types of
drinks such as spirit mixers may have, especially on the young.

The Commission is at present working on a voluntary code of practice covering all alcoholic beverages in order
to tackle the issue of underage drinking. Accompanying measures in the field of public awareness, education and
training should contribute to a reduction in underage drinking.

(98/C 310/170) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0772/98


by Jessica Larive (ELDR) to the Council
(16 March 1998)

Subject: Book price agreements and Article 128 of the Maastricht Treaty

The Commission recently set up a procedure to put an end to cross-border fixed book prices between Germany
and Austria. The Commission maintains that such price agreements are a violation of European competition law.

On 30 June 1997 the Cultural Affairs Council requested the Commission to carry out a study, or to have a study
carried out, into the relationship between the cultural affairs paragraph in the Maastricht Treaty and the Treaty of
Rome. To my surprise the Commission has only recently issued the call for tenders.

1. Does the Council agree that the decision-making process should take into account not only the economic
arguments but also cultural aspects?

2. Does the Council think it right that before waiting for the results of the study the Commission has adopted
procedures, based solely on economic criteria, aimed at putting an end to cross-border fixed book prices?

3. If not, is the Council prepared to request the Commission to stop the procedure against Germany and
Austria until the results of the study are known?

Answer
(16-17 June 1998)

1. In its Decision of 22 September 1997 (1) on cross-border fixed book prices in European linguistic areas
referred to by the Honourable Member, the Council expressly recognized ‘the dual character of books as the
bearers of cultural values and as merchandise’ while ‘strongly emphasizing the importance of a balanced
assessment of the cultural and economic aspects of books’.